Gambit from Maryland

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by gambit, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. I've done a little smoking of chicken a couple years back with the BBQ Pro Vertical charcoal smoker w/ water pan. I dunno why they call it a water pan, but I'll get back to that in a minute. I still consider myself a n00bie because I only got to use it a few times while living in that apartment, then i gave it away.

    When I moved down here to MD, first thing I looked forward to was buying another bullet-type vertical smoker. I got the ECB, and I love it! I only made one batch of chicken, but there's still more to come. I will do the Jeff-mods this coming weekend, and see how meat comes out.

    I’ve never done ribs, but I just bought the recipes and full e-course. Next weekend there shall be bear and meat!

    ok so the 'water pan'... Why is it called a water pan? I read a lot of posts that people fill it with sand. I, myself fill it with white wine. so not only does the chicken have a good smoky flavor but it's still succulent. Are other people not doing this?

    oh my profile avatar is a pick of the new ECB, and attached here is the chicken I used to crank out with my old smoker.

  2. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Welcome to the forums!  Glad you've joined us.  You've found a great place to learn and share ideas on our favorite pastimes...grilling, smoking, and curing great food!  There are lots of friendly and knowledgeable folks here who really enjoy helping one another.  Just ask any time you need help and you'll get plenty!

    There are folks who put all manner of liquids in their "water" pans...I always leave mine dry and just covered with each his own!

  3. s2k9k

    s2k9k AMNPS Test Group

    :welcome1: to SMF!!! We're happy you found us! You've come to the right place, we have over 50,000 members who just love to share their experience and over 900,000 posts describing it!

    The search bar at the top can be your best friend when you are trying to find answers to your questions but you can still ask too if you want!

    We have an Articles section that is full of great information about smoking to include a lot of recipes and instructionals. Check it out there is a lot to learn in there!

    You might want to check out Jeff's Free 5 day E-Course, it will teach you all the basics plus a whole lot more!

    I use sand in my pan because it is a much more stable thermal mass than a liquid. If I want to add some humidity to the smoke I just place another pan with some water on top of the sand. Liquid in the pan really doesn't make the meat juicier, the juiciness comes from the meat itself. I see people put all different kinds of liquids in the pan and claim it adds flavor to the meat, I have tried a few things and never noticed any difference. Humidity in the chamber does help with smoke penetration
    If you want to use a liquid I would suggest just use water and drink the wine!
  4. kathrynn

    kathrynn Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    [​IMG]to SMF!  We are so glad you joined us! 

    If you didn't read the "Terms of Service" notes.....please do.  There are a few things that everyone should know about those pesky little rules before plunging into the forums.

    If you need any help roaming around the forums....just holler!  Happy to help out!

  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome aboard! The reason its called a water pan is that it's designed to hold water. In the case of your Brinkmann, it's actually an integral part of a pretty simple but effective design. Since water won't go above 212˚, a gallon or so of it makes a fairly effective "damper". You've got 7 or 8 pounds of mass that's at a constant temperature, and that's gonna keep the tiny interior volume of that smoker fairly stable in the mid 200's. In addition, it provides a moist cooking environment which can be beneficial to the exterior of your food.

    This is all well and good in theory. In practice, that 7 or 8 pounds of water takes a LONG time and a good bit of fuel to get up to temperature. And it's constantly evaporating. As it's evaporating, its mass is decreasing, as its ability to modulate the temperature in the smoker. Again, in theory, this works out just fine, as the size of the coal pan and the size of the water pan are pretty well matched. As the coals are consumed, their ability to heat the smoker is decreasing, so the decreased water volume makes it easier for the decreasing amount of fuel to keep the temp stable. In a perfect world, the water and coals would both be depleted at the exact instant that your food reached the perfect doneness. And then you, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus could all have a lovely meal together. In other words, that's not very likely.

    In the real world, what's going to happen is the water is going to evaporate and the temperature is going to go nuts. So, you're going to try to refill the water pan, In the process you're going to create a huge cloud of steam, which is going to burn your hand causing you to jerk violently, spilling the remainder of the water into the coal pan, dousing the fire and creating an ash cloud which will settle on your food. Then it's pizza time. Don't ask me how I know this.

    So, someone came up with the idea of replacing the water with something that won't evaporate. Like sand. You can also use an unglazed ceramic saucer like the ones that go under potted plants. Or a cast iron dutch oven. Or a bunch of rocks. Basically anything that will absorb and hold a lot of heat will work. If you're stuck on having a moist cooking environment, you can also put a pan of water in there. I don't bother, as I like a dryer cooker. I think things like chicken skin and the bark on a pork butt turn out better that way. But that's just me.

    As far as the wine is concerned, if it makes you happy keep right on doing it. Just remember, the alcohol in the wine will boil off around 170˚, followed shortly thereafter by the water. And that's all. Everything else stays right there in the pan. That's why distilled spirits taste pretty neutral and a wine reduction sauce tastes like supercharged wine.

    Anyway, sorry for the longwinded post. Slow day today.

    Let us know how it's going with the ECB!!
  6. gofish

    gofish Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Welcome from Southern MD.  I drive to Rockville every couple of weeks so as I pass by, I'll be sniffing for the Thin Blue Smoke that has a hint of white wine.  Keep the food pics coming.
  7. Welcome from Wyoming and an Expat Marylander. (grew up near Annapolis, lots of family there and in St Marys city) You're on the right track. Keep up the good work.
  8. Thank you all for the warm welcome.  I didn't realize these forums would be so popular.  I wonder if my boss is a member. We talk about smoking meat all the time.   

    I haven't moved into the new house yet, but we're staying there this weekend, and I will try the Jeff-mods on my ECB.  I also bought the Rub n BBQ sauce recipes. this should be a FUN weekend.

    It wil lbe my frist time making Ribs.  From Jeff's Smoking course, I take itmost of you prefer Baby backs or spareribs.   This weekend I'm doing Beef shortribs.

    Thanks for the info about the pan. My wife likes the chicken the way I made it previously with wine, but now I know if she wants crispy skin, I can try it with sand.

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