My dad's buddy just picked up a smoker. It's a barrel-type smoker with a side firebox. i've become the guys only source for smoking knowledge but I'm going with an ECB (that i am more than satisfied with). I couldn't answer his question but i know someone on here can. He's been told he needed a water pan. i don't know who told him this but he fears without it the meat will dry out and be ruined. To my knowledge, the water pan in an ECB is used to create indirect heat since the coals are directly below the meat. If he is using the side firebox, that is the indirect heat source. so is a water pan necessary for that setup? if so, where does it go? in the firebox? under the grate? he's got access to welding tools, so there is potential for modifications.