Horizontal barrel smoker with side firebox question

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by 13spicerub, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. 13spicerub

    13spicerub Meat Mopper

    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.
  2. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    With my experience if you keep water or liquid in the waterpan while smoking; you will very rarely have a dry meat or product (pending how close you watch it).

    Then again, spritzing doesn't hurt either !!!
  3. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    A waterpan is not necessary, water is not there for moisture but to act as a place to store heat, help's with the temp swing's from opening the lid.
    ! also have a offset barrel cooker and have never used a water pan!
    Try to get a pic for us! [​IMG]
  4. 13spicerub

    13spicerub Meat Mopper

    thanks. just another reason i love SMF.[​IMG]
  5. I do use a water pan in my offsets. O.K. , they are mostly drip pans that keep the drippings off the bottom of the smoker. just cheapo alum . pans.I put in a little water # 1 cause it keeps the drippings from baking on to the pans making for easy cleanup and re-use of the pans, # 2 , could'nt hurt right ?Dont think the moisture content would be a rust threat or anything
  6. allen

    allen Smoking Fanatic

    Hey 13spicerub, I have a horizontal smoker and I just use a aluminum pie tin or cake pan and put it under the meat, that's all
  7. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Depending on model, he MAY need a deflector or tuning plate, however.
  8. peculiarmike

    peculiarmike Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If the side fire box extends into the smoke chamber a water pan/can sitting on top of it is probably a good idea, otherwise a pan under the cooking grate will do. It is used to raise the humidity inside the smoker. Higher humidity will (1) contribute to a nice "smoke ring" (2) reduce the rate of evaporation of moisture from the meat. Reducing the rate of evaporation helps with a moister product. You can't put moisture into the meat, you can control it's evaporation from the meat. The other factor, of course, is how long and how hot you cook it, which requires your attention. If your meat is dry it is over cooked, plain and simple. There is no magic bullet to compensate for over cooking.
    I recommend cooking to temperature using a remote digital thermometer and closely regulating smoke chamber temperature.
    But, what do I know?
  9. buddy

    buddy StickBurners

    I'm kind of going with peculiarMike's opinion. I have a pretty big trailer mounted smoker with a side mounted fire box , and I've smoked meat both ways. I'm not sure that there is a big difference with or without the water pan, but I use one anyway just in case. I just take a aluminum roasting pan from the store , and put it right underneath where my firebox opening is going into the smoking chamber. I also have a shield that welded in there that keeps the heat off of the grate that I cook on. I'm sure the water pan helps some , but I don't think its really critical.
  10. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i use a water pan on vertical catches drippings and keeps meat moist dont use on jerky or sausage

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