People always say no waterbath, how to stop drippings from burning?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rtpassini, Nov 16, 2014.

  1. rtpassini

    rtpassini Newbie

    If I dont put a significant amount of water into the "drip tray" when smoking, It comes out in a big charcoal nasty mess instead of having delicious drippings to shred the meat up in.

    So how do I avoid that from happening without basically doing a water bath?
  2. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    In vertical smokers if you set an extra drip pan over the factory pan, you can usually salvage the drippings. The temperature of the pan without water can reach the scorch-point of most drippings without evaporative cooling (water in the pan). If you don't use water in the factory pan, you may still eventually reach the scorch-point.

    When I run with a wet-to-dry smoke chamber, if I want to catch & save the drippings in a secondary pan, I need to get them out not long after the water has evaporated from the water pan, or they will always become scorched at some point on longer smokes. If I run wet only, I can leave the drippings until the meat comes out. There are drawbacks to keeping the smoke chamber wet, especially if you want a well developed, hard bark on the meat, or a more bite-through/crisp skin on birds.

  3. If your looking to save drippings either place a foil tray just below the meat or place a smaller trivet inside the foil tray and the meat on that.
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Turn the heat down on the smoker..... Smoke at 140 ish.... when you have enough smoke, finish in your kitchen oven.....
  5. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The smoker water pan is not intended for your drippings that you plan to eat. It is strictly there as a thermal mass to help maintain even temperatures in your smoke chamber. For drippings you plan to consume place a foil tray under the meat with approx 3-4 cups of liquid in it (beer, broth, water, etc.), you can also add cut up veggies in for extra flavors. If you don't start with some liquid in the foil tray the drippings will just dry up and be a brown crust on the bottom of the pan.
  6. What I do with my MES 30 inch Electric, is I wrap in foil with one wide piece of tin foil on the bottom and another narrow piece on the top  This makes easy clean up.  I also cover the top of the bottom drip tray with a piece of wide tin foil.  I also rip about 10 to 11 inch piece of tin foil and wrap it around to cover the top of smoke chamber, where the chips are burnt up.  That helps a lot in clean up also.

    When doing any thing, if I have room in the smoker, I will place a separate Tin foil pan under the meat to catch the drippings.  I buy these at the local Dollar stores.
  7. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    " Turn the heat down on the smoker..... Smoke at 140 ish.... when you have enough smoke, finish in your kitchen oven....."


    There is some Risk to smoking any uncured " intact " meat at a temperature below the USDA recommended temperature of 225°F. Additionally it is outright DANGEROUS to smoke any uncured meat that has been Injected, Ground or had the surface broken in any way, at temps below 225°F...JJ
  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Rtpassini - Who says "no waterbath" ?

    As JIRodriguez says it is there as a thermal mass to help even out the temperature in the smoker. For some meats I use a water bath and for others I don't. Also as he says use a separate pan for the drippings

    Just because there is a water bath there does not mean that the temperature in the chamber is restricted to 100 C (212 F). In something like a Weber the water bath is usually placed at the same level as the coals however there is a significant temperature gradient within the smoker  - with the top of the smoking chamber being significantly hotter than the bottom. When the cooking temperature at the cooking grate is at a nice 115 C (240 F) the temperature at the charcoal grate (between the coals) is likely to be lower than 100 C (212 F)

    A similar situation is true in most smokers where a water bath is present. Most of the heat will actually go around the water bath resulting in the cooking chamber still reaching the required temperature. The water will all eventually evaporate sure, but it will take some time depending on the size of the water bath.

    Using or not using a water bath is really personal preference and so long as you are monitoring the IT of the smoker at the cooking grate level there is no reason not to use one.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
  9. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Technically you can use the water pan itself to catch your drippings, in the vertical just make sure there is enough water to keep from drying up and time it so your water pan evaporates most of the water out, another words just add a few cups of water every so often towards the end of your cook.

    You can even line the water tray with foil, add some water place another layer of foil add some more water the catch your drippings (double boiler), just make sure to leave access to the bottom layer to keep adding water, I have yet to try this but was playing around with the idea.

    You can place something like beans under the food to catch the dripping, adding a ton of flavor to the beans, just watch the grease.

    Just beware that adding another pan in a vertical will alter the way the food cooks, so rotating the food may be needed.

    In an RF, I place the water pan right on top of a cast iron grate that rests on the RF plate, just make sure that it is level because if you have a shallow end, the drippings will burn up on the high side of the pan, just keep topped off with water.

    I will save some trimming from the pork and sometimes toss in onions and stuff. For poultry, I dress up the dripping tray pretty good as this will be the gravy.

    If you don't want too much smoke just cover the drip tray partially  with foil.

    Just make sure to remove the fat, before finalizing your finishing sauce.

    Hope this helps.

Share This Page