Water Pan in ECB

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by markh, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. I am having some trouble getting the proper heat in my ECB. I havent replaced the thermometer yet, but Ideally I want the needle to be right in the middle of "Ideal". I have drilled the holes in side and bottom of the charcoal pan. I have mounted the legs on the outside. Saturday I was smoking a turkey and had trouble getting it much above "warm"

    I removed the water pan and the temp got to where I wanted it.

    Admittedly, the only charcoal pan mod I havent made is putting grate in the bottom of it.

    So my question is, do i really need the water pan? If I run it dry it starts smoking badly, if I fill it with hot water then my heat wont get up there. If I pull it out I get flareups from the drippings catching fire and therefore raising the temp way past Hot.

    What are my options here?
  2. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Have you tried running sand instead of water in the pan?
  3. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you haven't tried it then give what Paul said a shot and put sand in your water pan.
    You can buy clean sand at Lowe's or Home Depot for pretty cheap, just fill your pan with that, lay foil over the top of the sand (keeps it clean) and see how well it works.
  4. Interesting....I never thought of that. I will try that this weekend. That gives me a reason to do another smoke before Thanksgiving!
  5. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have eschewed any pan at all in my WSM. I use a foil covered grate as a heat baffle/deflector. Sand will help maintain temps after opening the unit however. I have tossed in a couple bricks for this in the winter.
  6. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You really need to get a good thermometer. When I got my ECB I was amazed at how far off it was with the factory thermo. Accurate temp's are the first thing you really need to know. the rest will come with experience.
    And like mentioned above, a good heat sink like sand or some bricks will help hold the temps while you fiddle around in the smoker. But to be honest hot water always has worked for me.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A good thermometer is very impotant and it doesn't have to be the expencive models for all you have to do is tast it from time to time. I have retested mine many times and will continue probally ever month or so. You could try to sand in the water pan and if that doesn't work come back and we will give you more things to try.
  8. billbo

    billbo Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Forget that therm that comes with it! With that you realy have no idea what your temps are. Also, you need to get the charcoal off the bottom of the pan.
  9. iruptacopula

    iruptacopula Newbie

    If you want to run it in the middle of Ideal it will be at about 300 degrees plus, at least that is how mine is. At 225 mine is just getting into Ideal. Get a thermometer.
  10. raceyb

    raceyb Smoking Fanatic

    The sand works wonders. I quit using water ages ago. Just have to replace sand once in awhile cause it will end up crisping. Just make sure to mist smoker with water or spritz your meats with water and or apple juice to add moisture back in.
  11. erik

    erik Fire Starter

    I have the same problem.

    What I do for now is not fill up the water pan. I fill it up half way at most, and that seems to get my temps up a bit. This issue is mostly why I want to build a UDS.

    I might try the sand suggestion, thanks guys for the tip!
  12. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Change the thermo! [​IMG]
  13. Just wanted to post an update to this thread. Smoked a couple of chickens this weekend using the ECB. I went and bought a probe thermometer, drilled a hole in the dome and put it down in there while I smoked. I continued to use the water pan just like normal to see what temps I was really getting from my smoker. Using the new thermometer was eye-opening. My smoker would run anywhere from 220* - 250*, and that stupid built in factory "thermometer" was all over the place. Usually it rode just barely above "warm" when I was at 250* on the thermometer. Occasionally it would read right in the middle of "Ideal" (where I originally thought I needed to be) and my thermometer temp was still 250*

    Moral of the story here, is heed all others advice and use a different thermometer if you havent already.

    Another thing I did was once my temps started to drop below 200 was to restart a brand new batch of charcoal after dumping the old ones completely out. It seemed like the water pan was usually running dry by this time as well, so I re-filled that (half full) when I changed the coals. I took some pics so I will post a separate qview thread!

    Thanks to all who helped with my water-pan issue. Turns out it wasnt really that but all the advice certainly put me in the right direction!

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