water pan..need it or not?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by beefy bill, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    I have a master forge vertical propane smoker. Do I really need the water pan? Does it make that much of a difference? I've just recently started smoking foods and have used it every time, but I only have two racks for meat, and want to use an amnps or amnts. If the amnts is on a rack laying next to the food, will the food still get smoky? If the water pan is no big deal, I could put an amnps on its rack. Thanks guys...
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
  2. wolfman1955

    wolfman1955 Master of the Pit

    I never use a water pan anymore but I used to. There are a lot who do. IMHO the water pan is mainly used to help control heat spikes and dips in a smoker. A lot of people just fill their water pan with play sand and then put foil over it to create a heat sync.to help with heat recovery after opening their cook chamber. The only thing I found using a water pan got me was more condensation and less bark. If you want to use that space for your AMNPS then thats what I would do.
    Keep Smokin!!!
  3. stacks

    stacks Smoke Blower

    I think it all depends on your smoker.  The water pan on a vertical smoker's primary function is to difuse the heat from the fire.  In my WSM's I use either sand or a teracotta plate to act as a heatsink/difuser during the cook as I have found I use a lot more fuel just to keep the water heated.  This being said, over long cooks I may put a small water pan on the grate to keep moisture in the cooker.  On my UDS's, I've never needed to use a water pan as the smoker itslef is pretty tight and holds the moisture inside.

    Hope this helps
  4. bigtrain74

    bigtrain74 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When I had a vertical propane smoker, I had to use the water pan because my temp on the cooker would spike rapidly. It acts as a heat sink along with adding moisture to the air inside the cooking chamber. If it's made to use one, use it.

    I always put a few foil wrapped bricks on the next to the burner. This helps to keep heat in during these cold months.

    Good luck

    beefy bill likes this.
  5. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    Thanks guys. I will have to do a pork butt again without water and see what I get. Maybe I'll fill it with sand. If the meat is dry, or I experience temp spikes, I will go to the pan again. If I use the tube smoker (amnts) on a grate that food is on, will it get smoke flavor too? I only want to have to buy one of these things. And bigtrain74, I'm definitely gonna use the brick idea!
  6. I don't know if it helps with the flavor, but I use a water pan every time.  I never use water though, it's always apple juice, orange juice, apple cider vinegar or some other flavored liquid.  I figure if it's steaming and circulating with the smoke it must be getting into the meat and adding another layer of flavor...
  7. red dog

    red dog Smoking Fanatic

    I used to use the water pan in my Brinkman bullet type propane smoker because food would get dry if I didn't. I also used it in my Landman vertical propane. I haven't used it in the MES because I use the AMNPS but may try it now that I have done the mailbox mod.
  8. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    Red dog, youve made up my mind.I'm gonna go ahead and use it..medic92 I've thought of using a flavored liquid as well. Did u notice a flavor? Anyone have advice on the amnts on the grates next to the meat? Thanks gents!
  9. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

     My opinion if pretty close to the same, but with out it, you are basically grilling. You do need that heat sink in a vertical be it water or sand or you darn well better be able to control your temps. In my old charcoal GOSM I would go up over 400º if I forgot the pan. Once in place, back down to 250º. Water does add some moisture, but very little to the smoke. I find when I use Sand, I tend to spritz the meat a little more than when using water.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
  10. beefy bill

    beefy bill Meat Mopper

    I have used water every time so far, and haven't noticed spikes when using the smoker. I have been happy with my results so far using your guys advice, so I will continue to do so. Thanks everyone!
  11. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As long as you have the pan of water in place the only way you see spikes or fluctuations is when the pan's water is evaporating or possibly runs out. This is the benefit of sand in much colder temps. It will give you higher temps along with more constant ones and it will not run out.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
  12. I do as medic does using juices in the waterpan and sometimes beer.  I think it adds a bit of zip and or complexity to the flavor. JMHO. Happy smokin!
    beefy bill likes this.

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