Water Pan or Not??

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by dwdunlap, Jul 9, 2016.

  1. I have a new Dyna-Glow vertical gas smoker and read the many posts about smoking ribs, butts and brisket but don't see anything about the water pan. Can someone enlighten me whether to use mine or not. If not, why not? Looks like it at least needs to be in there to catch the drippings. 

    Will be smoking ribs tomorrow and would like to know. Thanks in advance...

    David Dunlap
  2. If your dyna-glow is like my gas smoker the water pan provides separation between the burner and the cooking chamber, necessary for indirect cooking.  So it should be in there, what should be in your pan is another matter.  Two basic schools of thought, water or no water.  Its a matter of personal preference, generally I use a water in the pan for at least part of a 4hr plus smoke.  Water will help regulate and stabilize your temps, it functions as a heat sink.  Some will use washed sand or lava rock instead to do the same.  Water is supposed to help the smoke penetrate the meat, but some dispute that.  Basically its something you decide for yourself, with more experience and experimentation.  Bottom line, for ribs I would for the first couple of hours at least, if it runs dry after that, its up to you whether you refill it.  Hope this helps, good luck with the ribs and good smokin'.
  3. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you start with water in the pan and let it run dry (with anything but a regulated/thermostat-controlled electric smoker) you need to be there to dial the heat down so your chamber temps don't spike into low-earth orbit (you can ask me how I know this). Water evaporation cools it's surrounding environment...that's why water in the pan is so effective at controlling temp spikes. What it also will do is increase fuel use and reduce the ability to push higher smoke chamber temps when you want to, such as when smoking birds. Need higher temps? Loose the water.

    I gotta agree with water vapor/high humidity creating a better environment for smoke to condense on the product, because I don't get nearly as much smoke flavor when I run with no water at all on a hot smoke.

    I've only ever used one horizontal pit with SFB...all the rest of my rigs are vertical...propane and charcoal. Vertical, regardless of heat source, act pretty much the same regarding water pans and what you use in them, be it gravel, sand, water, or water in a foil liner over a solid mass. That's my usual set-up, most of the time, except with my WSM...I run it dry and bare, now days because it uses so much less fuel and is easily dialed in to a reasonable temp-range.

  4. Thanks for the info and I'll use and add water tomorrow. Maybe some apple juice too.

    Cape Caution, BC?  WOW that's out there!  I'm familiar with the crab boat but it took me a while on Google maps to locate. I don't see even any villages around there.

    My Dyna-Glow is a a duel burner, double door and sure does and sure does look like mine and now I see why the water pan needs to be in there.

    Thanks for the help

  5. Thanks for the information on the water bowl. Now I know and will use it now and know why.

    This is why I joined!!!

  6. I'm a little south of cape caution, closer to Vancouver Island actually, but I liked the Dangerous Catch reference so I put it that way.  Its not the middle of nowhere, but you can see it from here.
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I put lava rocks in my water pan and enough water for about 4 hours.

    When the water is gone the lava rocks act as a heat sink.


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