Water pan???

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by deerjohn, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. There seems to be a lot of opinions on what to put in the water pan??  I've read sand, gravel, water, apple juice and leaving it empty!?  Whats your thoughts??
  2. figjam

    figjam Meat Mopper

    I do water for when I want to keep my temps down and empty for when I want em higher (like for poultry).
  3. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I leave mine empty but foiled over to act as an additional grease catcher. I used sand once because that one time I spilled damp, greasy sand inside my smoker. The 30 minutes I spent cleaning it out taught me my lesson.
  4. texfinn

    texfinn Fire Starter

    In the MES 30 I also have the water pan foiled but empty. In the MB propane smoker I've used water, apple juive, Dr. Pepper, Coke etc., depending on what I'm smoking.
  5. goldmine1965

    goldmine1965 Smoke Blower

    I put playground sand in it and covered it with foil. Like you, I read many different things about the water pan. There are information out there that filling it with sand will help with regulating the temperature. But I am only going by what I have read. As I get more experienced in smoking, I may take out the sand and see if the temperatures are different.
  6. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I use nothing but aluminum foil in my water pan
  7. goldmine1965

    goldmine1965 Smoke Blower

    Another thing, if you are using or will use the A-Maze-N Prducts pellet smoker, I believe they advise not using any liquids in the water pan. Their reasoning is that it would hamper the pellets burning.
  8. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The "water" pan is actually be quite important - more so in upright bullet smokers - as it helps buffer the heat being given off by the coals and the cooking chamber. Some people place water in there and others use sand. The water will help to maintain a moist environment inside the smoker and it buffers the temperature by absorbing some of the heat energy to convert the water into water vapour/steam. The sand acts like the bricks in a storage heater by absorbing the fluctuating heat from below and giving off a more consistent heat above. There is no hard and fast rule as to which to use, mostly it is down to personal preference. I tend to use water in a foil tray my Weber Kettles (as it is at the same level as the fire) but I use sand when I have used a WSM as it is directly above the fire. I would recommend that you probably start with sand and at some point in the future try water and see how you get on with both.

    When cold smoking the water pan is a good place to put cold water or even ice, as it will help remove any residual heat being given off by the smoke generator underneath.
  9. lamar

    lamar Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I too line my water pan with foil to catch drippings. Wad the foil up and the pan is clean and ready for new foil.

    Bear in mind that if you use water or sand, either one has to come up to temp before you have much stability and that means more fuel burn.

    As it has been said many times on this forum..it's all a matter of personal preference. No hard rules for anything except that you need heat to cook!

  10. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    With my experience in my MES 30 Gen 1 smoking with the water pan filled with playground sand and with it empty and foiled over, I saw no difference in heat regulation or variances. In fact, with it empty I'll quite often see a few degrees difference between the controller display and my ET-733 or the temps will be the same. For me, the less I have to do when smoking the more fun it is and the better the finished product.

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