This water vapor, known as humidity, serves several purposes: The quick answer is you can, but it’s pointless. This is a false misconception- most of the flavor is going to come from the rub, smoke and any sauce you use. Because air flow is much more limited in electric smokers, meat is more prone to drying out. During the cooking process, the meat is constantly drying and re-moisturizing. Smoker Water Pans – Why, When and How to Use One. In popular bullet or cabinet style smokers, such as the Weber Smokey Mountain, or even homemade drum smokers, the heat source is located on the bottom, directly below the food. Smoking >> How To's & Guides >> Smoker Water Pans (How to Use Them & Why They Work). With other methods of heat deflection, the materials will eventually rise to the temperature of the oven you’re cooking in, making it less than ideal for longer cooks at lower temperatures. The Minion Method is one of the best…, Pulled pork is a pillar of smoked barbecue food. The water cools as it evaporates, which can help reduce the heat levels in a smoker as it evaporates. Flare-ups are the bane of any pitmaster or grill fan’s life, and can easily ruin any cut of meat that you’ve blood, sweat and tears into preparing as perfectly as possible. Water pans tend to sit on top of your heat source, and have the primary function of generating moisture and steam to help stop your meat from drying out. Some of the water vapor mixes with a chemical in the smoke, which then sticks to the meat and adds even more flavor. This is because water evaporates when it reaches its boiling point, releasing water vapor into the air. Here are the most important ways how: Water pans help to stabilize your smoker’s cooking temperatures. Target smoking temperatures are usually around 225°F. For many new backyard pitmasters, whether or not to cook with a pan full of water in their smoker is often a source for great debate. Mark Jenner. Over time this fat can build up and block the sewers. Some people like to put wine, beer, herbs, juice, and other flavoring in the … The moral to the story: drink your beer. Some gas grills come water pans attached to the chip holder. The water vapor helps aid in bark formation- Moisture from the meat and water vapor in smoke dissolves the water soluble ingredients in the rub, such as the salt and sugar. Different smokers have different grate sizes, and also different builds will impact heavily on airflow. The second biggest complaint against using water in your smoker is because it’s a resource hog. // ]]> How To BBQ- Tips and Techniques For Getting It Right, You Want Me To Do What? If you don’t have that accessory, no worries. Unsubscribe at anytime. They aren't like offset smokers where the steam stays in the cooking chamber for a while before it exits the stack. The water can then be dumped down the drain, or out in your yard somewhere. In some smokers, notably offset smokers, such as those made by Char Broil that you find in the big box stores, the heat source is located off to the side, away from the cooking chamber. Adding water to your smoker might seem counter intuitive, but using a water pan is one of the best ways to help control your smoker’s temperature while also helping to prevent your food from drying out. This will help it rise to target temperature more slowly and evenly. Here's why: 1) Water helps you keep the air temp down to 225°F, a temp I recommend you learn to hit with regularity (read my article on calibration). Now, the temperature you desire can essentially be locked in just by using a water pan. This will help balance out any potential hot spots in your cooker and keep the heat distribution even, especially if you’re cooking indirectly in a kettle style grill or an off-set smoker. Some smokers are specifically designed to use them, so they must add something good…right? In turn this will give the connective tissues and fat in the meat more time to render and melt, keeping it moist. Another benefit to using water in your smoker is that water serves as a heat sink and evens out the temperatures in your cooking chamber. Place wood chunks on the coals, and fill the water pan about halfway. Probably the biggest argument against using a water pan is the cleanup; however this doesn’t have to be difficult. In my articles on the best setups for different grills and smokers, I advocate using a water pan under the meat or over the fire for smoking. Another option for charcoal grills is to place the water pan over the charcoal, depending on the size of your grill. Mix the water with the cooled ashes from your fire pit, and then discard in the trash. They also help prevent grease hitting your water pan and coating it in oil, which would in turn prevent evaporation. Place a pan of water right next to a heat source and you’ll find the water temperature is consistently the same across the entire pan. We respect your privacy and will never spam you. This is because of a process known as evaporative cooling (YAY science!). Use a drip pan under your food to catch the grease. Using a water pan in a pellet pooper is a waste of time. As the water heats up and approaches boiling, it begins to evaporate, putting water vapor (A fancy term for “Steam”) into the air. Allowing more smoke to adhere to the surface of your meat will enhance the flavor of your meat, and even help to create the ideal ‘smoke ring’ (source). When you’re filling the water pan, be careful not to splash, and don’t over fill it. An aluminum pan works great for this setup, too. Here’s everything you need to know about smoker water pans. It can smell great, but it’s really a “feel good” thing that does nothing important for the flavor of the food itself. But if your goal is to cook low and slow for a long period of time, cooking with water will be better for the long run. Well, a water pan will even them out. When water vapor condenses on the surface of your meat, it creates a surface that smoke can stick to. Depending on the size of your grill, an aluminum loaf pan may be all you need. Grab a funnel and dump the water into an old milk jug and then discard in the trash. How a Vertical Water Smoker Works. The moisture generated by the water pans can help create a humid cooking environment. Another oft cited complaint is “You have to refill the water-pan.” Sure- every couple hours or so, you might need to add water. Water also takes longer to rise and fall in temperature than other materials. Place wood chunks on the coals, and fill the water pan about halfway. You can then skim the fat right off the top and discard it in the trash. Don’t forget to wrap the pan in foil before. If you’re looking for reasons to use a water pan in your smoker, there are essentially four: ... As a means for temperature control, water works the best for maintaining lower temperatures. This moisture can in turn cool the meat and help it cook slower. Water Pan Pro #5. This is because water can’t go above its boiling temperature of 212°F, or 100°C, regardless of how hot you try to make your smoker. These grills use forced air that pushes the steam right out the stack. This should leave your water pan relatively fat free, to allow for easier cleanup. In this instance, try to place it between your meat and fire box on the cooking grates so that it intercepts the air flow from heat to food. There are 3 parts to the vertical water smoker: the bottom where the heat source is located (also known as a fire box in charcoal smokers), a water pan, and the cooking chamber. A water pan can be placed above your coals, which can help protect your food from being cooked directly. This design creates a natural source of indirect cooking without the need for additional modifications. Water pans can help reduce this by adding more humidity to the smoker environment. The truth is, there are a variety of options that can be used to create the indirect cooking surface needed for low and slow BBQ, and using a water pan is just simply one of them. Temperatures will also normalize quicker, should you need to open the cooker for any reason. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to In a vertical smoker like the … Don’t use cold… it will lower the grill temperature too much. Usually this acts by catching fat that has rendered in your food and is dripping off, or any grease that has formed. I recommend just using hot water in the pan. Let’s get into it! Using a water pan in your smoker is a proven way to help improve your home barbecue smoking. Likewise, because water takes longer than air to cool, if your smoker’s temperature starts to drop the hot steam can help your air stay at target temperature. Humidity that develops from the use of a water pan keeps the surface of the meat moist, which in turn, attracts smoke vapor, which in turn, produces great flavor. If you’re using a gas grill, place it directly over the burners that you’re using for heat and set up the grill for 2-zone cooking (indirect grilling).