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Thread: Does using water in the pan usually mean less smoke taste?

  1. #1
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    Does using water in the pan usually mean less smoke taste?

    I've been reading in recent threads that people aren't using water, or maybe only during summer.

    So far, when doing previous long cooks, I've foil lined the outside of the water pan, and also filled the pan with water.

  2. #2
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    I never noticed a difference with smoke taste either way; YMMV. I don't use water because it's messy. Water in the WSM is used as a heat sink and (some say) to add moisture. The WSM is pretty stable temp wise without the water. Some people use the water pan by itself, some put sand in it, and some (like me) put a flower pot base in it. Heck, some don't use the water pan at all. The sand and the pot base are used as a heat sink instead of the water. Whichever is used, it is always wrapped with foil to make clean up easier. Lots of posts about sand and flower pot bases here. As for adding moisture, I get great cooks without water.
    Lew
    Bunch of Webers, Smoke EZ, GMG Daniel Boone, White Thermapen MK4

  3. #3
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    I recommend using water for low & slow temperature cooks, no water for hot & fast temperature cooks.

    Water in the pan will give you a better smoke ring and make low & slow cooking super-easy, but not necessarily more smoke flavor. If you want more smoke ring without water in the pan, you need to spritz the meat with water, juice, etc. If you want more smoke flavor, use more smoke wood chunks or a more intense wood, e.g. switch from apple (mild) to oak (moderate) or go with apple (mild) + hickory (strong).

  4. #4
    TVWBB Guru Rusty James's Avatar
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    Three years smoking now, and I still use water in the pan.

    However, if the water runs out, I don't refill the pan.
    18.5", 18.5", 14.5", Royal Oak Lump / Royal Oak All Natural Briquettes, Blue Genesis Silver C

  5. #5
    TVWBB Diamond Member Dustin Dorsey's Avatar
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    I just foil my pan most of the time, although occasionally I will use water. My experience is that I get a better smoke ring with water in the pan. I haven't noticed a difference in smoke flavor. I have noticed that the smoke flavor is more intense with fresher wood. You could also just add a little more wood, but I'd only increase this a little at a time.
    22.5 WSM, 22.5 OTS, Smokey Joe, Genesis 1000, Smokenator 1000, Old Country Pecos, Thermapen, Smoke, Maverick ET-732, Igrill 2

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Allingham View Post
    I recommend using water for low & slow temperature cooks, no water for hot & fast temperature cooks.

    Water in the pan will give you a better smoke ring and make low & slow cooking super-easy, but not necessarily more smoke flavor. If you want more smoke ring without water in the pan, you need to spritz the meat with water, juice, etc. If you want more smoke flavor, use more smoke wood chunks or a more intense wood, e.g. switch from apple (mild) to oak (moderate) or go with apple (mild) + hickory (strong).
    Never noticed this, but then I don't pay much attention to the smoke ring since you can't taste it. I do seem to get a good smoke ring without water.
    Lew
    Bunch of Webers, Smoke EZ, GMG Daniel Boone, White Thermapen MK4

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the responses, everyone.

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