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Thread: checking the water on an 18" WSM

  1. #1
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    checking the water on an 18" WSM

    How do I know when I need to add water to an 18" WSM?

    Thanks ahead!

  2. #2
    TVWBB Diamond Member Len Dennis's Avatar
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    By looking ? Really, water is only there to help moderate the temps. If your temps are stable, fuggedaboutit.

    When I used to use water (and that was years ago) I never needed to add (on a 6-7 hr smoke).
    So many recipes, so little time
    : Genesis gas grill 18.5" WSM Maverick ET-732 :

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Dennis View Post
    By looking ? Really, water is only there to help moderate the temps. If your temps are stable, fuggedaboutit.

    When I used to use water (and that was years ago) I never needed to add (on a 6-7 hr smoke).
    Just start with really hot water. If you start with cold tap water you will have to heat the water before you can get any heat on the meat. And with a minion start, that could take quite a while, like hours.

  4. #4
    TVWBB Guru Pat G's Avatar
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    I never use water in my WSM's. I use one of these water pan covers.
    https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...E6NC0Q/tvwb-20
    Performer Deluxe(Copper) Genesis Gold B(Redhead) 18WSM 14WSM 26 OTG 22 OTG JJ Q1200 Gas & Charcoal Go Anywhere, Vortex, Kettle Pizza, Smoke

  5. #5
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    Here's my detailed article on using water in the water pan: http://virtualweberbullet.com/using-...r-smokers.html

    Assuming you start with a full pan of water, you should check every two hours by opening the access door and taking a peek at the water level. If you're cooking at night, you'll need a flashlight. Keep in mind that the pan will be catching grease during the cook, so what you see in the pan is a combination of water with grease floating on top. If the level looks low, add some water using any of the containers mentioned in the article. But don't fill to the top, you want to leave room for the pan to continue to catch grease.

    As a general rule, I use water whenever I'm cooking low & slow using the Minion Method. Sometimes I need to add water, sometimes I don't, it just depends. Not only does the water help with temperature control, but the steam creates a moist environment that helps with smoke ring formation.

  6. #6
    TVWBB Diamond Member Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    I suppose if you use water, Chris’s information is the opinion to take to heart as a new smoker. Personally, after reading this forum for a few months prior to my purchase, I have simply not used water, ever, not once. My brother screams and stamped his foot about using water (until he went to a pellet pooper, traitor) he even made a “drill powered” water pump to refill his pan, I would have done something less involved, like a piece of copper or stainless pipe and a funnel but, he went to college, I sold guitars.
    I do use a terra-cotta flowerpot saucer, foil wrapped resting in the pan which is also foil wrapped. Easy cleanup even.
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
    "If brains was lard, that boy couldn't grease too big a skillet!" J. D. Clampett

  7. #7
    TVWBB Pro V_Rocco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Allingham View Post
    Here's my detailed article on using water in the water pan: http://virtualweberbullet.com/using-...r-smokers.html

    Assuming you start with a full pan of water, you should check every two hours by opening the access door and taking a peek at the water level. If you're cooking at night, you'll need a flashlight. Keep in mind that the pan will be catching grease during the cook, so what you see in the pan is a combination of water with grease floating on top. If the level looks low, add some water using any of the containers mentioned in the article. But don't fill to the top, you want to leave room for the pan to continue to catch grease.

    As a general rule, I use water whenever I'm cooking low & slow using the Minion Method. Sometimes I need to add water, sometimes I don't, it just depends. Not only does the water help with temperature control, but the steam creates a moist environment that helps with smoke ring formation.
    I always cook low and slow in the WSM. If I need to go hotter, I use the Kettle. I took your advice about water when I first joined TVWBB 12 years ago, and never looked back. As a Engineer, Science nut, and Technologist, water is the only thing that makes sense to my inner-nerd.
    Vern
    Nothing but Weber equipment: Performer Grill , 18.5" WSM

  8. #8
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    Thanks, all! Much appreciate the input!

  9. #9
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    A few bullet points on water:
    * helps keep temp down
    * provides moist environment
    Negatives:
    * as an energy sink, it requires more fuel for a cook
    * bark is affected by moisture (in my mind negatively)
    * cooks can take longer
    * you has a mess to clean

    So for better bark, simpler operations...I go waterless
    Peach Kissed Q

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