Smoker Water Pans(How to Use Them and Why They Work)


Adding water to your smoker might seem counterintuitive, but using a water pan is one of the best ways to control the temperature of your smoker while preventing food from drying out.

Find out why you should use a water incense burner, how to use it and when to use it.

Here’s everything you need to know about incense burners.

Water pan on charcoal grill

Water Pan vs Drip Pan: What’s the Difference?

Many people confuse water pans with drip pans, but this confusion is easy to clear up.

Drain pans are usually placed directly under the food to catch runoff water. This usually works by catching fat that has built up in food and drains it, or fat that has built up. They are useful because they can prevent fat from hitting embers or flames, reducing the risk of flare -ups.

They also help prevent fat from hitting the water pan and coating it with oil, which would prevent evaporation though.

Water pans are usually placed on top of the heat source and have the main function of generating moisture and steam to prevent the meat from drying out.

It is the water pots that interest us today. Let’s get into that!

Water pan in cheese for smokers offset smokers

Why use a water pan for smokers?

Using a water pan in your smoker is a tried and true way to enhance the smoke from your home grill. Here are the main ways how:

Temperature control

Water pans help stabilize your smoker’s cooking temperatures. This is because water cannot exceed its boiling temperature of 212°F or 100°C no matter how hot you try to heat the smoker.

Target smoking temperatures are around 225°F. Water cools as it evaporates, which can help reduce the heat inside a smoker as it evaporates.

Because water takes longer to cool than air, the hot steam can help keep the air at the desired temperature when the temperature in the smoker starts to drop.

It can help you take advantage of indirect heat

A pot of water can be placed over the coals, which can help protect food from being cooked directly. As a result, the desired temperature is slower and more even.

Water pan under the grilles to catch drips

Protect flames and coals.

Sprouts are the bane in the life of any grill master or grill lover, and they can easily ruin every piece of meat you’ve prepared with blood, sweat, and tears in the best possible way.

In charcoal grills or smokers, flare-ups are often caused by fat draining from the food and hitting embers and flames. While the primary function of drip pans is to add extra protection to water pans should grease occur.

generate moisture

The moisture generated by the water pans can help create a humid cooking environment. This moisture will cool the meat and help it cook more slowly. This gives the meat’s connective tissue and fat more time to process and melt, keeping it moist.

enhances the taste

When the water vapor condenses on the meat’s surface, it creates a surface for smoke to cling to. Allowing more smoke to adhere to the surface of the meat improves the flavor( ideal grill smoke ring) .

Can help improve the performance of the electric smoker

Because airflow is much more restricted in electric smokers, the meat is more likely to dry out. Water pans can help reduce this by adding more moisture to the smoking environment. 

Pour water into the grill water pan

Where do I put a water bowl in my smoker?

The location of the water pan is largely determined by the type of smoker you have.

Different smokers have different rack sizes, and different designs also have a big impact on airflow.

Because water pans can help create radiant heat, ideally they should be placed directly above the coals and below the meat.

If you’re using an offset or reverse flow smoker, this isn’t possible because your heat source isn’t in the same chamber as your food. In this case, make sure to place it between the meat and the combustion chamber on the cooking grates so that it interrupts the flow of heat to the food.

If using a gas grill, place it directly over the burners you are using for heating and set the grill for 2-zone (indirect grilling) cooking. Place your food on the idle burners.

Some gas grills come with water bowls attached to the chip holder. If you don’t have this accessory, don’t worry. Just use on an aluminum tray. Depending on the size of your grill, an aluminum loaf pan may suffice.

If you’re using a charcoal grill as a smoker, set it up for two-zone grilling. Place the charcoal on one side of the grill and place disposable foil next to the charcoal. Place pieces of wood on the coals and fill the tray halfway with water.

Another option for charcoal grills, depending on the size of the grill, is to place the water pan on top of the charcoal. An aluminum pan is also great for this setup.

Can you taste water in a pot of water?

I recommend only using hot water in the pan. Some people like to add wine, beer, herbs, juice and other flavors to the pan of water, but honestly, it doesn’t make the food any better. It smells great, but it’s really a “feel good thing” that doesn’t add anything important to the taste of the food itself.

When filling the tub with water, be careful not to splash or overfill. Check the water level regularly and add hot water when it is low. Do not use cold…it will set the temperature of the grill too low.