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Water Pan in Pellet Smoker (Or any other Smokers_

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    Water Pan in Pellet Smoker (Or any other Smokers_

    I'v been thinking about adding a water pan the the PG500 on my next rib cook, and began a little online research. Consensus seems to be--well no real consensus. I did find one guy who also uses a PG500, and I believe I will give it a try on my next rib cook.
    One of the topics I found mentions water pan compared to crutch which the poster seems to think is a micro environment that replicates the water pan in a way.
    Post is below. Makes sense but figured to get a consensus here if there is such a thing in the BBQ world. The poster makes a statement in a later post that he did use the water pan in a later rib cook and will continue as the ribs cooked faster.
    "As a general rule, I don't feel the need for any water pan...

    However, I used one once, put it on the right of my direct cooking area while I smoked a full packer brisket. That was the only time I ever cooked a big hunk of meat that never really stalled. Apparently the increased humidity slowed or stopped the evaporative cooling that causes the stall. I will do it again, but haven't really cooked another brisket since then, so I can only speculate that if I do it again, the same results will occur. The brisket turned out very nice, lots of bark and cooked faster than any other brisket I've ever done without wrapping.

    I hadn't thought about it, but this makes sense.

    The "new" heat entering the pit will–
    • Maintain the pit's internal and metal temperature
    • Vaporize the water in the pan
    • Vaporize the water in the meat
    • Increase the meats internal temperature

    The meat's moisture may be less likely to evaporate if the pit interior is at or near 100% humidity. The result being more heat energy used to raise the meat's IT.

    I suppose that doing this requires more heat input, so we'd burn more pellets.

    I suspect that the same thing could be accomplished by creating a micro-environment in which to cook the meat. Wrapping the meat in aluminum foil and including a few ounces of liquid to raise the humidity in the micro-environment would accomplish the same thing without the water pan and the requisite additional heat input.

    Apparently, that's the genesis of the Texas crutch."


    #2
    Consensus??? No such thing. Myron Mixon is a big water pan proponent; his newer smokers have one built in so you have to use water. Harry Soo, not so much. He uses a WSM and doesn't use the water pan except as a heat shield. I have done it both ways with the WSM - on long brisket and butt cooks, I use water in the pan in the summer to help control the temps (when I am too lazy to set up the fan). On short rib cooks, I use the pan as a heat shield with no water. On the kettle/sns, I use water in the reservoir just to keep the meat away from the coals - the 22" kettle with sns has limited grate space.

    Sooooo, good luck with this one. I suspect you will get lots of answers both ways.

    Comment


      #3
      I've used one once in my pellet, never noticed a single thing- cook time, stall, or smoke flavor-wise. Granted, I didn't conduct my tests in any scientific way for review or article purposes, only anecdotal. Might be time to do it more scientifically. I regularly use one in my stickburner but when I don't (a time or three per year) I still don't really notice much difference. Stall, smoke flavor, cook time, nada.

      Comment


        #4
        I’ve never been able to tell a difference in the food with or without a water pan, only heat deflection. But I don’t think it helps with a stall at all. My guess is that person happened to get a brisket that didn’t stall or just had a very minimal one without him noticing.

        Comment


          #5
          I never use water pans other than in my KBQ, where there is a ton of airflow.

          In a Kamado it makes for a really moist environment that can cause the cook to take even longer. I also think it inhibits bark formation when I use one in my Kamado. I would agree with the quote from above, it slows evaporative cooling on the surface of the meat.

          Comment


          • Cheef
            Cheef commented
            Editing a comment
            @Spinaker.
            You nailed it with the ton of airflow in a KBQ comment for me.
            I have always thought most cooks coming from a pellet cooker on a long cook were a bit ---I guess dry on the surface as compared to the ceramic cookers or the old Americue we run sometimes.
            I have always thought the airflow was the cause and wonder if my perceived dryness might be eliminated by the water pan.
            This will give me something to experiment with this weekend with a rib cook.

          • Huskee
            Huskee commented
            Editing a comment
            The airflow is why I prefer to use one in my stickburner as well.

          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment
            Huskee +1 same here!

          #6
          Supposedly pellets are not a dry heat and the only benefit of a water pan would be helping to reduce temp swings when opening the lid alot.

          Only time I've really used a water pan in my pellet grill is when I was trying to catch drippings and smoke the water for use in a gravy/sauce.

          I wouldn't mind seeing a scientific test on dryness/moisture comparisons per fuel type, but I suspect it would also be dependent on the cooker type where pellets have powered mechanical convection and other fuel types typically just have vents, so not sure a comparison would even be useful.

          Comment


          • Cheef
            Cheef commented
            Editing a comment
            My comparison would only be to satisfy my curiosity.
            No scientific results, but I should be able to tell in a few cooks if my perception of dry remains or is taken away by the water pan.
            I am oilfield trash through and through, and kind of a show me kind of person.

          • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
            ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
            Editing a comment
            Cheef alot of folks in my profession transition to oil work when they re-enter civilian life, so completely understand the Missouri life philosophy

          • Cheef
            Cheef commented
            Editing a comment
            Unfortunately for the young people right now there isn't much of an oilfield left.
            I always lucked out and did MANY years in the patch. But Brother they kept me moving to keep working.

          #7
          Did a quick Youtube search and came up with the scientific aspect of the water pan.
          Maybe we should think about inviting this guy onto the site. He seems a Nerd deluxe.
          I say that in an absolutely complimentary way.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umXRJdg18CI

          Comment

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