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iceman72475 02-21-2013 02:30 AM

Wsm 22.5
Hello everyone I have a question about my wsm 22.5 that I am still waiting to take delivery on. I have been reading and have noticed some people do not put water in the water pan. I know you foil the water pan to make it easier to clean, and you add water to help keep the meat you are smoking from drying out. So what are the benefits to not adding water?

BigBellyBBQ 02-21-2013 02:37 AM

better bark

iceman72475 02-21-2013 02:57 AM

Thats what I was thinking? Does it dry out the meat?

yakdung 02-21-2013 03:01 AM

The water pan acts as an insulator against higher temperatures. It is becoming an issue for me, and I plan on introducing a different maternal to act as the heat buffer. I will probably go with ceramic briquettes.

DLR 02-21-2013 04:28 AM

There are a few different things you can do with the water pan, myself I use a 1/8" steel plate inside my bowl, it works pretty darn good for me, a plow/harrow disk may work as well

slammmed 02-21-2013 04:30 AM

personally I think the que gets a better bark with the water.

Danny B 02-21-2013 04:39 AM

Some people(including me now) put an 18" clay saucer wrapped in foil inside the water pan. It heats up to the temp of the smoker and helps regulate the temp and also seems to extend cooking times. The experts are split on the water vs. no water. Jamie Purviance, who writes many Weber cookbooks, says use water. Harry Soo who is a top 10 bbq competition cook does not use water. It works either way. I haven't been able to tell a difference in ribs, chicken or butts. I have not tried a brisket without the water in the pan yet. Brisket may be the one meat I may stick with the water. Clean up is a little easier without the water though. Try it both ways and see what you think. The 22 WSM is a great smoker. A tip I'll share - if you use water spray the inside of water pan with Pam grilling spray and don't foil. It cleans up fine by rinsing out with a water hose.

iceman72475 02-21-2013 05:01 AM

Thanks for the input. So it sounds to me like it is personal preference. So now I have another questions. It sounds to me like some of you are beefing up the water pan to act as a better heat deflector. Does the wsm run hot? I would think you could just close the vents on bottom a little more to reduce temp. Keep in mind I am still waiting on Wally World to ship it should be here soon, I hope maybe tomorrow(probable just jinxed).

Danny B 02-21-2013 05:14 AM

It will run hotter than you think for the first few cooks until you get some buildup on the inside. The clay saucer is more of a heat regulator than a deflector (I think).

Freddy j 02-21-2013 05:37 AM


Originally Posted by iceman72475 (Post 2376778)
Thanks for the input. So it sounds to me like it is personal preference. .

amen brother. I tried running mine with sand but now only run it empty (save for the foil I put in it to ease clean up).


Originally Posted by iceman72475 (Post 2376778)
it sounds to me like some of you are beefing up the water pan to act as a better heat deflector.

more like a heat sink than a deflector. When I ran mine with sand in it, it was near impossible to hit 325 for poultry and I used a TON of fuel. Running the pan empty deflects the heat so it cooks your food indirect and I can hit any temp range I need.


Originally Posted by iceman72475 (Post 2376778)
Does the wsm run hot?

no, not unless you instruct it to. I don't run a water pan in my wsm, mini wsm or PBC (although I will try on the wsm this summer to see if I get better bark as mentioned by bigbellybbq).

You can achieve pretty much any temp you desire by leaving the top vent wide open and adjusting the oxygen intake with the bottom vents.

The WSM has a very small learning curve & as you stated, 99% of bbq is personal preference. There is a ton of info and friendly people to guide you, but just try different things and have fun with it. You've just bought one of the best bbq pits on the market!


Originally Posted by iceman72475 (Post 2376778)
I would think you could just close the vents on bottom a little more to reduce temp..

yes. As is true with any fire, reduce the oxygen and temps come down.

HeSmellsLikeSmoke 02-21-2013 05:49 AM

I use sand with foil over the top. It is very easy to clean up and is an excellent heat sink. Big cuts of meat have all the moisture they need to turn out perfectly juicy.

HankB 02-21-2013 07:51 AM

Water boils at 212F. If the smoker gets much higher than that, the water will boil and tend to moderate the temperature. It's possible that it helps to transfer heat to the food as well by releasing heat as it condenses on the cold meat (but I tend to discount that effect.)

When I want to smoke something low 'n slow I use water in the pan. When I cook fowl where low temperature is less a benefit, I foil the pan.

Until your smoker gets some seasoning and you develop the skill to control temps where you want them, I suggest you use water in the pan (unless you are smoking fowl or otherwise wanting a high heat cook.)

Good luck with your new WSM! My family:

BobM 02-21-2013 11:39 AM

I use a foiled clay flower pot base in the foiled water pan, no water.
I find it easier to control temperatures.
I think the food comes out better.
Clean up is way easier with no water.

iceman72475 02-21-2013 11:52 AM

Thank you all for the good info. I can't wait for mine to get here and start smoking.

samfsu 02-21-2013 01:50 PM

I have just foiled the pan, and really only cleaned it once ;) As others have said, regulate temps using the bottom vents. You will be shocked at how easy the WSM will be to keep temps. Just takes a little practice. Smoke some chicken and you will dial it in in no time!

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