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UP IN SMOKE... 07-06-2009 08:34 PM

Looking for advice with 22' WSM
A friend and I are using two 22' wsm's. Now that we have been in a few competitions we have noticed a few different ways people are using the water pan. Water/sand/ceramic pieces..

Were looking for advice and understanding of why you would use anything but water??

Were trying our best too compete in kcbs and appreciate any advice but would really like to get schooled by a BBQ OldTimer!...I just respect my elders!


gooose53 07-06-2009 08:58 PM

I haven't used mine yet in a comp. but those that I know who do prefer using the sand. I believe if I remember correctly is for convenience. If you use water you will have to refill a number of times (depending on what your cooking and at what temp). With sand, there's no refill and it preforms about the same I'm told. When I do take mine to a comp I'm going to use sand. Hope this helps and feel free to experiment and see what works best for you. Good luck!!

Rich Parker 07-06-2009 09:03 PM

I have one of the older smaller WSM's and just recently stopped using water in the water pan, because I was sick of cleaning it up.

I went to a home and improvement store and picked up a clay saucer. So now i wrap my water pan in foil, the clay saucer in foil, and then set the saucer inside of the water pan.

Remember to catch the temp on its way up and to not let it get away from you because it can be rough getting it back down without the water.

UP IN SMOKE... 07-06-2009 09:51 PM

Thanks for your input. I will let you know how i make out.

UP IN SMOKE... 07-06-2009 09:55 PM

I just think that is has to be more than just convenience. I just think the water/steam add to the flavor and moisture? what does sand add?? I'm interested too try the sand now.

Saiko 07-06-2009 10:08 PM

I wrap the waterpan of my WSM in foil, fill with sand, then put a final layer of heavy duty aluminum foil over the sand. There are a few reasons that some people use sand. One, it acts as a consistent heat sink.

The same reason that a freezer filled with food will stay cooler much better than an empty freezer, the extra mass will eventually catch up to whatever temperature it is exposed to and act as a "buffer". When the fuel temperature increases or decreases, the temperature at the cooking grate won't change as much due to this huge mass of sand (or water) that has a stable temperature.

The second reason is ease of clean up. You just peel off the top layer of foil covering the sand, throw it away, and replace it. A lot of people feel that most of the moisture in a smoker is released by the meat, and a pan filled with water does not contribute much to the equation.

Final reason is you don't have to worry about refilling the water pan. It's totally up to you though, if you like using water in the water pan there is no reason to stop.

RDOwens 07-06-2009 10:22 PM

The water pan is a heat sink. What material it is does not matter as long as it holds the heat consistently. Water, ironically, in a water pan does not hold the heat consistently. As the water evaporates from the heat, it becomes less efficient.

Enter other materials. Saiko uses sand. I wrap the pan as he does. Instead of then filling with sand, I place a clay flower pot base in the pan. It too is wrapped in hd foil. I then wrap the pan and the flower pot base in another layer of foil. That is the one sheet that is removed after the cook and discarded.

It provides the same effect as sand, without the possible mess of sand getting on food.

I have never used water in my WSM.

B4 clicking reply, I see I just used more words to say the same thing Rich Parker did. Oh well . . .

Good luck!

gooose53 07-07-2009 08:42 AM


Originally Posted by UP IN SMOKE... (Post 966607)
I just think that is has to be more than just convenience. I just think the water/steam add to the flavor and moisture? what does sand add?? I'm interested too try the sand now.

As you can see by the other posts it really is for convenience. I didn't do as great a job in explaining as some of the other folks did but the jest of the method and reasoning was there. As I said, experiment with both and see what you like because that's what the most have to be happy with what you do and results you get. Good luck!!

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