Originally Posted by Wyley
You mentioned that you fill the water pan with HOT water. Is that HOT as in BOILING HOT. If not then you are using much of your heat energy further heating the HOT water that you start with to boiling. That could be why your fuel consumption is so high at the beginning. If you are going to use a water pan then you should start with boiling water and if you need to add more you should use boiling water for that also.
I've heard that a few times now, but it hasn't quite clicked for me. I used cold water when I started my WSM, and it was up to temp very fast - everytime.
I understand that it takes energy to heat the water. That's the whole point of adding the water: it acts as a damper to the fluctuations of the cooking chamber temp. My 18" WSM has a 3 gallon bowl in it, and the Backwoods Party takes about 3 gallons as well. I don't see it taking longer to heat 3 gallons of nearly scalding hot water in the party than it takes to heat 3 gallons of cold-to-luke-warm water in the WSM. I think it has to do with the insulation of the Backwood's chambers.
I agree absolutely that the hotter the water is when it's added, the quicker the chamber will come up to temp. I'm sure you guys have way more experience with these smokers than I do. I just have to get it to make sense for me. I'm sure in a few more cooks I'll start to see how the process is really working.