No problem...the bottom rack is definitely hotter without the water. Its pretty even with water in the pan. It gets the "juice smoke" in there pretty good with the drippings. However, you need to realize that fire is right under that drip pan and so if it hits the bottom, it turns to carbon and can make it bitter. I've never cooked on a drum and don't even think I've ate off of one. I'm not sure I can answer your question.
LBGE, Traeger 075, Pitmaker Vault on LT-1 Trailer