Originally Posted by JonM106
I tried it once on a cool fall day (low 50s/upper 40s) and breezy, and I could not get the temp above 150 or so, even with a full load of coals and a DigiQ running constantly. I can't say for sure that the empty water pan was the culprit, but now I fill it 2/3 of the way with playground sand and block the wind. Temp holds steady, even in single-digit temps.
My thought is that, once it is a temp, the sand (or water) is a big 250 degree thing that helps to regulate the temp inside the smoker.
EDIT: I bet I could get away with no pan in, say, July when the outside temps are nice and warm.
Wind is the biggest issue for the most part for the WSM in my experience. Once I moved it into an area blocked from wind it doesn't change temps at all now. Sand I'm kind of back and forth on. Only used it a few times, and it seemed like it took forever to get hot, but once it did get hot it got HOT. I used it for smoking a turkey. Haven't bothered with it since I just prop the door open now, even though I can't do the upside door trick like the older model doors can do.