Originally Posted by Bludawg
I don't practice safe BBQ I smoke with no protection no matter the equipment. Back in the day they used to call it Fire Management synonymous with the title Pit Master. All it's a work around for the masses to get a result and in some cases make up for a poor design. All the BS about it adding flavor & moisture to your food is well BS. It does require you to cook longer using twice as much fuel to get the same result compared to taking what the pit gives you and working with it. Others don't share this opinion and that is like my answer an opinion.
My only experience is with a virtual WSM (Kettle + Cajun Bandit). But the only reason I can see for the water pan besides being a diffuser is temp regulation. Period. The water itself remains at 212 degrees and makes for a very good heat sink, helping regulate the cooking temp. Getting the pit up to temp is a fuel waster as you point out though. I'll often cook without the water and just use the pan covered with foil. As to the moisture of the meat, it makes absolutely no difference in my experience. Either you cooked the meat correctly, or you didn't.
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