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Old 11-14-2012, 11:00 AM   #16
neuyawk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickenchoker View Post
With water in the pan I am able to keep solid at 230-250 degrees for the length of the cook with very little tweaking but cannot get any higher temp than 250. With the foil lined saucer I can vary my cooking temps from 230-300 degrees with very minor tweaking of the vents all the way up to full open.
Ah so that would explain why it's such a pain to get it real hot with the water. I've been trying to get her up past 270 for a while and it was a royal pain. I guess I'm gonna try it without the water this week.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:45 PM   #17
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When using sand, do you dump it after each cook? cover it with foil? I'm thinking otherwise the drippings would make it nasty.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:38 PM   #18
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I am an empty pan type. I used water the first couple of times but went dry once and never turned back. I have found the WSM is just as stable without water and it gives me a wider range of temps to work with. The only issue I might have problems with would be lower temps for cold smoking. Then I would probably add water to the pan.

For the ones wanting to use water and cannot get the higher temps. There is a mod out there that props your firebox door open and that will help with the higher temps with water.

SPRFree - As far as the sand I have never done it but I am pretty sure they cover it with foil after they have added it to the pan.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:48 PM   #19
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When I got my first of three WSM's I decided I was going to learn it the way it was designed to be used, with water. That lasted about 4 or 5 cooks. The I moved on to sand in the pan, that lasted probably about two years. From there I went to the terra cotta pan inside the water pan (and still use that in my 18 1/2's) but in my 22 I have settled on no water, no sand, no terra cotta pan, I use just an empty foiled water pan and control my temps on the way up and really haven't looked back. I found no distinct advantage to any method over the empty foiled pan so why bother...

As far as the rust on the charcoal grate, I wouldn't worry about it, just brush it off and if it's too bad just go buy another one, they're fairly cheap.
I did the same thing. Using water in the bowl is a bit of a safety valve against high temperatures, but after you cook a few times and learn how to control the temps (which is very easy) you will find water is not needed. I just foil wrap my bowl.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:55 PM   #20
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It's only a safety valve against high temps if you consider cooking at 300 degrees a failure. It's not failing at all no matter what some so called experts say. Using water with kingsford, it's difficult if not impossible to maintain 300+ in a WSM or UDS. So any type of hot n fast cook is out of the question.

Now if you feel you can't make good BBQ cooking at higher temps, water is for you. For me, it's a waste of fuel energy in any cooker.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
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It's only a safety valve against high temps if you consider cooking at 300 degrees a failure. It's not failing at all no matter what some so called experts say. Using water with kingsford, it's difficult if not impossible to maintain 300+ in a WSM or UDS. So any type of hot n fast cook is out of the question.

Now if you feel you can't make good BBQ cooking at higher temps, water is for you. For me, it's a waste of fuel energy in any cooker.
That was not my intended point at all. I was referring to higher than target temps.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:51 PM   #22
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I'm running a Cajun Bandit modded 22.5 kettle and have been wondering about this whole question since I started using it this summer. The CB uses a large pan like the WSM, and I've always run it with water.

I've heard/read all of the suggestions here before, but still left with this... When I cook 4 packers or 6 butts in it, I end up with several cups of fat combined with meat juice and rub in the water pan - if/when I've let the pan run out of water, the fat burns (I don't like that flavor on my meat) and sticks to the pan really bad. If I just foil line the pan, won't I still have the same problem of fat burning (clean up would be easier tho)

how does everyone prevent fat from burning? if you use foiled sand, eventually the sand will come up to temp and burn the fat, right?
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:08 PM   #23
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I've used them all. I've settled on the terra cotte pot base. Allows for low and slow and hot and fast. Easy to clean (pull it out, scrape with paint scraper). I drilled a small hole in the bottom of my water pan that lets anything that accumulates there drain out.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:29 PM   #24
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I have been wondering about this myself. I always use water, but want to try going without. Will there be a tendancy for less stablization in temperatures?

Is the advantage of going without water being able to use less coal per hour?

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Old 11-14-2012, 05:04 PM   #25
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Greazy, it's all about catching temps on the way up and closing the supply of air to the coals at the right point. It's easy to cruise at 250 with no water, just have to know the right time throttle air intake. Lump will run hotter, so you close it off a bit earlier, briqs not so hot, so you can get away with cutting the air later in the process (and not close intakes quite as much).

On the issue with grease burning in the pan, people will place a terra cotta pan wrapped in foil on top of the empty foil wrapped water pan, so there is a buffer of air to keep the grease buildup from burning. Heck you could try putting some sand in the water pan, then stack the terra cotta pot on top for more of a buffer. Either way, it'll work better than a huge arse pan of water.
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:12 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neuyawk View Post
Ah so that would explain why it's such a pain to get it real hot with the water. I've been trying to get her up past 270 for a while and it was a royal pain. I guess I'm gonna try it without the water this week.
I used water for my very first cook and it was fine. Next cook, couldn't get it up high enough, so I dumped the water out. Made a helluva difference. Made a mess of the bowl, too

Third cook, I put foil wrapped saucer in. Better, still messy. Bought a wide roll of foil and put a new sheet on before every cook.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:43 PM   #27
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I also tried a few different things to replace the water. I couldn't find a clay saucer big enough at any of the hardware stores and I seemed to be spastic about adjusting the vents using sand and I didn't want to use just a foiled pan because I wanted just a little more of a barrier between the grates and the fire but I do work in a fab shop and had one of the laser operators cut me a disk from 1/8th steel which fits inside my bowl, I just foil over it and for me it works better than anything else I tried, but catching the temps on the way up and being patient for the temps to stabalize between adjustments is really the key.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:50 PM   #28
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I used water the first year I had my 18 1/2" WSM. I now have a 22 1/2" model as well. I use a foiled clay flower pot base in the foiled water pan in both WSMs. I find it much better.

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Old 11-14-2012, 07:05 PM   #29
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i water the first couple of times, then went dry. i cook hot n fast most of the time, so not being able to get the temp above 270 was frustrating. haven't tried sand or a pot base and probably won't.
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