PDA

View Full Version : Question about running an empty water pan


WHS88
02-04-2017, 01:29 PM
I have a verticle cabinet smoker with a drop in water pan. My first few cooks I've put water in the pan, but I'm not real happy with the bark I'm getting. Everything is "wet." I want to run the cooker with no water in the pan. Will it damage the pan if I run it empty? I do have a heat deflector between the fire and the pan. If I take the pan out is it going to allow too much heat to get in the cabinet? Seems like I've seen people putting fire brick wrapped in foil in the pan or even sand. Any and all help appreciated.

Jason TQ
02-04-2017, 02:10 PM
I'd see what humpreys says about it in terms of extra wear on the cooker if not used how intended. I know backwoods recommend water in the pan since well, it is designed to be a water cooker :-D. Mine's drop in as too. I have run it with no water in the pan and cooked around 400. Temps can get hot quick with no water, but mine still dials into what I want. But I only tried no water a half dozen times.

qnbiker
02-04-2017, 02:15 PM
Yes, you can run it with no water. If you do, wrap it in foil for easy clean-up. As for fire bricks, sand, etc., people use them in place of the water as a heat sink to help control temperatures.

WHS88
02-04-2017, 02:30 PM
Yes, you can run it with no water. If you do, wrap it in foil for easy clean-up. As for fire bricks, sand, etc., people use them in place of the water as a heat sink to help control temperatures.

Is that really needed if you have a heat deflector?

wayne77
02-04-2017, 03:03 PM
I have a verticle cabinet smoker with a drop in water pan. My first few cooks I've put water in the pan, but I'm not real happy with the bark I'm getting. Everything is "wet." I want to run the cooker with no water in the pan. Will it damage the pan if I run it empty? I do have a heat deflector between the fire and the pan. If I take the pan out is it going to allow too much heat to get in the cabinet? Seems like I've seen people putting fire brick wrapped in foil in the pan or even sand. Any and all help appreciated.


The water pan shouldn't make your food wet. How cold is it outside when you cook and at what temp are you cooking? If it's cold out and you're cooking at 225 the humphreys tend to get a ton of condensation built up. When it's cold let it run around 275 and I'd bet that solves your problem.

WHS88
02-04-2017, 04:09 PM
The water pan shouldn't make your food wet. How cold is it outside when you cook and at what temp are you cooking? If it's cold out and you're cooking at 225 the humphreys tend to get a ton of condensation built up. When it's cold let it run around 275 and I'd bet that solves your problem.

First cook, it was cold (in the teens) and I ran the smoker at about 250. Next two smokes it was cool, but not cold. Again, ran at about 250. When I say wet, I don't feel like I'm getting a good bark on my meat. Taste and tenderness are perfect. You can see condensation on the inside of the smoker during the cook. I have my valve and chimney set the way Chad recommended when I talked to him. My ball valve is about 1/4 open and my chimney is about 1/3 open. I meant to call Chad yesterday, but didn't get to it. What would happen if I wrap the top of the water pan in foil and poke some holes in the foil? You think that would reduce the condensation?

Jason TQ
02-04-2017, 04:26 PM
First cook, it was cold (in the teens) and I ran the smoker at about 250. Next two smokes it was cool, but not cold. Again, ran at about 250. When I say wet, I don't feel like I'm getting a good bark on my meat. Taste and tenderness are perfect. You can see condensation on the inside of the smoker during the cook. I have my valve and chimney set the way Chad recommended when I talked to him. My ball valve is about 1/4 open and my chimney is about 1/3 open. I meant to call Chad yesterday, but didn't get to it. What would happen if I wrap the top of the water pan in foil and poke some holes in the foil? You think that would reduce the condensation?

It's a water cooker so the "bark" will be different and softer. I got ribs rolling right now on my bw and they are very different than my stickburner. Unless you run it dry it will most time have a softer bark. I doubt your foil idea will affect it much, but you could try.

Jason TQ
02-04-2017, 04:33 PM
As an illustration here is a rack from today after 3hrs on my bw chubby and is clearly soft
http://i.imgur.com/8Z7qluYl.jpg

And here is a rack on my stickburner after about 2.5hrs. Less time and the bark is much more firm and "bark like" because of the dryer environment
http://i.imgur.com/aAQS0jQl.jpg

The vertical cabinet water smoker put out awesome stuff, but it will be different than other smokers.

KevinJ
02-04-2017, 04:52 PM
That top rack Jason looks pretty darn good to me. :thumb:

Jason TQ
02-04-2017, 05:12 PM
That top rack Jason looks pretty darn good to me. :thumb:

Thanks. It's all just personal preference. I like them both ways :-D.

qnbiker
02-04-2017, 05:25 PM
Is that really needed if you have a heat deflector?The foil is if it's dripped on, like in the WSM, not to protect it from heat.

WHS88
02-04-2017, 05:30 PM
Thanks Jason. I've got six racks going on tomorrow for the game. Guess I'm gonna roll with the water until I can talk to Chad. Like I said, everything that has come off that smoker has great taste and tenderness, just not that crusty bark. Do you normally follow the same kind of cook times? I assume so seeing you're cooking at the same temps. My other cooks so far have been about the same. If anything, my butts have maybe cooked a little faster on this smoker.

WHS88
02-04-2017, 05:31 PM
By the way Jason, both sets of your ribs look pretty darn good to me! If I can get these tomorrow looking like that, I'll be pretty happy!

Jason TQ
02-04-2017, 05:38 PM
Thanks Jason. I've got six racks going on tomorrow for the game. Guess I'm gonna roll with the water until I can talk to Chad. Like I said, everything that has come off that smoker has great taste and tenderness, just not that crusty bark. Do you normally follow the same kind of cook times? I assume so seeing you're cooking at the same temps. My other cooks so far have been about the same. If anything, my butts have maybe cooked a little faster on this smoker.

Ya normally cook times are about the same. For a while I thought my BW cooked a little faster, but I haven't done too many statistical analysis :loco:. My friends never complain about lack of bark when doing ribs on my BW vs when they are on my shirley.

pjtexas1
02-04-2017, 07:01 PM
I never run water in either of my insulated cabinets. I use a heat diverter and foil the water pan if I'm not cooking in pans. Bark is a little better without water. I do find that the insulated cabinet cooks quicker. I find it cooks a lot quicker if the meat is really cold. You could replace the pan with a sheet of flat steel. I did that in my red box smoker.

cfrazier77
02-04-2017, 07:53 PM
I have a Humphrey's with a slide in water pan. I run it dry half the time, depends on what I am cooking. I have no problems with maintaining temp with or without water. I would check with Chad on the drop in before doing it just to be safe.

jsperk
02-04-2017, 08:10 PM
I asked and Humphrey's about running dry they said it's fine. I do put ceramic pieces in mine for a heat sink. I also have the heat diverter.

WHS88
02-06-2017, 06:38 PM
The water pan shouldn't make your food wet. How cold is it outside when you cook and at what temp are you cooking? If it's cold out and you're cooking at 225 the humphreys tend to get a ton of condensation built up. When it's cold let it run around 275 and I'd bet that solves your problem.

Wayne, I think you may have nailed it. Yesterday was my first cook in warm weather. Temps were mid to upper 60's during cook. I did every this the same as usual and I didn't have condensation. From your experience it sounds like I may need to up my temps on cold day cooks. Thanks!

wayne77
02-06-2017, 06:47 PM
I'm glad you've got it figured out and happy I could help.