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Do I need a water pan in my pellet smoker?

ajstrider

New member
Hello everyone, I just bought my first pellet smoker yesterday, a Traeger with the digital temperature control and am excited to use it. I am use to smoking on my Weber Kettle grill so this thing should be a big improvement in ease of use. But I am used to putting a water pan in the kettle grill to keep moisture up but I see no real mention of this in pellet smoking. Is there no need for a water pan in the pellet smoker? And if there is, where do you guys put it because there is not a whole lot of room between the drip pan and grill grate in my Traeger. And if not, why do the wood pellets keep moisture up better?

Thank you
Andy
 

Big Poppa

Administrator
It is something that I use from time to time....more as a heat sync on charcoal cookers....you can with the trager it comes down to personal preference....try two cooks and see which you prefer
 

squirtthecat

New member
I sometimes smoke over a pan of liquid (usually beer) if I'm doing corned beef, pastrami, etc. Otherwise, not so much.

Like BP said. Do a rack of ribs with and without, and see what comes out better.
 

CarterQ

Moderator
I've been using one with larger cuts lately (brisket and butts) Can't tell much difference in the cooks but it has been nice having the water pan catch a lot of the grease and keeping grill clean up simple.
 

ajstrider

New member
Where do you guys put the water pan when you use it though, I am used to placing it under the meat but that doesn't seem very viable here. Has anyone ever just removed the grease trap and put a drip pan underneath the meat they are cooking to catch the grease?
 

KyNola

Member
Where do you guys put the water pan when you use it though, I am used to placing it under the meat but that doesn't seem very viable here. Has anyone ever just removed the grease trap and put a drip pan underneath the meat they are cooking to catch the grease?
I wouldn't recommend removing the "grease trap" at all. You're going to have a lot fire blowing around underneath and if you are off by an inch in placing a drip pan you are setting yourself up for one big grease fire. If you feel like you want to use a water pan, either buy an after market upper grill rack that will fit your Traeger and place the meat on it and the water pan underneath on the main cooking surface or place the water pan on the cooking surface and then place some sort of cooling rack(like used for baking cookies) directly on top of the water pan and place the meat there. Or, just set a small pan of water off to the side of the main cooking grate and place your meat directly on the cooking surface too. I don't use a water pan. Haven't found a need for one.
 

squirtthecat

New member
Where do you guys put the water pan when you use it though, I am used to placing it under the meat but that doesn't seem very viable here. Has anyone ever just removed the grease trap and put a drip pan underneath the meat they are cooking to catch the grease?

These guys are cooking with MAKs, which have an upper rack available.

In my Traeger, I invert a rack from my Bradley smoker over a 1/2 steam table pan. Let me find a picture.

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DSC01314.JPG
 
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ajstrider

New member
Alright, I have a few spare grill racks and such that I think I can make this work on when I want to try a water pan. Probably a good call on NOT removing the grease trap too.
 

TentHunter

Moderator
Do you need a water pan? No, it's really a personal choice.

I firmly believe that humidity aids in better smoke penetration and a better smoke ring (if you even care about the smoke ring). Since the smoke particulates responsible for smell & flavor as well as Nitrogen Dioxide (responsible for the smoke ring) are all water soluble it just makes sense to me.

Do I always use a water pan? No. It depends on what I'm cooking and the ambient humidity level. If it's a really humid day, I may forgo the water pan, but when the air is dry, for longer cooks, I usually use some kind of a water pan, even if it's just a tin can or two filled with hot water and placed wherever they can fit.

Like the others said, experiment and see which works for you on different kinds of cooks.

That's my 2¢
 

sparky

New member
i use one when i cook butts and briskets. the meat is in there so long for those cooks. water pan keeps the meat happy.
 

dfranklin58

New member
new water pan for traeger grills

Hey all well I also am new to pellet smokeing used to a brinkman gas fired tower smoker and a gas grill.
that being said
learning curve is needed here(lol) I also have water pan questions so I came here got a few idea and the rest is history attached is my water pan conversion I made for my traeger grill.

ive got to edit my pictures they are to big ! lol
so ill post them when I get home tonight
 
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Kennyz33

New member
Do you need a water pan? No, it's really a personal choice.

I firmly believe that humidity aids in better smoke penetration and a better smoke ring (if you even care about the smoke ring). Since the smoke particulates responsible for smell & flavor as well as Nitrogen Dioxide (responsible for the smoke ring) are all water soluble it just makes sense to me.

Do I always use a water pan? No. It depends on what I'm cooking and the ambient humidity level. If it's a really humid day, I may forgo the water pan, but when the air is dry, for longer cooks, I usually use some kind of a water pan, even if it's just a tin can or two filled with hot water and placed wherever they can fit.

Like the others said, experiment and see which works for you on different kinds of cooks.

That's my 2¢


Very Helpful!!! Thanks!
 

cowolter

New member
There was a discussion on the Yoder fan page on FB and if you use a water pan on a Yoder pellet smoker you stand the chance of disrupting the air flow and possibly causing the controller to make incorrect readings. One thing about the Yoder is that they have tested all different methods and when they suggest not to do something, they know what they are talking about.

I came from a Char-Broil gasser https://cozzy.org/best-gas-grill-under-300straight to a Yoder YS640 and it took me about 6 months to finally get my cooks down. I used Yoder's support people a lot and learned that no matter what, if Herb from Yoder tells me the best way to do something, you can bet your a$$ I am going to follow his suggestion. I stopped foiling the deflector plate, I found that best place for the damper and have not moved it in more than a year, I stopped worrying what my Maverick pit temp reading was and trusted the controller. I still monitor the pit temp since Iran the thing out of pellets once and didn't have the pit probe in....lesson learned.
 
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