Jump to content

Sand in the water pan?


Jason Batters
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi Jason

The water/sand tray in the bullet smoker is predominantly there for temperature control. It helps smooth out any heat spikes from the fire before it reaches the food in the cooking chamber. I use water if I am smoking at about 110 C but I use sand if I am cooking hotter so as to avoid refilling. To be honest though I don't notice any difference in the end result for the food when using water or sand.

If you are smoking something for a longtime that will drip fat or juices then sand is the cleaner option. Meat juices in the water pan when it dries out can make a real mess in the bowl. If you are using sand then you can just throw the top layer out and replace it with clean sand next time.

If using sand you do need to make sure that you are using a washed sand as some of the builders sands can have quite a strong smell. Something like play pit sand or kiln dried sand are ideal.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks wade. I figured the water didn't really add any moisture to a cook.

Do you think sand or water helps keep the temp down best? I had sand in the other day and was struggling to get temp up to where I needed, so took the tray out and it leapt 40F immediately at the cooking surface level. Had the other problem then of closing all the vents down to keep temp low. 

Fire/temp management is fun!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jason

The water/sand bowl is not really about keeping the temperature down - the air control over the coals does this. It is more about evening out the heat that is produced by the fire before it reaches the cooking chamber. The sand acts like the bricks in a storage heater - absorbing heat from underneath and then radiating it back out again. The water will actually absorb some of the heat though as it turns from water into water vapour giving additional stability which is why I use water when I am cooking at the lower temperatures.

As well as acting as a heat buffer the water bowl will also act as a baffle reflecting a lot of the direct heat from the coals. This leaves the circulating hot air to heat the cooking chamber. When you take out the water bowl you will then get the radiating heat from the coals reaching the cooking grate directly and so it is not surprising that you saw the 40 F rise.

Yes learning the quirks of temperature management in your different smokers can be a challenge at first. Patience is important though when bringing it up to temperature and it is important to resist the temptation to keep opening up the lid. One thing to remember is that it is easier to raise the temperature than it is to lower it again after it has overshot.

:5980a344e6cd3_ThumbsUp:

Wade

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the by products of the combustion of the fuel is water and so there is already a lot of moisture in the form of water vapour passing through the cooking chamber with the smoke. I have tried cooking with and without water in the water pan and have noticed no real difference. I guess it could depend on what you are cooking and how it is being cooked. Larger slabs of meat I will usually foil after about 3 hours so the moisture content in the smoker is not really an issue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
  • 2 years later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I will tell everyone to ditch the water pan every time. 
Get a 2-3 mm steel disc to replace. I will never go back to a water pan in my wsm.. in fact I have just ordered a disc for my newly acquired callow.

 I honestly don’t think a water pan adds anything but trouble to a smoker.

A thick disc is a very reliable heat sink and keeps temps incredibly stable, ok it takes a while to heat up but can be assisted via blow torch or even cooker ring if you’re in such a rush.( need good gloves ) Doesn’t need cleaning either 😉 unless you wanna preheat on your cooker I guess, never done it myself.

Today I cooked 2 brisket joints of around £12 each size on my wsm .. took around 9 hours but as a last minute thing I cooked some cheese and chilli stuffed mushrooms with barely any charcoal left due to the disc holding it’s heat.

Cooked great.

 I add fluid via sprays and brush on sauces, never let me down yet!!

I think a lot of this water pan stuff is an American over the top thing as I’ve not found any reason to need it in quit a few years of bbq’ ing.

It’s all about learning your equipment and doing what works for you!!!

 

But then I’m an idiot that knows nothing but cooks great bbq for me and mine multiple times a week 😉

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Im using a 1.5 mm stainless steel baffle across the bottom of my offset, varying the gaps , it held heat well and the variation from left to right was only 5'f  which is the best so far. 

And our £7.0 brisket came out ok, only used 3 chimneys full of bricket/lumpwood mix over 8hours 

And the temp dropped a lot slower than without the baffle plates👍

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Gaza the Instructor said:

first cook tomorrow with a heat shield on the WSM also insulated door and top.

Most of all using a Tip Top Temp jobbie let you know. 

Why the insulation? Just curious..

I have the mid sized WSM and have changed nothing other than the heat sink (disc) today’s cook used just over half a bag of heat beads approx 2-2.5 kilo.

Hear a lot of problems regarding door but mine seems fine as is 🤷‍♂️

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...