where to place water pan in offset smoker

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Last Updated on: 19th October 2022, 02:42 pm

Smoking meat is one of the easiest ways to enjoy delicious, flavorful dishes. With so many types of smokers on the market today, it can be difficult to know which smoker will better suit your needs.

However, there are a few things that every smoker has in common; they all need fuel and they all need a water pan.

The water pan is an important component for any smoker because it helps regulate the temperature and avoids overshooting of temperature due to sudden burning of charcoal.

If you’re looking for an efficient way to smoke meat, then check out these tips for where to place your water pan in an offset smoker.

Where do I put a water pan in my smoker

The best place to place a water pan in an offset smoker is on one side or on both sides of the cooking chamber. Placing a water pan on only one side of your smoker will allow for more space for smoking larger pieces of meat like briskets or pork butts.

water pan,where to place water pan in offset smoker

If you are looking for even more space, then this would be a great option for you! Placing a water pan on both sides of your smoker will help keep things more evenly spaced, allowing less work throughout each section of your smoking process.

Plus, if you are trying to smoke smaller meats like ribs or poultry, then this could work depending on how much space you have available in your smoker.

 If you are having a hard time maintaining a temperature of 225, move the water pan to the opposite side of the cooking chamber.

Once you have mastered the art of smoking meat, try placing your water pan on both sides at once. 

This will help you keep your smoker at a consistent temperature while smoking your best cuts of meat. Just remember to be mindful of rain and humidity.

Especially if you live in a damp or rainy climate, using a water pan can lead to a lot of problems.

The steam that is produced by the water will condense on the lid of your smoker and then drip back down into the cooking chamber, making a wet mess.

Make sure that you clean out your smoker and smokebox every time you use it so that there is not standing water left inside. 

This is a good idea if you are looking to have your meat cooked uniformly. You should dry out the smoking box after every use in order to do so.

You can do this by placing a couple of newspapers inside, lighting them on fire, then dumping them out when they are finished burning.

This will help remove any excess moisture from inside the smoking box and leave your smoker ready for the next time you bring home some meat from the butcher shop.

Now that you know where to place your water pan in an offset smoker, give these tips a try for perfectly smoked meats this summer!

What is a Water Pan?

A water pan is a type of cooking vessel that is placed inside of an oven, such as an offset smoker. It helps regulate the temperature inside of the cooking chamber and provide moisture to the meat being cooked.

water pan where to place water pan in offset smoker.

A water pan can be made out of any material that can hold water, including aluminum and stainless steel. The pan should have a tight seal or covering around it to prevent water from being spilled out.

A water pan is very useful in cooking meats that require some fat or moisture in the cooking process, such as turkeys and whole chickens.

If you put water in the pan of an offset smoker, it will create a moist environment for whatever is being smoked and prevent it from drying out.

An important function of the water pan in an offset smoker is to keep a more consistent temperature inside by acting as a buffer between heat and meat..

The Purpose of a Water Pan in an Offset Smoker

A water pan in an offset smoker serves two primary purposes. A water pan in an offset smoker serves two primary purposes. 

First, it helps regulate the temperature inside of the cooking chamber. The water in the pan evaporates when heated by the firebox which reduces the temperature of the cooking chamber. 

The amount of water in the pan, along with the size of the cooking chamber and where it is located within that chamber, determines how much temperature can be reduced.

Placing a water pan higher in the cooking chamber will allow for more reduction. 

The second purpose of a water pan is to act as a buffer between heat and food. Heat sinks into cold materials resulting in an increase in cooking temperature. This is why adding ice or cold water to hot cast iron skillet will result in the skillet heating up quickly.

The opposite can also be true; if you place a piece of food on top of an ice filled cookie sheet, it will remain very cold for some time due to the heat being drawn from it into the ice at a greater rate than with just air surrounding it.

As long as there is moisture on the surface of food that has been applied with a rub, this setup can withstand much longer cook times without burning than without this buffer present.”

Third, it also catches any drippings that may be emitted from meat while it’s smoking. These drippings are then absorbed back into the meat once they hit the hot surface of the water. This is known as basting and ensures that your meat is tender and moist while it cooks.

What are the Benefits of a Water Pan

 Smoking meat is a slow cooking process that takes hours. The heat source needs to be consistent so that it can slowly cook the meat without drying it out, but there also needs to be enough humidity in the air so that the meat doesn’t dry out.

  • A water pan creates moisture for your smoker by collecting and evaporating water as it cooks. This allows you to control the environment inside of your smoker, making sure that your pork butt cooks evenly and stays moist.
  • The water pan is also used to monitor the temperature of the smoker. The best way to tell if your smoker is operating at the right temperature is by looking at a thermometer placed inside of the water pan.
  • This will tell you if your smoker needs more or less heat so that you can maintain an even temperature for smoking your meat. 
  • A water pan inside of a smoker also gives liquid to your meat as it is cooking, which keeps any part of it from getting dry. If a lot of liquid evaporates off, there will be less moisture in the air, which can dry out some parts of the meat as they cook slower than others.
  • If this happens, some parts will be overdone while other parts are still undercooked, which isn’t very appetizing.
  •  A water pan helps keep this from happening because it gives more liquid to the meat and the air around it.
  • The water pan inside of a smoker is also used to slow down cooking time, giving you more flexibility when it comes to smoking your meat. The higher the temperature in the smoker, the faster your meat will cook
  • A water pan helps give you more consistent and even temperatures throughout your smoker,  which is great for slowing down the cooking process.
  • One thing to keep in mind is that you should drain your water pan of any water before you start smoking. If any liquid from the pan gets on your smoker, it can cause a buildup of rust and the smoke coming from your smoker will be absorbed by the rusty metal. This will ruin your meat and make it taste terrible, so be sure to keep your water pan empty.
  • The water pan can also hold hot coals (for heat) and wood chips (for smoke) for imparting smoky flavor into your meat without adding too much smoke at once.
charcoal pan,where to place water pan in offset smoker

Drawbacks to using water in your smoker

  • Water is crucial for offset smokers; however, it can also become a nuisance. It takes time for the smoker to heat up and cool down with the use of water.
  • It can take up to two hours for smokers to come back down to optimum temperature after smoking less than three hours. That’s because the smoker needs plenty of time to reheat after taking in cold water.
  • Over time salt and other minerals build up in the water pan, making it harder for the water to absorb more smoke.
  • The water dripping down into the charcoal briquettes may create creosote buildup if left to stand long enough.
  • The liquid is less effective than dry chips because it doesn’t give off as much smoke. This can lead to meat that lacks flavor and color.
  • Another drawback is that you will need to monitor the reservoir often. If too much water accumulates in your reservoir, then your smoker will not work properly or efficiently. You will need to dump out the excess water and refill it with fresh, cold water so that it can be heated again.

How do you clean a water pan in a smoker?

If you’ve never cleaned a water pan before, you might be wondering where to place the water pan in an offset smoker. Luckily, it’s not too complicated. Here are the steps to clean a water pan of smokers.

Step 1: Remove the Water Pan from Your Smoker

First, you’ll need to remove the water pan from your smoker. If it’s too heavy for you to move by yourself, try moving it near a wall.

You can then use some tools such as a wooden block and your hands to slide it into a corner. This will make it easier for you to remove the water pan without any hassle.

Step 2: Remove any Ash or Debris that has Built Up on the Bottom of the Water Pan

Since ash sometimes falls into smokers while they are cooking food, long-term smokers often end up with ashes on their water pans. This can be removed by using a wire brush or steel wool and dipping them in hot soapy water.

Make sure that the wire brush or steel wool is very hot before using them otherwise they won’t work well—and especially not on stainless steel pans (which is what most water pans are made of).

Step 3: Drench the Water Pan in Hot Soapy Water

When the ash is gone, you can begin the actual washing of your water pan. To do this you should use hot soapy water. If you don’t have any hot soapy water around you could probably use dish soap and warm tap water (or even cold tap water if there’s no other option).

You can then apply this mixture to every part of the pan that isn’t stainless steel. If your smoker is made out of cast iron or aluminum, then that means every part of it except its stainless steel bottom.

 Make sure the soap gets everywhere on the inside and outside of each cavity, as well as all of the brackets that hold it onto each side of your smoker. This will ensure that all areas are cleaned thoroughly and properly.

You should also make sure to get some gunk off your various joints in between sizes and grates where food may have gotten stuck. If you can get in there, you should be able to scrape it out with a rigid or soft-bristled brush.

Doing this will help ensure that your next smoke will consist of nothing but the great taste of your food, and not the taste of whatever was lurking in your water pan

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

After all the soap is used up you should rinse the pan thoroughly and then dry it off. You can dry it by patting it dry with a microfiber cloth or towel or by placing it on a clean microfiber cloth or towel.

it should be folded several times so as to ensure good air circulation around the bottom of your smoker. It’s important to not use a towel that’s too thin, though.

The reason is that if you do then any remaining water trapped under your smoker might end up being trapped against its surface when you put it back into place over your firebox—which might cause complications.

Should you use Water pan for smoking ribs

The water pan does not play a significant role in the smoking process.  It is mainly for keeping the humidity high for an even temp throughout the smoker. If you don’t have a water pan, it is not necessary to worry.

where to place water pan in offset smoker

 You can get by without the water pan.  The ribs will taste the same either way.  If you insist on using a water pan, then make sure you are using a good quality pan that is specifically made for smoking.

 If you use a regular pan, you will get some rust in your smoker.  If you are using a drip pan, then make sure that you are keeping the level of water at a minimal.  The less water you use, the less chance you have of getting rust in your smoker.

Should you Use water pan when smoking turkey

The answer to this question depends on your cooking skills and on the size of your turkey. It is a good idea to use a water pan when smoking turkey. One of the main reasons why we use a water pan is that it helps maintain more even temperature in the smoker.

smoked turkey

To have even temperature you have to have heat coming in at the bottom and the top at the same time and spread out evenly. This way is the most efficient way to cook anything in a smoker. It also makes it possible to use less fuel to keep the temperature even.

The second reason why we use a water pan is that it helps maintain juiciness and tenderness in the meat. Turkey is a very lean meat and using a water pan will help prevent drying out.

If you don’t have a water pan in your smoker it is a good idea to use a spray bottle to spray the turkey with water during the smoking process.


We hope you enjoyed our blog about where to place a water pan in an offset smoker. We understand that you may have further questions, so please feel free to ask in comments.Thank you for reading, we are always excited when one of our blog posts is able to provide useful information on a topic like this.

Jakob miller
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