Where To Place Water Pan In Offset Smoker

Your smoker is as level as possible so that you may place your pan in the proper location. Additionally, confirming that you’re cooking at the appropriate temperature is crucial. Set up and plug in your smoker once it is prepared. Set the heat to medium-high immediately, and wait for it to warm up for around 15 minutes. Afterward, take a cup and put it in the smoker’s bottom. The water level should be approximately one inch below the top of the firebox hole.

Where to place water pan in an offset smoker

Place a piece of aluminum foil over this pan to prevent water from leaking or spilling when you start smoking. You don’t want your meat or food to end up in this moist area because they won’t be able to receive enough smoke from there!

Additional Resources:

Visit our post on the “Best Offset Smoker” for additional details on how to select the best offset smoker for your requirements. It offers insightful commentary and suggestions to support your decision-making. We Also reviewed budget-friendly Offset smokers under 500. Have a read and go for the Best option that fulfills your needs and requirements.


Despite being called a water pan, you may put just about anything within as long as it doesn’t present a risk.

Don’t place anything that could catch fire or release toxic gases in the pan. To give their meat a little more taste, some people like to add apple juice, cider, or other fruit juices to the pan.

Additionally, you may use wine, beer, or even broth. Some individuals like to add herbs or spices to give the water a better taste. These items will undoubtedly make your meat smell fantastic while you smoke it. There are a few reasons, though, why they might not successfully transfer flavor.

Many of the fragrant compounds in these solutions won’t evaporate at the smoker’s low temperature. As a result, they won’t be taken into the smoker chamber and won’t have a chance to cling to the meat. Even if they do vaporize, these substances are more likely to condense on the chilly surfaces of the smoker chamber before they can contact the meat. This implies that they won’t be able to spread their flavor again.

The water-soluble substances will land on a greasy surface before evaporating and reaching your meat. The water-based tastes won’t penetrate the fatty meat surface since oil and water don’t interact.

For these reasons, I advise merely filling the water pan with water.

Instead of adding apple juice or flavorings to the water pan is preferable to add extra flavor to your smoked meats via a rub, sauce, or injection. These techniques will guarantee that the flavors have an opportunity to permeate the meat rather than simply dripping off the surface.

Where To Place Water Pan In Offset Smoker

The ideal location for water pans in a smoker is up for discussion.

It is frequently advised to place it over the smoker’s hotter area, which is typically close to the flame. More steam will be produced; as a result, increasing heat production. However, if you do so, you must keep an eye on the pan to ensure it stays whole and doesn’t boil over. 

The center of the smoker, underneath the meat in the cooking chamber, is another placement choice. The temperature will be maintained steadily, more radiant heat will be produced, and the meat won’t cook through too soon on the bottom.

While allowing the hot water vapor to condense and mix with the smoke before it hits the meat, it also provides easy cleanup advantages of a drip pan.


Here are mentions some reasons you should use a water pan.

It gives the meat more taste

Additionally serving as a flavor enhancer, the water pans give your smoked meats a deeper, richer flavor.

This is because smoke flavor molecules from the pan are carried by the hot water vapor and steam emitted into the smoker.

Then, these molecules adhere to the flesh and add a layer of flavor.

It facilitates easier cleanup

Utilizing water pans also makes cleanup simpler, which is a fantastic benefit. It serves as a drip pan, even though that is not its primary purpose.

The grease from your meat can drip into the water pans if the water pans are positioned appropriately rather than coating your smoker. You will have to scrub less when it’s time to clean the water pan and the smoker. Although read out how to clean smoker for more details about cleaning and caring.

As a result, the flavor is more prosperous and smokier than if the meat were just smoked.

It prevents Meat From Drying Out

Although increasing the humidity won’t provide your meat with any additional moisture, it will assist keep it from drying out. This is because objects lose water in low-humidity areas. The cooking chamber can be made more humid to lessen this effect. A lot of pitmasters tend their chicken with tin foil at BBQ competitions. Since chicken is lean meat, overcooking it can cause it to dry out.

To stop moisture loss, pitmasters tend their chicken with tin foil, raising the kitchen’s humidity level. 

The meat is prepared more evenly

You can place water pans underneath the meat rack to disperse heat more evenly.

Cooking will proceed more consistently because the water in the pan will absorb and reflect heat more uniformly across the cooking chamber.

A water pan will be handy if you cook many meat racks or if your smoker has hot patches from an inconsistent heat source.

The water pans can offer indirect heat by obstructing the flame to avoid flare-ups and stopping hot and cold spots from forming on the meat.

Smoking larger chunks of meat, such as brisket or hog shoulder, produces more evenly cooked meat, which is crucial.

It keeps the meat juicy

Water pans’ wet cooking environment helps keep the meat juicy and tender.

When the water in the water pans reaches boiling, steam is released into the smoker.

This water vapor helps to maintain the meat’s moisture by generating humidity inside the smoker.

Additionally, some water vapor drips onto the meat, providing evaporative cooling and allowing additional time to render and melt the lipids and connective fibers.

Additionally, adding moisture to the chamber, the indirect heat’s falling water vapor disperses smoke and fumes onto the meat.

It helps in controlling the smoker’s temperature

Everyone knows that the key to excellent smoking is to cook slowly over low heat, and I prefer to smoke food between 225 and 250 °F [1].

However, since we are working with fire, retaining the heat source at the proper level is not always straightforward.

The role of a water pan is here. Because the water in that pan reaches boiling point at 212°F, it never rises over that temperature.

Like sweating helps a person cool off, the water evaporates away and cools the smoker.

Compared to air, water transmits heat more slowly and efficiently. As a result, the water pan functions as a heat sink, absorbing heat that would otherwise cause the smoker to become excessively hot.

Additionally, since the smoker will radiate heat upwards if the temperature drops, opening it results in less cooling.

It helps to create a more even smoke

A water pan can make your meat’s ring more uniform. This is due to the water pan’s ability to control the smoker’s humidity and maintain a higher moisture level.

Delaying the formation of the BBQ bark will aid in the construction of a smoke ring that is more constant.

More smoke and sodium nitrite can seep into the meat and build up the ring from the inside out due to the condensation of water vapor from smoker water pans on the meat.

When not to use a water pan?

There are a few situations where you might not want to use a water pan in your offset smoker:

  • Water pans work best at low, moderate cooking temperatures, usually between 225 and 275°F, while cooking at high heat. It may evaporate too quickly if you are cooking at higher degrees, which might lead to temperature swings and make it more challenging to maintain a steady cooking environment.
  • When preparing fatty meats: When preparing fatty meats, such as pork shoulder or brisket, the fat will act as a natural basting ingredient. In this situation, adding a water pan may not be essential because the fat will keep the meat moist and tender.
  • When smoking cheese or other delicate items, such as fish or vegetables, the water in the pan may create an excessive amount of humidity, resulting in the food being mushy or soggy. It’s recommended to smoke the meal without a water pan in this situation.


You can easily clean the water pan once you’ve finished smoking. This is especially true if the pan had previously been lined with aluminum foil.

The fats and drippings in the pan should have solidified by the time it has had time to cool down. If not, adding a few ice cubes or cold water to the pan should quicken things.

The solid fat can then be disposed of in the trash. The remaining liquids can either be distributed among some shrubs in your garden or put into empty milk bottles and thrown away.

Some people will flush the water down the drain or sink, but any lingering fat could clog the pipes.

And lastly, if you lined the pan with foil, the ball was up and threw it away. Just give the pan a brisk scrub with hot, soapy water to finish your cleanup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Over the heat source, there is a water pan. This pan would go over the coals using a charcoal grill or charcoal/wood smoker. Place the pan over the heating element if your appliance is electric. On an LP/Gas grill, a water pan would go over the lighted burners if you wanted to add one.

Put 2 to 3 In the water pan, put several liters of water, beer, apple juice, or wine. Suppose you’re using a smoker. Then, the drippings can collect by setting a drip pan on the cooking grate’s base that contains a small amount of water.

When smoking ribs, a water pan should be used. By doing so, you’ll be able to control the grill’s temperature and shield your food from the flames’ intense heat. But more significantly, it will enhance the smoking process and make your ribs deliciously sticky.


Once more, utilizing a water pan in a smoker is a topic of much dispute. I’ve listed some situations where you might think about using one, but Giving is the best thing you can do. It is a try and decides whether you want to start using one. It will help if you put it over the smoker’s hotter section, which is usually near the flame. As a result, more steam will be generated, boosting heat production. But if you do, watch the pan to ensure it doesn’t boil over and stays filled. That is the main focus of cooking! Trying out many options to see where to place the water pan in offset smokers and tell us what you like most among them.

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