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What to put in the water pan?

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Post Wed Jun 30, 2004 10:33 pm

Posts: 12
What seems to work best for you guys when smoking a pork butt? Beer? Apple Cider? What about wine? Does any of it really change the flavor of the pork, or is it just there for the moisture?

Post Wed Jun 30, 2004 10:52 pm
AndyC medium-rare

Posts: 87
Location: Oshkosh, WI

I have always just put water in my water pan. I can't say for certain but I would bet any flavor from your water (or wine/juice/beer) pan is going to be very small at best. All of the big flavors coming from the smoke and spice in your rub is going to take over. If you want to get some extra flavor and moisture, try a spray with wine, juice or beer.
My BBQ/Grilling log -

Post Wed Jun 30, 2004 10:56 pm
smokin' ed medium-well

Posts: 202
Location: Iowa
I agree. I usually only put water in my pan. But, I always put in one other thing - a full can of beer. Don't really know why any more except I have always done it. People have asked me why and I tell them it's an offering to the BBQ gods - LOL - to make my meat come out tasty. So far, it's worked.

Post Thu Jul 01, 2004 9:02 am
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 13157
Location: Texas
Back in the early days of smoking I used to mix up wild concoctions to put in the water pan. But I've noticed with BCC's the liquid in the can wasn't really noticeable in the flavor of the chicken above the rub, smoke & meat flavors. So I started using plain water in the pan and haven't noticed a changed in the flavor of the food. It's also easier to add hot tap water than to warm mixtures to add to the water pan. After's called a water pan. :wink:

Post Thu Jul 01, 2004 3:36 pm
jm42fan well done
well done

Posts: 421
Location: OKlahoma, Yukon

I have seen somewhere, that some people put sand in the water pan. I always thought the water in the water pan was for moisture to the meat. It was said, that the water is more of a barrier between the heat & the meat. Anyone know of this?

Post Thu Jul 01, 2004 3:54 pm
smokyblues well done
well done

Posts: 496
Location: Edmond, Oklahoma
Well, I am finally moving back to Oklahoma. My wife took a job and we are moving back on the 10th. Did you ever take a look at Academy sports for cooking materials? It will be good to be back in the Sooner state, especially this fall to see the Sooners compete for another national title.

I have never heard of sand in the water pan. I always just put water to help moisten up the meet while it cooks.
Weber Performer
Weber One Touch Silver
Oklahoma Joe's 20" Barrel Smoker aka "Betty"

Keep it Smokey

Post Thu Jul 01, 2004 4:13 pm
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
You are correct on all counts. There are people who do use sand to help regulate the heat and control temp spikes. Some people will use bricks or gravel as well. With these methods people tend to mop or spray more often to keep the food moist. Then when done they typically get rid of the sand or stone due to the drippings. Unless of course they use an additional drip pan. Which is the essence of a water pan. It also regulates the temp but also adds some moisture and acts as the drip pan combined. Plus water is cheaper than sand or stone. Some guys don't use anything and just watch their heat very closely.
It all boils down to personal preference.
Hope this helps.

Post Thu Jul 01, 2004 5:21 pm
Bob-BQN User avatar
well done
well done

Posts: 13157
Location: Texas
I've tried the sand for a while and found that water is easier. Of course like G.S. said it's a mess if you don't protect the sand from the drippings.

Post Thu Jul 01, 2004 5:29 pm
BBcue-Z well done
well done

Posts: 3209
Location: Atlanta-GA
Here is a link to an experiment that compares sand vs. water.
I personally never used sand. I think the water is best for temp control and moisture. As far as flavoring the water, I’ve only used herbs in the water pan. Some herbs like rosemary add a nice subtle flavor.

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