To Water Pan? Or Not to Water Pan?

If you have researched barbecue, more than likely you have heard the debate on the use of a water pan.  The question is should I? Or should I not use a water pan?  Well the answer is, it depends.  So what does it depend on?  Mostly, the style of cooker you are using.  Water pans are prominently used in offset and vertical style cookers.

Offset cookers primarily use a dry heat source.  The purpose of a water pan when using an offset cooker is to introduce moisture into the cooking area.   A water pan in an offset cooker will help maintain an even temperature and prevent the meat from drying out.

In a vertical cooker, a water pan serves multiple purposes.  In a vertical cooker, a water pan acts as a barrier between heat source and food when cooking low and slow.  The water pan will catch the dripping as the meat renders and prevents flare-ups on the grill.  The water pan in a vertical cooker also adds moisture into the environment which will help maintain an even cooking temperature. 

Do you need water pan in your Traeger or other pellet style grill.  Again the answer is, it depends.  It depends on the brand of pellets you are using.  I only use Traeger brand pellets in my grill and it’s only appropriate that I speak from my experiences.  I do not use a water pan in my Traeger and here’s why. Traeger brand of pellets contain 10% moisture content.  This is the perfect moisture content for low and slow cooking. It’s that simple.

There is a use for a water pan but it’s not in a Traeger Grill filled with Traeger brand pellets.

Stay tuned.  I will be working on some big projects in the very near future.  Follow my Instagram @freedomsohard and don’t forget to subscribe on the right side of my home page. 

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Smoking temperatures are between 180 -250 degrees.



Cook to internal temperature and not to times.



Take notes and learn from each cook.