Outdoor cooking is more than fun, and everyone loves to be the grill master for a backyard gathering. From smoking meat to vegetables, pellet smokes are an ideal choice with versatile features. Most people ask about the role of a water pan in a pellet smoker. If you are among these, who are finding the answer for Do I need a water pan in my pellet smoker? The simple answer is no; you don’t need a water pan in your smoker to achieve great results.
Many smoking experts also recommend not using a water pan in pellet smoker to add moisture to the food. But a water pan is an ideal choice to catch drippings and prevent burnt or scorched flavors. You can also use it to catch drippings for smoky gravy or barbecue sauce. Let’s try to find out the benefits and drawbacks of adding a water pan to your pellet smoker.
Why making your own wood chips for smoking?
Before probing into pellet grill cooking details, it is important to consider pellet smoker functioning, advantages, and how it works for the grill and smoke food.
The best pellet smoker works on the convention cooking principles. It comes with a grill unit and a side-mounted pellet hopper. The type of smoker features an electric-powered auger that helps to distribute the required amount of pellets to the firepot of the smoker, an igniter for lighting pellets, along an electric fan to introduce enough air to burn at the needed temperature.
What are the best types of wood for making chips?
You can use different types of wood for smoking foods. But it is essential to consider the type of wood you choose. It is due to the fact that each wood has a different flavor. Here are some best types of wood for smoking.
• History of Pellets
Do you remember the gas station lines of the Carter Administration? Of course, you are not old enough. People at that time had to drive to the service stations for filling tanks, and before they pull up the pump, people had to wait in lines that stretched around the block. In fact, there were stations where consumers ran out of gas before their turn.
Due to the rarity and high price of heating oil, it was essential to consider the alternative energy sources, and wood pellets were the most prominent of all. There was also a precedent for pellet production, such as animal feed pellet had been around for some time. It was a straightforward matter to adapt the procedure into wood pellet production. It was the time when pellet stoves made a splash when people started to avoid high heating oil costs.
• The Resurgence Era
The demand for wood pellets eventually declined when the United States pulled itself out of the oil crisis. However, it was the hole in the ozone layer of the Earth that compelled people to find an alternative source of energy to combat climate changes.
In the intervening years, Boeing aviation engineer Joe Whitefield and Oregon businessman Joe Traeger both came out with pellet-fueled stoves. Traeger invented pellet fueled grill that operated on the same principle of stoves, including an ignition rod, electric auger, and ventilation fan, and convection capability.
• Hardwood-Only Pellets
In the 1990s, the competition between pellet smoker manufacturers was at its peak. The only side effect of the open market race was the introduction of food grade pellets. There was hardwood, back scraps, and softwood used in the old heating style of pellets.
However, many softwoods and softwood bark scraps are not food safe and can adversely affect the taste and quality of the food. Such a phenomenon lead to the invention of the hardwood-only pellets that were great for cooking.
The additional advantage of such pellets is that hardwood smoke can improve the flavor of the food. Different types of hardwoods, including maple, cherry, hickory, and apple woods, will add a distinctive element to the taste in a pellet smoker, just like the traditional smoker will. Also, without softwood and bark materials, there are no unnecessary flavor elements.
• Do I need a water pan in my pellet smoker?
Once you have mastered the temperature and heat settings and cooking times on the pellet smoker, you can also control the cooking outcomes even further. By adding the water pan under the grill, will the meat come out better?
• Adding Juiciness and Moisture using a water pan
Many barbecue experts assume that by adding the additional moisture to the grilling process with the water in the cooker, the mean will benefit from the extra moisture cooked in. In simple words, the meat will come out with an extra boost of juiciness. However, you should consider some important reasons that indicate that you don’t need to add extra water to the food.
In other words, a rapid scan of the pellet smoker discussion boards proves that the additional humidity from the water pan will not make much of the difference.
• Preventing scorched drippings using the water pan
The meat dripping commonly drop onto the bottom grease pan of the pellet smoker. Due to burning, it causes ill flavored smoke that affects the taste of your food.
If you use aluminum foil to cover the greased pan, drippings may still scorch it and also release the bad taste smoke inside the pellet smoker.
• Cleanup when utilizing the water pan in a pellet smoker
If you are using a water pan in a pellet smoker for additional moisture or catch drippings, these simple steps can help to complete your cleanup. The following step will take benefit of the moisture and help to eliminate the pitfalls of the additional moisture.
- When you are done with cooking, use a lava rock cleaner or coil brush to scrape the grates clean. In fact, it is the extra moisture that helps to clean it effortlessly before any dropping hardens up.
- Run the grill at a high temperature for about fifteen minutes so that all the moisture can evaporate. Residual moisture may lead to mold or rust formation in the pellet smoker.
- Empty the pellet hopper to reduce the chances that any pellets have absorbed moisture.
So, using a water pan in the pellet smoker won’t make any prominent difference in your food but some extra moisture. However, it is useful for preventing extraneous foul-smelling fumes during cooking. But still, it’s a matter of your personal preference. The best way is to do some experimentation to find the ideal mixture of pellet grilling components. Make sure to stay safe and have fun with your family and friends while mastering the art of grilling.