WSM with or without water... - BBQ Central

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Old 06-18-2005, 09:29 AM   #1
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Cruising,

Don't cook without something in the water pan. The water pan serves two purposes. First it keeps the tempertures under control as the boiling point of water is 212 F. Temps do get higher above the pan. Second it creates a moist cooking environment and helps keep your food from drying out.

I know many people on this board use sand instead of water. They may want to chime in on the benefits of sand as I have never used it and can't comment but I definitely would'nt cook without either water or sand in the pan.
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Old 06-18-2005, 09:35 AM   #2
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Cruising,

Just another thought. There is a break in period with the WSM. Now that you've had two long cooks in it, it should be pretty well broken in by now. You're cooking temps will depend on how much charcoal you are using, the method you are using to light them, and your air control using the vents.

I get my temps stable before I put the meat on. This requires much less fidgeting with the vents, although personnally that's one of my favorite parts. I mean you have to feel like your contributing something to the process right? I think over time you'll enjoy this aspect too. Now if you want to talk about fidgeting try and offset pit. That is really fun!
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Old 06-18-2005, 09:50 AM   #3
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If you want to go with sand, 'play' sand is the ticket. Personally, I prefer water; I find it easy and do not have an issue with clean-up. There are many who have switched to sand exclusively and really like it. It's a personal preference though, should you decide to try it, know that, since sand does not have the 212 limit, temperature control is different. You have to be a bit more vigilant at the outset of a cook but there's nothing difficult about it--the parameters are different, that's all.

Kloset is, of course, correct: You need one or the other in a pan for low-and-slow Q, so nothing in the pan is not suitable for ribs.

For high-heat grill-roasting (with or without the addition of smokewood) such as you might want to do for chicken, turkey, or other fowl for a crisp-skin finish, or for lean meats you prefer to cook at a high temp to a lesser degree of doneness (rib roasts, e.g.), you can get temps of 300+ with nothing in the pan, 400+ with no pan at all. I do beef and pork rib roasts at 300+ and chicken at 400+.
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Old 06-19-2005, 06:50 PM   #4
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Cruisen, I prefer water over sand for most cooks. It is some what personal preference but it also affects the heat at the bottom rack. Using sand or an empty pan results in much higher heat at the lower grate. Stay with water for a while and then try a sand cook.
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