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Old 07-12-2006, 04:23 PM   #1
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Water VS Sand

Ok I know that this has probably been discussed several times. My primary smoker is a WSM. When I use my WSM I put water in the water pan. I have read where many others use sand in the water pan. Can you tell me what the advantages are to using sand in your water pan? Does your meat come out moist without the steam from the water? Please let me know all of the pros and cons of sand verses water. Thanks!
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Old 07-12-2006, 04:26 PM   #2
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Sand is harder to drink than water and even harder to make beer out of.
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Old 07-12-2006, 04:28 PM   #3
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On my last two cooks (one beer butt chickens (4), one butts (2)) I've used this: my Weber water pan mounted on top of a Brinkmann charcoal/water pan, with about 1" space between them at the top. And both pans empty. This seemed to work fine both times. I plan to continue using this contraption (but with foil in the top pan, 'cause some of the grease did burn on and it was a b!tch to clean). I have a Stoker to control the temperature, so the lack of a "heat sink" didn't seem to hurt anything.
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Old 07-12-2006, 05:28 PM   #4
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Re: Water VS Sand

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddog27
Ok I know that this has probably been discussed several times. My primary smoker is a WSM. When I use my WSM I put water in the water pan. I have read where many others use sand in the water pan. Can you tell me what the advantages are to using sand in your water pan? Does your meat come out moist without the steam from the water? Please let me know all of the pros and cons of sand verses water. Thanks!

I would think that the sand would catch any grease or drippings, alot less mess to clean up than a pan full of water and stuff??
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Old 07-12-2006, 05:32 PM   #5
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The sand will turn to cement and require chisseling if you allow it to get down in there. A couple layers of heavy duty extra wide foil are needed to catch the drippings. I used sand a couple times before switching over to the Guru and found it to be an adaquate heat sink. I never cooked on the bottom grate though and I've read several times that the sand has a radiating affect on anything on that grate.
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Old 07-12-2006, 07:24 PM   #6
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So far, I like the Weber pan with sand. Seems to be more stable with the heat. However, I am still experimenting. I have used both the Weber pan with water and the brinkman pan with water. If using water, I prefer the brinkman as it holds more water (less filling during the cook). Have not noticed any difference in the moisture content of the meat.

Have used the lower rack several times, with sand, during a cook and have not noticed much difference in that rack and the upper. Just my humble experience so far. Not taking anything away from other postings. Take it for what it is worth.
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Old 07-12-2006, 08:09 PM   #7
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Advantage of sand is the easier clean up. But that is with the sand covered with two layers os HD foil as Joker mentioned. After you cook, you remove the top layer of foil (with grease) and immediately put another piece of foil on. Clean up done.

Water's advantage is that it will never get over 210*, so it helps to maintain a constaint temp in the cooker.

Yes, you can keep a constaint temp in a WSM with water, sand, empty pan, or even no pan. But the last two make fire control a little more of an art.

I frequently cook low and slow in my WSM with no pan in it to get that authentic NC flavor that you can't get unless some grease is hitting embers. But this, of course, makes clean up of the bottom bowl a little more involved. Something you might not want to get into.
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Old 07-12-2006, 08:19 PM   #8
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I use sand all the time...cover it with foil and clean up is a breeze! I am not a big believer that the water in the pan adds steam to the cook...I think that is more a myth than anything!

Nice to not have to order a bigger pan or have to get up in the middle of the night to refill it!
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Old 07-12-2006, 10:06 PM   #9
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so far we have used only water, but we have been foiling the pan before putting the water in. It makes for much easier cleanup if you lose track and the water all evaporates (not that I would know from personal experience or anything.....
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corndog
I use sand covered by HD Foil also. Even timps, no maintenance.

Finney....I am interested in how you do the low and slow w/ not pan? I have done the pig pickings like that, but of course, we had the burn barrell
there for the embers.....how much tending do you have to do?
Kevin, you just have to make sure that when you light it you don't let the temps get too high before closing the vents down. You do have to watch the WSM closer because the temps can get up there when the fat is rendering if you aren't paying attention. At that point I usually have only one bottom vent 1/3 open (maybe that much).

I use lump, Minion Method, and light fewer coals to start than on a normal cook with a pan.
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Old 07-13-2006, 10:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corndog
Gotcha Finney. What about the temps? Still about 250ish? Is there something I could do say like put it on early in the AM for a supper time (6pmish) finish?
Yeah 250ish. It will get up to 275* real easy when the fat starts dripping, but that's really no big deal. Very early AM for evening finish is exactly what I do when cooking like this.

BTW: I've never used the lower rack when doing this. Just too close for comfort. I could picture a big pork fire. LOL
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