If you’re curious about how to use a water pan in a Masterbuilt electric smoker, or you need some advice on the best methods to use the water pan, then this article will be perfect for you.
A water pan can help with temperature control in your Masterbuilt electric smoker; if it’s cold outside, you can add some hot water to the pan to get temperatures rising, or if the heat is causing your smoker to get too hot, you can add some cold water to regulate the temperature.
There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to using a water pan in your Masterbuilt electric smoker, so keep reading to get the whole picture.
Purpose Of Using Water Pan In Masterbuilt Smoker
The purpose of using a water pan in your Masterbuilt smoker is primarily temperature control; if your smoker is having issues maintaining a consistent temperature that you’re setting, then you can add a water pan to help regulate the temperature.
Water Pans For The Heat In Masterbuilt Smoker
If it’s extremely hot outside, it’s possible that heat will impact the internal temperature of your smoker.
Even if you’re setting the temperature lower on your controller, the sun and heat can keep increasing it and causing problems for your smoking process.
By adding some cold water, you can keep the temperature regulated, and to the level, you set on the controller.
Water Pans For The Cold In Masterbuilt Smoker
The same is true for cold weather; if it’s freezing outside, then you can add hot water to help your smoker to get to the correct temperature faster.
In some situations, the cold outside can restrict your max temperature or take many hours to reach that temperature.
If you need to smoke meat for a certain time at a certain temperature, but you just can’t hit that temperature, then you’ll need a water pan to help get it there faster.
Water Pans For Temperature Drops In Masterbuilt Smoker
A water pan can also be helpful if you need to open your smoker for extended periods; perhaps you need to check the meat temperature with an external thermometer; the water pan will help get the temperature back up if there is hot water added.
To work around this specific issue, you may want to get a better thermometer that can be stuck into the meat and accessed via Bluetooth so that you don’t need to keep opening the door and causing problems.
Water Pans For Better Cooking In Masterbuilt Smoker
You’ll also get benefits from a water pan in your Masterbuilt smoker by adding some moisture to the air inside and keeping your meat from drying out when it’s a leaner cut and needs to be smoked for longer.
You can also include herbs and spices into the water so that there is more flavoring circulating in the air around the smoker, which adds some additional flavor.
Should I Use A Water Pan In My Masterbuilt Electric Smoker?
Whether or not you should use a water pan in your Masterbuilt electric smoker is up to you. There are certainly advantages, but there are also significant disadvantages in using water pans.
On the one hand, you get better temperature regulation if you’re in a hot or cold environment.
It may be impossible to keep the temperature in your Masterbuilt electric smoker when the outside temperatures are more extreme, either too hot or too cold.
If you smoke a lot of lean meat that can dry out quicker, the water pan can be a huge advantage to your cooking.
So that should be a significant factor on whether you need a water pan or not, what kind of meat are you smoking, and what is the fat content of that meat.
One of the big disadvantages of a water pan in your Masterbuilt electric smoker is that the moisture can cause damage to components of your smoker, including the electrical devices such as the controller and temperature gauge.
The biggest and most common issue is that the moisture can corrode the wires on your heating element.
This means at some point, you will need to replace the wiring and connectors on your heating element, which is cheap and reasonably simple, but you may not realize that’s the problem when it happens.
Should You Use A Water Pan In Your Smoker?
So, the big question for you would be whether you actually need the temperature regulation that comes with a water pan.
If you don’t, then it can be a lot more trouble than it’s worth; the added flavor is fairly minimal if that’s your only reason for adding the water pan.
There are some smoking enthusiasts that believe it enhances the flavor, so it may be worth testing to see if you find the flavor with a water pan significantly better.
If you need it for dry meat, then you should absolutely add the water pan; otherwise, your meat will be too dry, and you won’t get the benefits of having a smoker; you should just remember about the corrosion issue and get spare parts from your hardware store early.
When Should You Use A Water Pan In A Masterbuilt Electric Smoker?
You never need to use a water pan in a Masterbuilt electric smoker; it’s a matter of your weighing the pros and cons of you having the water pan in your smoker.
The biggest reasons you may want the water pan include:
- Temperature regulation that we discussed above
- Keep your meat moister
- Capture meat drippings in a tray rather than the bottom of the smoker
- Help maintain even temperature throughout the smoker
- Remove heat spots in the smoker
- Create more smokiness in the flavor of your meat
Masterbuilt electric smokers are already great at holding temperature because there is limited fluctuation, and it’s already being evenly controlled by the electricity.
So, some of the issues that a water pan fixes are not significant issues in electric smokers, such as heat spots and even temperatures.
Your biggest reason would be when you’re in extreme temperatures outside, either very hot or very cold.
The water pan will assist in regulating the temperature in those environments.
It’s important to remember that moisture in your Masterbilt electric smoker can cause big issues with the electrical components and wiring that you have.
If you consistently use a water pan, at some point, your electric smoker is going to fail, and you will need to replace the heating element controller, or at a minimum, you’ll need to replace the wires and connectors on your heating element.
So, consider carefully if a water pan is worth it for the long-term issues you may face with an electric smoker that potentially doesn’t even need a water pan.
How Do You Use The Water Pan In An Masterbuilt Electric Smoker?
To use the water pan on a Masterbuilt electric smoker, you need to buy a water pan or use a tinfoil pan from the supermarket; however, the tinfoil pan may not last, and an actual water pan is cheap to buy and easy to clean.
You don’t need to do very much to use the water pan; fill it with hot or cold water depending on your needs.
You can include herbs and spices in the water so that the flavor moves around in the smoker.
Put the water pan into the smoker and use the smoker as normal.
If you’re trying to regulate the temperature, you may need to replace the water in the tray at certain times.
Generally, this will be if the outside temperature is too high and you need to keep cooler water in the pan.
Hot water will generally stay hot in the pan once the smoker heats up and keeps the water heated.
Where Does The Water Tray Go In A Masterbuilt Smoker?
Your Masterbuilt electric smoker will either have a designated spot for the water pan, so check your manual to see if that exists.
Otherwise, you should place the water pan at the very bottom of the smoker.
You’ll need to figure out the best spot for the water pan or drip tray that you’re using.
You may have easy access at the bottom, you may need to push it to the side, or if the bottom doesn’t have room, you may need to put the try slightly above the bottom of the smoker.
Wherever you decide to put the tray, it should be below the meat that you’re smoking and as far below as possible.
How Much Water Should You Add To The Water Pan For A Masterbuilt Smoker?
In general, you can add as much water as you want; the more water you add, the more moisture will be in the smoker, and the harder it will be to raise or lower the temperature, so it really depends on your needs, and you can modify once you’ve tested it out a few times.
Most people suggest that a standard water pan can be half full for good results, so that may be a good level to start with and then modify as you’ve practiced with the water pan for a while.
Water Pan vs Drip Pan: What’s the difference?
Many folks are confused about water pans and drip pans.
So, what’s the difference between these two?
Drip pans are generally placed directly underneath your food. It catches any liquid/ sauces dripping from your meat.
Usually, it catches the fat which has been rendered in your food and is dripping off or any grease formed during smoking.
They’re beneficial as they prevent the grease or fat from hitting your flames which ultimately reduces flare-ups.
Whereas water pans are placed on top of your heat source.
The main function of a water pan is to produce moisture and steam to prevent your meat from drying out.
How to Clean The Water Pan After Using in A Smoker?
If you use a water pan in your smoker, you should clean it up after use or once you done the cooking.
If you placed it under your food, fat has been dripping into it so clean up is essential.
You can pour the water into your garden or the closest sink. You can also put it into a watertight bag and throw away.
If the water collected in water pan is relatively clear, not contains any fats from food, then you can throw it in garden. But not on lawn.
If it contains a small amount of fat, let the water cool.
So the fats congeal on the surface of water and are skimmed off easily to place in the garbage. Then throw it to a sink.
Don’t throw it straight to your sink, because fats can lead to blockages over time.
Another easy way to clean up after using a water pan is simply to dump the contents into the garbage bag.
If you are using disposable aluminum water pan, just throw the pan out to garbage.