Smoker Water Pan


New member
Aug 28, 2023
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calgary Canada
Pro 570
I am new to the Traeger smoker. In my old offset smoker, I would often place a water pan with whisky and spices in the main chamber. This ensured high humidity and some extra flavor. If I do this in my Traeger, is there potential harm to the auger and fire pit by adding the extra humidity?
In answer to your question, there should be no degradation to your fire pit or auger due to adding liquid on one of your cooking racks. The only humidity that your auger and fire pit see is your relative humidity that is being forced into the burn pot from the outside air. I like yourself like to add moisture and some flavor to a foil drip pan that is usually placed under my protein. I found an article on line that seemed to me to answer some of my questions about how humidity effects the cook. I know each of us has their own technique depending on which protein we are preparing and I have learned a lot from our members. . Welcome to the forum, great folks with great info.
Much of the humidity in the smoker chamber is a product of combustion of the wood pellets. If you lived in a humid area like Louisiana or Florida, adding extra moisture might not be needed. Since you live in Calgary, some add moisture might be welcome, especially in colder months.

You can either add moisture by using a pan of water, beer, apple juice, apple cider vinegar or combination of choice to a drip pan below your cook. Another option is to spritz the surface with similar liquids using a spray bottle. As for adding spices to the drip pan or spritz, I would suggest that they will be more effective in developing layers of flavor if they are applied directly to the meat itself. This can be done either in a marinade or injection before the cook, as a dry rub prior to the cook, as a baste during the cook, or as a sauce after the cook.
Curious if anyone has a rule of thumb on the amount of liquid used in the foil pan, as I want to try this out on my next brisket cook, as I feel my flats are a bit on the dry side on some cooks and want that extra bit of moisture,,,,,,, I like a lot of us on here set the Traeger( ironwood 650) at 225 with super smoke til internal is 165-170degrees, then wrap and go to 201-204 internal,,,,,,

Any opinions and insights are welcomed!
Remember that a broad, shallow pan like a baking sheet will evaporate water faster then a smaller deeper pan such as a meat loaf pan, even if they hold equal amounts of water. A roasting pan is somewhere in between. If the ambient humidity is very low, use a large, shallow pan. If it is higher, a meat load pan might work. The only disadvantage of adding extra water to the pan is that it will take longer to bring the water up to simmering. The amount of energy required to elevate the temperature is far less than the energy required to evaporate the water, so it is not going to be a big deal. It is better to add more water than you think you might need. Of course, you can always add hot water to the pan part way through the cook if needed.
I think water pans help, but not everyone agrees with that thought. Another nice thing, it serves a purpose as a drip pan to help keep the smoker clean.
I agree with @RayClem that using a shallow pan to increase surface area and would help in having better evaporation. But like mentioned, that will entail adding water and opening the smoker more, which will release any built up humidity you have in there. I always add hot or boiling water to the water pans. Whether that makes a big difference or jot, i don't know. I just have always done it with preheated water.
Because of smoking sausages, I have been experimenting with different methods of increasing humidity in the smoke chamber. With sausages, you need a higher humidity to ensure your casing has that snap and be tender when you bite it and to help keep the moisture level up in your meat mixture.
I have been using a humidifier, and recently experimented with adding a cloth to the water pan to increase the surface area and increase the conductive evaporation. You can increase the surface area by extending the towel over the sides more, but I didn't find that necessary
On a 12 hour smoke at low temperatures (starting at 150 and maxing out at 180 in incremental increases), I added 16 cups of hot water throughout the cook. I had just over 1 cup left at the end of the cook.
My cook this last weekend was 6 hours with the same incremental temperature increases and used just under 8 cups of hot water.
Higher temperatures in the pit and that would increase the water use. So water evaporation is taking place even with the lower ttemperatures that I had tested with

Thread 'Adding humidity'

I guess when you ask how much water you will need, it is a more complicated calculation based on temperature, relative humidity and surface area. But like Ray said, more is better.

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