To be a successful pit master you need to know how to clean your drip pans! Start off with a dirt pan and it will affect the taste of your BBQ!
While many people may not realize it, drip pans and water pans are very different and have two different purposes, when it comes to smoking meats.
Water pans generally go above the heat source to provide moisture and drip pans are found beneath the food to collect drippings.
It is very important for sanitary reasons as well as ensuring your meat tastes it’s best that you keep your drip pans and water pans clean!
The last thing you want is to cook a deliciously smoked pork butt and discover that your dirty drip pan has tainted the flavor!
In many cases, you will simply use a drip pan to keep your electric smoker clean.
However, you can also use them to collect drippings that can be used for cooking, to prevent flare-ups of heat, and to prevent oils from falling into the water pan which could inhibit evaporation.
If you add water to your drip pan, it can help increase the humidity and stabilize the temperature of the smoker as well.
One of the best uses for a drip pan is to make gravy or stock. To do this, you’ll want to add some water, herbs, vegetables, and other ingredients to the drip pan and allow all the delicious juices from your meat to drip into it.
How To Clean a Drip Pan (FYI This May Not Be Fun)
You may be tempted to line your drip pan with aluminum foil or sand. You must avoid this, as it can prevent the grease from flowing properly. Follow the steps below to correctly clean a drip pan
Why Do You Need To Use A Water Pan You Ask?
Many smokers that you can buy come with a water pan, so you don’t have to worry about going out and buying one separately or improvising.
The best place to put a water pan is above the fire, so the heat can cause the water to evaporate.
You should also avoid placing the water pan beneath the meat as the greasy drippings can coat the water and prevent evaporation.
One of the main purposes of the water pan is to keep the air temperature in the smoker around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. For most things that you’ll be smoking, this is the ideal cooking temperature, and so you should do your best to keep your smoker at this temperature during the smoking process. A water pan makes this much easier.
A water pan will also help to reduce the fluctuations in temperature because the temperature of water changes more slowly than that of the air.
Some other benefits to using a water pan include: being able to cook with indirect heat, improving the flavor of meats, keeping food from getting dried out, and slowing the cooking process to allow more fats and connective tissues to melt.
We alternate between using the Smokin It Model 1 & Char Broil The Big Easy and find both water pans really efficient.
Need to Know What Goes in The Water Pan?
First of all, you want to make sure that the water you put in the water pan is hot, not cold. If you add cold water, it will cool down the smoker too much and could cause a significant drop in temperature.
I found my Cook Shack Smoker, has a really good water pan, that doesn't need anymore gadgets to increase the humidity
How To Clean Your Water Pan (Yep More Cleaning)
The most important thing to keep in mind while cleaning either the drip pan or the water pan is that you don’t want to simply dump it in your yard.
This is particularly important with the drip pan if you just used it to collect drippings from a really greasy recipe such as bacon jerky. If you do throw this in your yard, it’s going to attract all kinds of unwanted pests from insects to larger animals.
Follow the steps below for the most efficent ways to clean your water pan!
I always get sent lots of questions about water pans. So I thought I would throw them in just in case your having the same problem!
Question: Why should I use a water pan in my Masterbuilt electric smoker
Answer: Not only does it help with cleaning it can help steam items such as puddings, seafood or meatballs! You can find more recipes on their website
When cooking for anyone, especially friends and family, you want to ensure you're using clean equipment.
The bottom line is, if you don't clean your smoker right you might be putting your guests or family at risk.
If you are in need of a new smoker because you have let the cleaning and maintenance of yours get away on you, check out my electric smoker reviews.
Personally, I would never want to risk my family and friends health. Plus I love cooking too much to be shafted from my king of the smoker throne!
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