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To liquid drip or not to liquid drip, that is the question

Charcoal MikeCharcoal Mike Posts: 223
edited 3:46AM in EggHead Forum
Hi all -[p]I keep reading all the discussions about whether ot not to use liquid in the drip pan. Be it water, beer, apple juice, or whatever.[p]For the positives of the "no-liquid" method, I understand that the liquid would normally not get over 212 degrees, and thus would bring down the overall cooking temp near the grid/meat, and extend the lenght of the cook. I also understand that the liquid may "steam" the meat, which some find to be undesirable, and outside the realm of "True" barbecue.[p]OK. So what are the negatives of no liquid? I know that when I use a drip pan WITHOUT liquid, or when I neglect to add more water to the pan during the cook, then the drippings from the meat turn the pan (I use the cheap disposable ones) into a dark, burned, nasty mess. I must presume the smoke from the burning drippings is tainting the flavor of the meat in a BAD way. Isn't this worse than a longer cook? [p]On turkey, for example, one would want to preserve the drippings for gravy. In my experience, if you don't put something in the pan, the drippings will burn into a mess.[p]Comments?[p]Thanks -[p]Mike


  • Charcoal Mike,[p] One way to reach a sort of compromise is to cook inderect with a decent pan. Personally, I use the plate setter (upside down) with a drip pan "inside" it. I put the drip pan on top of a few little ceramic "tiles" I got in the Home Depot BBQ section (each "tile" is about 2.5" square and looks like a grid). The plate setter shields the drip pan from the fire and the ceramic tiles allow a little space between the plate setter and the pan. This way air can get in between the pan and the plate setter keeping it that much cooler. I know TimM has used a setup in which he puts water in a pan, then puts foil over the water to catch the driippings . . .[p]MikeO
  • Charcoal Mike,
    I use a system similar to MikeO's.
    Plate sitter with legs up and drip pan in the center.
    However, I set the drip pan on (3) 3/8 in. nuts to keep it somwhat insulated from the sitter.
    I use a 15 in. deep dish pizza pan for the drip pan. If I'm going to use the drippings, I put a little water in it. If not I line it with foil.
    B D

  • MikeO,[p]I guess I should have specified my setup as well. I usually use either an inverted plate setter (or firebricks), with the drip pan directly on the setter or bricks. Didn't think about the spacers between the ceramic mass and the pan - good idea. Have to run to Home Depot today anyway..... :-)[p]Does this setup actually cool the pan enough to keep the drippings from burning? Am I off-base on the theory that this type of burning smoke may change the taste of the meat? Can this be totally prevented without liquid?[p]- Mike[p]

  • Charcoal Mike,
    Waterpan is a heat stabilizer (and water does a reat job)
    but the idea that introducing water being outside the realm of true barbecue is not factual. Old time pit barbecue used wet burlap or other material to cover the meat, introducing water into the cook. Offsets use water in the cooking chamber to help stablize the pit temp, cookers like JR's use water for the same reason. Water and BBQ do go together and have for a long time.

  • CatCat Posts: 556
    Charcoal Mike,[p]Water in the drip pan will not steam the meat; the moisture it adds to the total volume of air inside the Egg is negligible.[p]Water does act as a heat baffle. As long as there is liquid in the pan, its temp won't go over 212 degrees. The hot air actually cooking the meat is at a higher temp - but the bottom of the meat won't burn. I do my T'giving turkey at a dome temp of 330, over a water pan; it cooks/browns nicely without charring. I also use water in the drip pan for brisket and get an excellent crunchy crust. I don't use a plate setter or other ceramic mass.[p]For a short cook, ceramic mass is also a heat baffle. But as the ceramic heats up, the heat it absorbs has to go somewhere. It's re-radiated onto the meat. [p]So go ahead and put water in the drip pan if you want to keep drippings from burning. Heat it to boiling first.[p]Cathy
  • Charcoal Mike,[p]Mike... dont go spending any money on spacers :)[p]Make 4 or 5 balls of aluminum foil... smash them to whatever thickness you want the air space to be between the ceramic and drip pan... and you are set. [p]This is cheap, adjustable on the fly... you dont have to worry about loosing them etc. etc. [p]Happy egging. BB

  • CornfedCornfed Posts: 1,324
    BB,[p]Nice. I really like little practical tips like this, and I often find myself doing things like this to improvise when in a bind. Thanks, Cornfed
  • Charcoal Mike,[p]You're right about the tainting of the taste of meat that sits in smoke from it's own fats burning below it. Of course in some dishes (spatchcock chicken, seared steak, almost any direct cook) that taste is a part of the desired results.[p]Unfortunately, the burning of meat and fat is also the source of the nasty carcinogen benzopyrene.[p]I like my grilled goods as much (probably more!) than the rest of us, but if I can avoid the benzopyrene in a low and slow by adding something to the drip pan, I will.[p]I use the "water in the pan, then foil on top" method to catch drippings from a turkey, or just plain water for a dish where I'm not saving the glops.[p]Great; now I'm hungry and the egg's at home<g>,

  • Cornfed,[p]Hay, thats how it came about... on the fly type thing.[p]Another great thing is that they cool off quickly compared to metal washers... nuts...tiles etc. So if they fall on the ground and you step on them... they dont melt into your shoe or worse ! Much safer I think. [p]Happy Egging.... BB[p]

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