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Water Smoking vs not and Other Questions

yellowdogbbqyellowdogbbq Posts: 384
edited September 2011 in EggHead Forum
I'm thinking of buying a large BGE or a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker to use for smoking.  I've used my friends cheap Brinkman smoker, which has a water pan, with great results.  He insists that the water keeps the meat nice and moist and from drying out.  Is the water essential for keeping the meat moist or do you not need it?  Does anyone put a pan on the plate setter and fill it with water when smoking?

I love the versatility of the BGE but want to make sure that I will have great results when smoking before I buy one.  Couple other quick questions to help me make my mind up.  Large vs XL, it seems like the fire box on the XL is four times that of the large and you would use much more charcoal.  Is the XL a charcoal hog?  Most of the tables I see built have the BGE on the right, is there an advantage to placing it on the right?

Thanks everyone for the help.


  • The BGE is a very moist cooking environment. I put a little water in my drip pan, but that's mostly to keep the drippings from burning, not to add moisture.
    Food & Fire - The carnivorous ramblings of a gluten-free grill geek.
  • SpoonSpoon Posts: 328
    I had a WSM before I switch over to my LBGE. I liked the WSM, but the EGG is much better IMHO. Everything I cooked on my WSM ended up with a similar flavor wither it was ribs, brisket butt, or chicken no mat what wood I used. With the egg everything tastes like it should, the flavor changes depending on wood I use. It is easier to control and the meat comes out moist with out a water pan, the ceramics really help retain the moisture. I still have my old WSM and I will sell it to you for a good price if you want to go that route. I haven't used it since I got my egg and don't think I will. It just takes up space.
    "Pork so tender you can pull it with a spoon." ~Spoon
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 16,771

    This may take a bit but I was a water/gasser smoker (Brinkman type) for years but got tired of the material failures so decided to go in a different direction.  Checked out the WSM, Traeger, BGE and a few others.  Ended up with the LBGE in Jan of this year after talking with someone who had owned the Traeger and BGE and definitely was a BGE fan (since mid '90's).  Didn't pursue the WSM as I decided the versatility of the BGE was another feature that I would enjoy (good bye gas grill).  If you are strictly going to smoke food only then the WSM is a good rig but you may want to rethink that.  Of course, the BGE is pricy and you will need some accessories (to go vertical for smoking space) to take full advantage of the egg unless you go with the XL but I have no experience there.

    BGE does not require a water pan to keep smoking foods moist and with one healthy load of lump charcoal I have smoked pork shoulders for over 21 hours without opening the egg til the pork was finished.  It could have lasted 4-6 hours more with ease.

    Whatever you decide-enjoy!

    Louisville;  L & S BGEs, PBC, Lang 36; Burnin' wood in the neighbourhood. # 38 for the win.  Life is too short for light/lite beer.  
  • crghc98crghc98 Posts: 1,006
    no water needed in the BGE
  • Yes, it is not needed, that being said... 

    We choose to smoke with liquids in our drip pans, we are very pleased with our results.



    from SANTA CLARA, CA

  • Thanks for the help, I think I'm going to get a LBGE (just have to save up the money).
  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,948
    Like others, I added water to make for easier cleanup of the drip pan.  I read somewhere on some site...maybe here where a person when through an experiment on food moisture with and without water during the smoke and concluded there was no difference.  Sounds like Alton Brown now that I type this.  Might do a Google to verify.  Anyway, whatever floats your boat on the water I guess. 
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: and  and
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • ChokeOnSmokeChokeOnSmoke Posts: 1,914
    edited September 2011
    Large vs XL, it seems like the fire box on the XL is four times that of the large and you would use much more charcoal.  Is the XL a charcoal hog? 
    I use a lump reducing ring in my XL and don't use much charcoal at all.
    Most of the tables I see built have the BGE on the right, is there an advantage to placing it on the right?
    I just took a run through The Naked Whiz table page (link below) and it looked as though it was about 50/50.  You can try it one way, and if you don't like it, just flip the table around!

    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • While I was looking to buy my BGE a guy told me "you can get a little meat in a large smoker, but you can't get a lot of meat in a little smoker".  I bought the XLG.
  • I too started with a WSM.  LOVEd and still love it.  It is a great piece....but I have not used it since buying an egg.  I did not like all the steam from the water pan in the WSM so I would cover with foil and poke a few holes in it so it was more of a heat sink/plate setter than a steamer.
  • shtgunal3shtgunal3 Posts: 4,005
    I don't use water, I have a large, and my egg is in the left side of my table.



     LBGE,SBGE, and a Mini makes three......Sweet home Alabama........ Stay thirsty my friends .

  • AcnAcn Posts: 2,542
    I came to a BGE from a Brinkman gas/water smoker, and the BGE is SIGNIFICANTLY better.

    I don't have a table yet, but I'd have the egg on the left, the thinking being that since I'm right-handed I'll want the open table space to my right.


    Pikesville, MD

  • DMWDMW Posts: 12,470
    I don't use water in my egg, I just elevate the drip pan from the platesetter with some 1/2" nuts so the dripping don't burn when they land. I debated the Large vs XL question as well, glad I went with the XL. As far as amount of lump consumed, I find that if I shut it down as soon as I am done cooking, the fire goes out and I can re-use the unburned lump. I have never had a Large, so not sure how it compares. I have mine in a nest current, and have my gasser to the right of the egg and a Lifetime table to the left. The gasser is my landing area for anything hot coming off the egg (platesetter, grate, etc) and the lifetime is my prep area. Seems to work well for me.
    My Facebook Page where I document my cooking
    Morgantown, PA

    XL BGE - S BGE - KJ Jr - HB Legacy - BS Pizza Oven - 30" Firepit - King Kooker Fryer -  PR72T - 18.5" WSM - WSJ - BS 17" Griddle - XXL BGE - Akron Jr - BS SS36" Griddle
  • As I understand it, the water pan in a WSM or other metal smoker is to help regulate the temperature, not moisten the meat.  Many WSM owners put sand in the water pan instead of water in order to add thermal mass and help regulate temps.
    The Naked Whiz
  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 6,476
    So, am I ruining some sort of joke by pointing out that the original question/post is from September 2011?

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • I had a WSM before my egg and as NW said the water pan is their version of a plate setter. Just something to shield the meat from the coals.
    Cedar Park, TX
  • That was very helpful.  I come from the old Brinkman Water Smoker and loved it.  I looked up here (on this site whether or not to use water (beer actually) in my new, as of yet, unused, BGE.  I'm going to initiate it on Super Bowl Sunday.  Pork ribs for a few people.  I was afraid of getting a 'dry' result with out liquid.  I was going to use the old bowl from the old Brinkman for the beer.   I'm still insecure about things like temperature because, as all of you X-Brinkman types remember, the temp. gauge simply said "WARM-IDEAL-HOT" for idiots like me.


  • minniemohminniemoh Posts: 2,101
    @RockyTopApologist - welcome to the forum. You'll get a lot of great advice here on the forum. For rib cook temps, you'll find folks that go 225 all the way up to "turbo" 350. Some wrap part way through the cook and some don't. I like 250-275 and use a sweeter rub and leave unwrapped all the way through. Also, I don't put any liquid in the drip pan - just elevate it off the platesetter to keep the drippings from smoking too much. I use hickory or a mix of hickory/apple or cherry chunks for smoke.

    Good luck breaking in that new egg and make sure to post pics of your cook. 
    L x2, M, S, Mini and a Blackstone 36. She says I have enough now....
    eggAddict from MN!
  • LitLit Posts: 6,893
    I would just do your ribs at 250 to start. Going to take 4-5 hours. Search the forum for bend test its the easiest way to tell when ribs are ready. I use water in my drip pan because I reduce the dripping as a base for my sauce.
  • X large all the way. More room you can control your lump usage
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