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Do I Need A Drip Pan For Kamado Joe? (Explained)

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Do I Need a Drip Pan for Kamado Joe

Kamado Joe grills are designed to work without needing a drip, though there are some foods where you might want to place one inside to catch drippings or add a little steam.

With fatty cuts of meat and foods with a lot of sloppy marinade, setting a drip pan over the heat deflectors can also make cleanup a lot easier.

You don’t need a drip pan for high-heat grillings, like searing off steaks and chops.

Though placing one on the heat deflectors or directly on top of the burning charcoal might come in handy when you are cooking at low temperatures.

Do You Need a Drip Pan for Kamado Joe?

You don’t technically need a drip pan for a Kamado Joe, though adding one can make cleanup easier. It’s also a great way to add steam and enhance the aroma of the food being cooked.

If you are grilling something that has a lot of sloppy marinade a drip pan can help prevent runoff from splattering onto the lower dampers and caramelizing.

Should I Use a Drip Pan in a Kamado Joe?

A drip pan isn’t a good idea for times when you want to use your Kamado Joe as a high heat grill for doing things like searing steaks and chops.

The pan itself can interrupt the smooth airflow coming through the lower dampers which feeds the fire. If your Kamado Joe comes with heat deflectors, a drip pan can also help keep it clean.

Though a drip pan comes in handy when you want to use the Kamado Joe as a smoker, or if you are cooking something with a lot of sloppy runoff.

In these cases, the drip pan can catch rendered fat and excess marinade before it makes a mess out of the lower portion of the fire chamber.

Not only can a drip pan make cleanup easier, but it can even help add steam to the slow cooking equation.

How Do You Use a Kamado Joe Drip Pan?

A drip pan is often called for when you are using your Kamado Joe as a smoker, or you are roasting something on slow and low heat with the heat deflector installed.

This also creates a natural shelf inside the Kamado Joe to hold the drip pan. In a scenario like this, you simply rest your chosen drip pan on the half or whole heat deflector and fill it halfway with water or excess marinade.

If you are using a drip pan without the heat deflectors installed in your Kamado Joe, then you will likely need to set it directly over the burning charcoal at the bottom.

Just make sure to use a small enough drip pan to let the flames affect the meat being cooked.

Then deftly place the pan to catch any rendered fat, grease or sloppy excess marinade.

What Is the Best Type of Drip Pan for a Kamado Joe?

A 12-inch diameter stainless steel bottom clad pan has the durability to withstand years or reuse as a drip pan in a Kamado Joe.

Though the pan won’t be usable for much else, which can seem like a waste of money.

A disposable pie pan or cake pan made from heavy-duty aluminum foil will work just as well as a drip pan in a Kamado Joe.

You can get them cheap at a dollar-discount store and a single pan can make it through multiple cooks before burning through and needing to be replaced.

Can You Grill Without a Drip Pan?

Kamado Joes are designed to grill without needing a drip pan and work best for doing things like searing over high heat without one.

It’s only when you smoke at low temperatures, or you are grilling a fatty piece of bone-in meat that a drip pan becomes a good idea.  

Final Thoughts

While you don’t need a drip pan in a Kamado Joe, one can come in handy when you are using it as a smoker, or you need something to keep grease and drippings from fouling the bottom of the fire chamber.

If you have your Kamado Joe set up with one or both heat deflectors installed, you can set your drip pan directly on it.

Otherwise, you will need to carefully rest your drip pan on the burning charcoal at the bottom.

Since Kamado Joes don’t come with a drip pan included in the initial purchase, you’ll have to improvise one on your own.

A 12-inch diameter bottom-clad stainless-steel pan will fit in most Kamado Joes and can be reused. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, you could simply use a disposable pie plate made out of heavy-duty aluminum foil.