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7 Tips For Using Water Pans With Traeger Grills 

Water Pan With Traeger Grill 

One of the most important parts of barbecuing is keeping the meat moist during the cooking process.

Water pans also help catch drippings to prevent flareups and help regulate the temperature in a smoker, but does a Traeger need that? 


What does a water pan do in a Traeger Grill? 

A water pan in a Traeger pellet grill would add more moisture to the cooking chamber while smoking meat, which can help prevent meat from drying out during the smoking process and help the meat absorb more smoke. 

A number of smokers utilize water pans to help regulate the temperature of the cooking chamber when using charcoal and wood.

They can also act as a drip pan to prevent drippings from hitting hot coals and causing flareups.

However, Traegers do not need the water pan to regulate temperature because of their design.

They also do not need an additional drip pan to prevent flareups since they have a drip tray.


Should you use a water pan in a Traeger Grill? 

Unlike some smokers such as the Weber Smokey Mountain, a water pan is not a necessity in a Traeger grill. 

Traeger grills are designed to regulate the temperature in their cooking chamber automatically.

While adding moisture to the cooking chamber is always a positive in terms of keeping the surface of the meat moist, you can do the same by regularly spritzing whatever piece of meat you are smoking using a handheld spray bottle. 

However, you can use a water pan to catch drippings when you are cooking at a higher temperature if you are concerned about the drippings burning up on the drip tray.


When should you use a water pan in a Traeger? 

You can use a water pan to help boost the moisture in the cooking chamber when you are cooking brisket or a pork shoulder that will take quite a long time or if you are cooking at a higher temperature and want to avoid any chance of burning drippings on the drip tray. 

Water pans are not a necessity on a Traeger due to their designs, but these are two examples of where a water pan could have a benefit.


Where should you place the water pan in a Traeger?

Typically, water pans are placed below the meat being cooked and in order to do that on a Traeger, you would either need to put the pan underneath the grates on the drip tray or place the water pan on top of the grates and place a raised rack over the water pan for the meat.

You could also place the water pan to the side if you are just attempting to create more moisture and not using it to collect drippings. 

The first two options could be a bit of a challenge.

The drip tray on a Traeger is angled so grease runs down to the grease bucket, so you need to be sure your water pan is not so full that water sloshes around the bottom of your grill when you put it in.

If you are putting the water pan on the grates, you need to find a raised rack that will be stable while you smoke.

While you want to keep the meat moist, you do not want the rack tipping over and sending your brisket into the water. 


How do you keep meat moist on a Traeger?

A water pan can help keep meat moist on a Traeger, but a time-tested way that pitmasters on all types of smokers have used is a handheld spray bottle. 

You can mix equal parts apple juice and water for a simple spritz mix.

This can extend the cooking time and affect how well your bark sets up.

You will end up with a softer bark, but the sugars in the apple juice can caramelize over time to help form a darker bark. 


Final Thoughts

While a water pan placed inside a Traeger grill can help increase the moisture in the cooking chamber, it is not a necessity for great barbecue.

The best way to find out if a water pan is right for you is to smoke the same piece of meat, such as brisket, once with the water pan and once without.

If you prefer the meat smoked with the water pan, then that is the way you want to go.

If you prefer it without, then consider spritzing whatever meat you are smoking every half hour to forty-five minutes after letting the meat smoke for about an hour and a half.