One of the most common debates in food smoking is whether you should or shouldn’t use drip and water pans. There’s no definite answer as it all comes down to personal preferences. However, if you’re looking for reasons why you should consider using a drip pan or a water pan, there are plenty (but for your Bradley, they need to be there always!). The only drawback is that cleaning them can be quite troublesome, especially if you don’t know how to do it right.
When it comes to drip pans, their purpose is simple: to collect fat dripping from the meat you’re smoking. This is why it’s placed directly under the food. It even prevents the grease from reaching your heat source, reducing the risk of flare-ups in your food smoker.
The water pan can help moisture to be inside of the smoker, and as it heats up, to keep or add moisture to your preparation. But the main functionality of it is to extinguish burnt Bisquettes, as they will burn for precisely 20 minutes the mechanism will push it to the water so there is not more heat coming from it. And the main advantage from it is that you only get clean and pure smoke, while in other smokers that the wood burns down to ash, you would get acidic and bad tasting smoke that will not deliver the best finished dish.
However, once you’ve reaped the benefits of using a drip pan for your Bradley Smoker, don’t forget to clean it afterward. Reusing it can affect the overall flavor, and that’s something you would rather avoid. Besides, it’s unhygienic, and the last thing you would want is to contaminate your food. So, after every use, make sure to clean the pan properly.
Tips on Cleaning Drip Pans
First, get the drip pan out of your food smoker and let it cool for a few minutes. The grease should solidify by then, but if it hasn’t yet, throw in some ice cubes, and it will do the job for you. Either or both will make it easier for you to peel off the fat and discard it into the garbage can.
Afterward, fill the drip pan or soak it in hot water for about 10 minutes to remove the remaining oil. If the greasiness persists, pour in distilled white vinegar, cover the drip pan, and let it be for half an hour. Without draining, add baking soda to the mix, scrub the burnt-on crust to remove it, and let the solution remain for another 15 minutes. Repeat this process if needed. Finally, rinse the drip pan with hot water and towel dry.
Also, they are dishwasher safe, so you can always go that easier direction.
Tips on Cleaning Water Pans
The same tips form the drip trays work here, and they are also dishwasher safe, so you can always go that direction and let the machine do the work for you..
Some people put beer or add spices to the water, thinking that it will help enhance the flavor of the meat. The truth is, only the liquid will evaporate and do almost nothing to the final product, except for a barely noticeable smell. Besides, adding something else to the water pan will make it even harder for you to clean up later.
For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.