The beauty about doing this blog is that it forces The General to remember the thousands of things I have forgotten! Joe, from Florida, asked when he should use water in the drip pan and when he shouldn’t. He also asked what effect the water or the spiced water has. It took some time to come up with an answer, because I haven’t used a water pan in years.
In theory, a pan filled with water should help retain moisture inside your pit or smoker. If you use something like apple juice or a combination of apple juice and apple cider vinegar, those aromas should be present inside your smoker and ultimately on your meat. This is something you need to test for yourself and see if you can detect any advantages in this simple process either with flavor or with moisture.
A drip pan without any water/apple juice in it, is just a tool to collect drippings so that those fat-laden drippings don’t ignite an unwanted fire in your indirect location.