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Water Pan Modifications

Originally posted: 04/01/2001
Last updated: 09/26/2014

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Here are a few modifications for the water pan of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

To learn more about the purpose of the water pan and variations when using it, see Using A Water Pan In The WSM.

As on any of the pictures to view a larger image.

Increasing Pan Capacity

Side view of WSM water pan next to Brinkman charcoal pan
Photo 1
Brinkman charcoal pan inside WSM
Photo 2
WSM pan inside WSM
Photo 3
Overhead view of Brinkman pan inside WSM
Photo 4

Editor's Note: This modification applies only to 18-1/2" WSMs manufactured prior to 2009.

Weber Bullets manufactured before 2009 came with a shallow, 1-gallon water pan. It's actually the lid from a Weber Smokey Joe grill.

In 2001, Dave Stamper wrote to TVWB, "The biggest fault I can find with this cooker is the rinky-dink water pan. Why own a smoker that is capable of running unattended for 10-12 hours on one fill of charcoal if it wasn't for the lousy water pan?"

Dave's solution was to replace the water pan with a Brinkmann charcoal pan. It holds almost 2 gallons of water, twice the capacity of the WSM pan.

The Brinkmann charcoal pan, part number 114-0002-0, can be ordered from Brinkmann at 800-468-5252 or from the Brinkmann website for about $14. The pan is sometimes available at retailers that carry Brinkmann smokers and is sometimes sold under part number 812-0002-0.

Photo 1 shows the pre-2009 18-1/2" WSM water pan next to the Brinkmann charcoal pan. Photos 2 and 3 show the difference between the Brinkmann and WSM pans inside the middle cooking section. Photo 4 shows how the pan's wide rim sits firmly on the support flanges.

Here are the specs comparing the two pans:

Brinkmann Pan Pre-2009 18-1/2"
Outside diameter at rim 15-1/16" 14-3/4"
Inside diameter, top of pan 12-7/8" 14"
Inside diameter, bottom of pan * 8-1/2" N/A
Width of rim 1-1/16" 5/16"
Depth 4-1/2" 3-1/16"
Distance between bottom of pan and top of charcoal ring 3-1/4" 5-1/4"
Water capacity Almost 2 gallons 1 gallon
Weight 1 lb, 4.3 oz 1 lb, 9.7 oz
* The inside of the Brinkmann pan curves down to a flat bottom, while the WSM pan has a rounded bottom.

Dave wrote, "It's a drop-in modification and actually fits better than the standard pan. It cuts down on the room between the bottom of the pan and the charcoal, but works fine under all conditions that I have tried.

"I find that a fellow gets two benefits from this larger water pan. First, instead of checking and adding water every two to three hours depending on cooking temperature, I can run my cooker over nine hours with this pan before adding water. The second benefit—and this is the best one—is that this larger water pan really helps control the temperature in the smoker. I think all folks that use this cooker know that as the water goes down in the pan, the temperature goes up in the smoker. I find that I can just about run any temperature I want from 180°F to about 250°F real easy without making many adjustments."

Pan Touches The Charcoal

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Editor's Note: This issues applies only to 18-1/2" WSMs manufactured from 2009 to present.

Starting in 2009, Weber began using a deep, 2-gallon water pan. It's actually the charcoal bowl of a Weber Smokey Joe grill.

Many owners report that when they load the charcoal chamber to the top with fuel and smoke wood, the bottom of the bowl touches the charcoal and makes it difficult to service the fire through the access door.

If you experience this problem, the replacement Brinkman charcoal pan described above will solve the problem. Its flatter design provides plenty of clearance and it holds almost 2 gallons of water.

Weber has a long tradition of recycling other grill parts for use in the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. This is one case where it just doesn't work properly. Weber needs a new pan design.

Extended Water Pan Flanges

Extended water pan flange
Photo 5

Editor's Note: This modification applies only to 18-1/2" WSMs manufactured prior to 2009.

Some people complain that the water pan is not stable when placed on the support flanges. Albert Sanchez writes, "I had the unique opportunity to somehow bump the WSM water pan, causing it to completely fall off the bracket flanges into the charcoal ring. Splashed water everywhere, steam mushroom cloud, partially doused my charcoal, etc."

Albert's solution was to extend three of the four flanges by attaching 1-1/4" x 3/4" x 1/8" steel strips using stainless steel screws and nuts, as shown in Photo 5.

The Piedmont Pan

The Piedmont Pan
Photo 6

Editor's Note: This modification applies only to 18-1/2" WSMs.

This modification consists of screwing together two Brinkmann charcoal pans with an air space in between. The rationale behind this modification and step-by-step instructions for making your own Piedmont Pan are found in The Piedmont Pan article.

Photos of pans inside WSM: 2001 by Dave Stamper.
Photo of extended water pan flange: Wayne Sizemore.

Back to Operating Tips & Modifications

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The Virtual Weber Bullet is your best source for Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker information and discussion on the Web. Popular with competition barbecue teams, the WSM is an easy-to-use water smoker that's equally at home in the backyard. See the WSM and its component parts; get recipes, usage tips, and modification ideas; check-out BBQ-related resources; and discuss the WSM with owners and enthusiasts in our online forums.
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