All about Drip Pans
When it comes to accessories, drip pans are one item we’ve played with a bunch. Here are some things we’ve learned, probably more than you want to know! Round pans are a great match for the round ceramic grills. Drip pans come in varying sizes, thicknesses and materials. They are used to catch drippings. We do not recommend using them as a heat deflector.
On thickness, pans typically range from 24-gauge to 14-gauge. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the pan material. For example with aluminum, 18-gauge material is 1-millimeter thick. 14-gauge is 50% thicker at 1.5-millimeters.
On materials, there is variety. Cast iron is heavy but it requires seasoning and added care. Stainless is good, but it can be expensive and difficult to find. Aluminum is readily available, light weight and won't rust. One note on aluminum, it melts around 1200°F and lump burns hotter than 1200°F, so care must be taken not to melt the pan. We've measured temperatures inside the lump in excess of 1875°F. Simply do not use aluminum pans directly over the lump (on the Spider) while doing a high temperature cook. You can melt the pan.
There are several coatings, mostly nonstick, available today. Some have questionable uses in high heat situations. So, our philosophy is simple: Except porcelain products, we don’t use coated pans in our ceramic grills. It’s the easiest way to avoid confusion and uncertainty. We stay clear of Pyrex brand products too. We read the Dos and Don'ts on Pyrex’s site and concluded it’s not for us. Some pans use tin or tin-on-steel. We don’t use tin as it requires seasoning and added care. There is aluminized steel, steel with a very thin coating of aluminum for protection. We have no experience with aluminized steel cookware, so we can’t comment.
The depth of a pan is a bit trickier. You can find pans in numerous depths, ranging from a thin rolled edge to 3" deep. So how do you pick the proper depth? Well, that’s a personal decision but here are a couple indicators that may help you decide.
- Short pans have the least amount of impact on air circulation. So pick the shortest pan you feel comfortable using.
- Realize even though your ceramic grill is built level, it may not be sitting level. The slightest incline in your table or nest can impact the pan’s ability to hold liquids. Remember, liquids sit level to the Earth and not your grill.
- When using liquids, you need extra depth to prevent spills. The most difficult movement is removing a liquid filled pan after the cook. If you don’t use liquids, shorter rimmed pans are better since the drippings burn off during the cook.
- If you foil the pan then a large deep pan can be too big for a roll of foil. It’s not a big hassle, as double foiling in an “x” pattern or folding the side edge on two sheets together can provide the needed coverage. If you fold the edges, remember to keep the fold up so liquid can't leak through the fold.
We recently tried tapered pans and like them. Heck, we finally figured out the pan’s diameter is only critical at the rim. Plus, a tapered pans increases foil coverage. The smaller bottom requires less foil. This is handy when matching 16" pans with 18" wide aluminum foil.
When using any pan, we recommend lining the inside of the pan with foil. Not only does it make clean up easier, a little excess foil along the edges can help extend the pan’s coverage. Just spread the foil up and out to increase coverage. Remember not to foil the bottom side of the pan.
We prefer and offer stainless pans. The stainless is Series 200 grade which contains lower chromium percentages than Grade 304 or 18-8. The pans are non magnetic. The stainless can withstand higher temperatures and will not melt in the cooker. The top edge on the pans is rolled. The pan sides are tapered. The only real drawback to the stainless pan is the pan's shiny finish will heat tarnish. Not a big deal given they are dedicated drip pans. We still foil with aluminum foil as it makes clean up easier.
Pan Size vs. Cook Size: We are somewhat a purest when it comes to pans. Simply said, we try to match the pan to the size and shape of whatever we’re cooking. We figure this gives the best chance to maintain consistent and uniform temperatures across the grid and food. So, big cook = big pan, little cook = little pan, rectangular cook in the Large cooker = Oval Foil Ring.
Round Pans for Grills with 18" - 22" Cooking Grids "Large”:
When it comes to grabbing a round pan for the Large Woo or Large Adjustable Rig, we typically grab a 14" or 16" diameter pan. For cooks above the fire ring, the 14" is good for small cooks and the 16" is good for multiple or big meat cooks. A 16" round pan is about the biggest pan that will fit inside the Large Rig, Large Woo and Big Green Egg's ConveGGtor (platesetter). For low & slow cooks with the Large Spider, we recommend the 14" pan. Please note, aluminum pans should not sit directly on the Spider during high temp cooks, as the pan can melt.
Oval Foil Ring - Rectangular Pan for the Large Adjustable Rig:
Why rectangular you may ask? Well, the grill is round, but not everything we cook is round. Ribs, briskets, and some pork butts can match up better with a rectangular shape. In the past, we recommended jelly roll pans but found from our experience, they can warp or twist from the heat. We stopped carrying rectangular pans for this very reason and took the next step.
We developed and now offer a 13"x17" Oval Ceramic Stone and Foil Ring. The Oval Stone is custom fit to the Large Woo and Large Adjustable Rig. The Oval Foil Ring is fabricated from Stainless and matches the shape of the Oval Stone. To use the foil ring just lay 2-4 sheet of foil down and roll the foil over the Ring, creating a pan. Both the Oval Stone and Foil Ring are wide enough for side-by-side baby back ribs and long enough for most briskets and full ribs. The basic comments from Oval users are: No more burnt ends and better airflow - a win, win.
Round Pan(s) for Grills with 23" or Larger Cooking Grids "XL":
The pans for the “Large” do fit the “XL”. We recommend them for specialty or small volume cooks, matching the pan size to the cook size. The pan we really like for typical “XL” cooks is the 18" round pan. It matches well with the XL Adjustable Rig, XL Woo, XL Flip Ring, XL Spider and our 16" & 17.5" Ceramic Stones. It provides great coverage with minimal interference on air circulation.
Round Pans for Grills with Cooking Grids under 18":
These are just like the “Large” and “XL” pans, just not as big. The recommended Drip Pans are listed in the Grill's Product Pages.
Here are general recommendations for the drip pans we carry.
|10" Stainless Round Drip Pan||Fits Small & MiniMax Woo Ring, Most 12"-13" grid cookers|
|12" Stainless Round Drip Pan||Fits Medium Woo Ring, Most 14"-16" grid cookers|
|14" Stainless Round Drip Pan||Fits Large Spider|
|14" Stainless Round Drip Pan||Fits Large Woo & Adjustable Rig for small cooks|
|16" Stainless Round Drip Pan||Fits Large Woo & Adjustable Rig for big cooks, 18"-20" grid cookers. Fits bigger grids (24") for smaller cooks.|
|18" Stainless Drip Pan||Fits XL Adjustable Rig, XL Woo, XL Spider, 22"-24" grid cookers|
We realize that specialty cooks may require special pans, but for the majority of cooks, the pan sizes recommended will serve you well.