less mess to clean up on the grill (butts can make a big mess), and I've found that it actually makes the meat juicer. I've foiled them, done them straight up on the rack, all that. I don't foil over the top anymore with the pan, around the 14 hour mark I occasionally pop the top and spoon the drippins' over the top. The butt is good just about any way you do it though, I don't dislike any other methods, I do dislike the mess they can make if you get an especially fatty butt. As a bonus, if you're re-heating it later, adding a little bit of the run off with the meat helps keep it moist then as well.
I can go both ways :cough:
On the turkey, the stuff in the pan is soup that gets smoked along with the bird, and leaves me with ~2 gallons of turkey soup to work through. it's realllly good, but the pan is just there for that. I've smoked turkey without the pan as well, it's not there for anything other than the soup it contains.
Ribs I've generally just put on the racks and let them ride, with good temp control there's far less risk of them trying out. I'll admit that I'm not particularly good at smoking ribs just yet, and I don't really practice it much, so that doesn't help the cause.
brisket I just put straight on the rack. I'll actually be doing one this weekend. Wife is from Tx, so I have to periodically diversify.
Of course, none of this is healthy, so don't tell your doctor
most of my grill pictures make it to facebook but never over to my pbase account.