How Often Should I Clean My Smoker?

Bbq smoker that filled with oils and stain.

Setting up your smoker properly from the beginning can help you get the most out of your smoker. Several smokers will need seasoning before use, and the others will require occasional repair and repainting. In addition, all smokers will require regular cleaning even after every use.

Generally speaking, clean your smoker after two or four cooking sessions. Grill grates should be scraped clean before every usage, and you should remove any clumps of fats to avoid the oil-catching fire and to emit foul fumes that can spoil your food.

After every second cook, make a point of cleaning out your charcoal smoker. Electric and gas smokers create a lesser mess and only require cleanup after more than four cooking sessions.

What To Look For When Cleaning Your Smoker


According to most pros, rust is the most severe threat to the quality and durability of your smoker’s metal parts. Some smokers need “seasoning” to avoid corrosion. Smoker owners’ manuals often provide instructions on how to season their smokers properly after purchasing.

If your manufacturer fails to provide instructions, the procedure is straightforward. Use some oil to lubricate the interior of your smoker, and any oil is allowed. It is best to use a sweet-smelling oil since it will enhance the flavor of the meat. Approximately 250 ° F should be the target temperature when heating up the smoker, and setting the smoker temperature to this level makes the oil spread evenly. As a barrier, the oil keeps water and air from interacting to create rust.

However, the seasoning mentioned above is optional for a small subset of smokers. To use such a smoker, heat it to 250°F. This emitted smoke will create a protective smoke layer on the interior of your smoker to guard against corrosion.

Food Deposits

Food residue will build upon the lining of your smoker soon after you have finished smoking. Food residue stains the inside of your smoker, making it seem filthy. The food particles may potentially bring harmful pathogens to your body. The simplest method to clear off food residues is to scrape them out of the smoker after use. When it comes to getting food residues out, you do not have to get all the way down to the metal.


The amount of tar you will get depends on the kind of wood you are using, and wood produces tar differently. In humid conditions, smoking food may create much tar. In these conditions, water may interact with tar, forming black droplets that may contaminate the food. It might drastically alter the flavor of your meal. It would help if you scraped to get rid of it. If you want to keep your smoker clean, watch out for tar buildup! It becomes difficult to remove as it builds up.

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Taking Out the Grease

Remove any grease buildup from your grill by cleaning and scraping the grate. Clear the grease tray and clean out the grease hole if your smoker includes any of these features. Maintain the cleanliness of your drip tray at all times. Avoid letting fat drop over the fire by placing your grease tray immediately under your meat.

However, after many cooking sessions, oil drips may accumulate on grill grates and at the bottom of the smoker, even if grease pans are used to collect meat juices. Over time, this oil will become worse, and when heated, it may transform into foul fumes that are emitted into the cooking chamber and have an adverse effect on the flavor and texture of your meat.

Grease Pans

Grease pans are a common feature in smokers, where grease juices are collected. Typically, the greased pan is a tray that slips out from the smoker’s bottom. Make sure the bottom of your smoker has an opening where grease may drop and collect in the greased pan underneath. If you are cleaning your smoker, ensure the grease hole is not clogged, as well as remove the drip tray so you can thoroughly clean it.

Ash Build-up

If you are cooking with a charcoal smoker, make sure the ash is cleared out of the basket. A buildup of ash may force your flame to die. Ventilation may be hindered when there is an excessive ash buildup, and your fire will not get enough oxygen if the smoker does not have enough airflow. Over time, the ash in the bottom of your smoker may corrode the metal, so use a brush and pan to clean it up.

Grill Grates

Once they are still heated, use a stiff brush to remove food residue from the frying grates. Grates may pick up contaminants from your foods, so make sure they are free of muck and oil before putting any meat on there. We do not want any black smoke coming from our barbecue because of filthy grates. It is necessary to be careful while cleaning racks that have a protective coating. Be careful not to scratch the grills with metal brushes or scrapers. Thus, it would avoid corrosion of the grills.

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It is possible that if you have not used your smoker for a long, it will develop mold because of lack of maintenance. Contaminated moisture leads to the growth of mold, which may settle on the grill’s grates and cook chamber walls. Lighting your smoker and letting it burn off any mold before cleaning and scraping is the easiest solution to get rid of it.

Before storing your smoker for a long time, ensure it is clear of oil and moisture to prevent mold growth. Make sure your smoker has enough ventilation and that it is kept in a dry place. Do not cover your smoker with a blanket to keep the moisture out, leading to mold growth. For storing in the storage, remove the lid or open the vents.

How To Wash Different Parts Smoker?


In terms of importance, this is arguably the most critical part of your smoker. Make sure it has fully cooled before cleaning since it will keep you safe and prevent injury to the circuitry. When it is cool, remove any unwanted particles. Hand removal or bristle brush removal are also viable options. Afterward, wash your hands with soap and warm water. Make sure you wash everything well before you put anything back in. Dry it off with a clean, dry towel when you are done.


You should clean removable internal parts. It is essential to clean these parts after each usage to keep them in good condition. For removing oil and food particles, a bristle brush is an excellent tool to use. For stainless-steel components, you may want to use a stiffer brush. Since it is stainless steel, a more rigid brush will not damage it.

You are cleaning your smoker with a bar of soap, and a warm water solution after brushing is recommended. Make sure that all of the parts have been adequately cleaned. Due to their high rust resistance, these parts should be left to dry and allowed to dry before re-using the smoker. 

In this way, you can be confident that no water will enter the electric smoker’s interior during use. After that, use vegetable oil by spritzing it on its parts. It keeps them looking clean and prevents the meat from sticking to the pans or pan surfaces.

Also Read:  Best Wood for Smoking Chicken


Externally, wash the smoker with a wet towel and soap solution. When you are finished, wipe it down with a clean, dry towel. Air-drying your smoker’s exterior may make it vulnerable to rusting.

There is no difference in the procedure for a glass-encased smoker. Use a soap solution to clean and prepare a dry towel for drying. When having a glass exterior, you must exercise additional caution to prevent injury to either you or the smoker.


There is a good chance certain portions of the smoker are being overlooked. People often ignore the fact that these areas may get filthy as well. Knobs are prone to the accumulation of grease and soot, and defective knobs may not work properly.

With a soft cloth and some water, clean the knobs. Let them air dry or use a dry towel to remove any remaining moisture. In most cases, cleaning is considerably more straightforward if you can take the knobs off. It makes it possible to wash thoroughly while also making it simple to do so.


Investing in a high-quality smoker can ensure that your smoker lasts for many years. Also, keep in mind that the greater care you give your smoker, the better-tasting your meals will be. The secret to the perfect barbecue adventure is understanding your equipment, so purchasing a smoker includes not just a monetary commitment but also the time spent using, maintaining, and learning about your beloved smoker.

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