How to Clean a Smoker the Right Way

Written By Alla Levin
June 05, 2019
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Cleaning a Smoker the Right Way

If you own a smoker, you probably know the scene: you’re ready for some awesome brisket or some smoked pork, you walk out to the smoker, open the lid, and stare down at the grease-and-ash-encrusted grill in dismay.

We know, we know – there’s probably nothing you want to do less than clean your smoker.

But here’s the thing: cleaning a smoker isn’t a matter of keeping things clean but of creating the tastiest, best food you can. You don’t want your food to taste like it was dropped in some charcoals, right?

That’s why we’ve created our handy guide on how to clean a smoker the right way. That also includes tips for when you need to do a once-over (thank goodness) and when you really need to get in there and scrub.

How to Clean a Smoker: The Basics

People often think cleaning is awful because, more often than not, they let the cleaning stack up and then they have to spend hours undoing their work.

Would it amaze you to know there’s an easier way? That’s right – simply give your smoker a quick cleaning (wipe away grease spots and pieces of leftover food) and empty out the ash/drip tray. Simple!

See, a smoker really gets tough to clean when you’ve cooked for a large number of hours without ever cleaning it. That’s when you get the heavy buildup of grease and grime that takes some serious scrubbing.

If you give your smoker a little love between each cooking session, it’ll cut down on the overall amount of cleaning you need to do later on (when a more intensive cleaning is required).

Deep Cleaning

After every couple of months (or about 50 hours of cook time), it becomes necessary to give your smoker a deep clean.

You might want to avoid this, but this is where issues can arise – improperly cleaning can cause significant electronic issues with the stove, as well as potentially clogging the augur (which you want to avoid if you’ve got the best pellet smoker out there).

Use these in-depth tips for how to clean a smoker:

  • Do not get any of the insides of the smoker wet (this can damage electrical components)
  • Always make sure the smoker is cold when you start
  • Empty the drip tray and place tin foil in it – this makes the next cleaning easy
  • Empty pellet hopper prior to cleaning (wet pellets = clogged augur)
  • Try cleaning the grates and other removable components with hot, soapy water outside of the grill
  • Use a vacuum to remove ash and debris that has fallen inside the smoker

Ultimately, cleaning a smoker is a labor of love – what you put in is what you get out, so make sure to put in the extra elbow grease. The food you make next will be that much better for it.

Now What?

Now that you’re an expert on how to clean a smoker, you might be wondering what else we can teach you.

No worries – just continue reading our blog for more tips and insights.

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