How To Clean Your BBQ Smoker

Cleaning And Maintaining Your Grills And Smoker The Easy Way

Toronto BBQ Cleaning And Repair Services has been specializing in BBQs and BBQ food for a very long time. We can assure you that greasy grill grates and carbon buildup on the lid does not improve the flavor of your meat.

Mold, Carbon crust, Rotten dead bugs, and bug feces at the bottom of your grease-covered BBQ or smoker is not something I want to put in my or my family’s stomach. When grease burns, it makes acrid smoke that can not only harm your meat but it can also make you sick. My favorite expression is “A clean grill is a good grill“.

A black barbecue ready for grilling a slow cook pulled pork and ribs

Cleaning your cooking grills

The black burnt-on crust that you see on the BBQ grills is mostly carbon. It doesn’t only taste bad, but carbon insulates the grills and sticks to food. You can see how important keeping your grill clean is. Your family’s health and your food can be negatively impacted..

How To Seasoning a Smoker

Smokers can typically be used without too much preparation, but it is still a good idea to fire it up at least 10 to 20 minutes before you put your food on. This will burn off some of the unwanted bugs, bug feces, spider webs, fungus, and other gross things inside the BBQ. Larger smokers usually need to be seasoned more. Your instruction manual will show you how to season your grill in detail, but I’ll give you a lesson on how to season a smoker.

Seasoning a smoker is almost like seasoning a cast iron pan.

  1. Coat the entire inside surface with cooking oil. You can use practically any kind of cooking oil that you have in your kitchen.
  2. Once you have oiled up your grills, you need to heat that oil to a temperature that will allow it to seep into every imperfection in the metal surface of the smoker. This creates a barrier that will allow water to slip down and keep your smoker from rusting up. Use a standard charcoal fire to heat the smoker to a temperature of around 250 to 275 F. Any temperature higher than this may damage the paint on your smoker. Many models, particularly the cheaper vertical water smokers, can shed their paint at temperatures as low as 300 F.
  3. Make sure the chimney is wide open to create a good airflow. If you are adding wood to the firebox during seasoning to create additional smoke, make sure to use the same type of wood that you plan to use when smoking meat.
  4. Let the smoker remain at the elevated temperature for 2 to 3 hours. If you will be immediately cooking, allow the temperature to drop to 225 F or so before adding meat.

If the manufacturer of your smoker doesn’t recommend this kind of
seasoning, it is still a good idea to fire it up once to a temperature
above 250 F. before your first cooking session. This helps eliminate any
contamination from the smoker and helps you get the hang of using it.
Whether or not you are seasoning your smoker or just making a test run,
it’s important that you generate smoke during heating. The oily smoke
residue leaves a protective surface over the smoker that prevents rust
by repelling water. Allow enough ventilation to keep the fire going and
to make sure that you don’t create a layer of creosote. Creosote
is a tar-like substance that is a by-product of incomplete burning of
wood. This is nasty stuff that is both toxic and a fire hazard—you never
want creosote in your smoker.

The Importance of Cleaning a Smoker

Once your smoker has been properly seasoned, you must keep your smoker clean and properly maintain its protective coating.
This is done by removing the ashes and food build-up from the smoker
but taking care not to scrub the smoker down to the bare metal. You may
need to clean out the smoker completely from time to time and re-season
it, but it is critical for you to maintain the oily, smoky surface over
the metal to prevent rusting.

This is can be a tricky balance to achieve. The protective oily
coating must be maintained, but the ash and grease must be
regularly removed. Ash allowed to sit for long periods can absorb water
and oil and cause the firebox to rust. Because grease can also trap
water against the metal, large deposits must be gently scraped away.

Though many users neglect this duty, a smoker should be cleaned free of ashes and grease deposits after every use. The long life of your smoker depends on it, not to mention the taste of your smoked foods.

Repairing a Smoker

When you clean your smoker, always keep a close eye out for rust.
Give your smoker an extra-thorough inspection from time to time to make
sure that you don’t have any rust forming, and remove it completely as
soon as you spot it. Scrub the smoker out with a good wire brush and
some sandpaper. Clean the area and immediately repaint it with heat-resistant “barbecue” paint. Try to use good-quality paint,
which will pay off in the long run. Remember, when it comes to painting
metal, you need to get to the bare metal before you paint, or it
won’t properly adhere to the metal.

If you are seeking a BBQ Cleaning Service to come refresh your BBQ then it’s best to call us at BBQ Services where we can clean, repair, and tune up your BBQ. 

Please comment below with any questions or comments.

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