Remember the key to smoker cleaning is heat, hence preferably clean it after using it and letting it slightly cool down. It should still remain warm to the touch. Since smoking is essentially a cooking process, it is only natural the smoker will darken over use.
This darkening is actually helpful in preventing rust and even aids smoking. Detach all its wires, turn them off, and secure the space. That means cover anything that is around the smoker using newspapers or tarpaulins; drips or lumps may even damage your floors.
If you don’t have an electric smoker, then take a look at my guide to the best electric smokers
Step 1: Remove Shelves, Water Pan, Drip Pan, Ash from the Ash Tray
The smoker box is as you know, where the wood pellets burn to smoke your food. The ash deposits at the bottom. Remove the tray; it should be easily removable. Dispose of the ash. If the ash is still warm however, it may start fires, so in that case, place it in a noncombustible container. The shelves, the water pan and the drip pan ought to be dishwasher safe, so just pop them in there, and that should take care of itself.
If however, a dishwasher is unavailable, the first step would be to use a metal scraper for scraping off the grease off the trays. The next step would be to use warm soapy water to clean them, using a grill brush for added friction and better cleansing.
Step 2: Clean the Smoker from the Inside
The next step would be to clean the smoker’s inside. Remember to go at it top to bottom. That means scrape the top first using a metal scraper, and then the sides, to remove the built up residues of grease and grime.
Remember to clean out the fallen residues of grease and dust from the bottom of the smoker. After that is done, use warm soapy water to gently rinse the top, the sides, and the bottom.
Step 3: Clean the Smoker’s Glass Window
In some instances, you may find it to be the case that there is grease and grimes deposits even on the glass. In such instances kindly remember to scrape the grease off of the glass using wood, or perhaps a plastic scraper, and not a metal one.
We would have on our hands a scratched window that prevents us from seeing the process in action. The fog will dissipate and all will be well again. Remember your smoker will never be as spotless as it once was, but so long as it is clean you are good to go.
Step 4: Assemble and Fire up Smoker
With all that cleaning in place, now is the time to reassemble our smoker. Put it back exactly as before, in place. You may use a manual if your memory falters. Once it has been assembled…blast it. Blast it on the highest of heats for half an hour or so.
This is done to ensure the excess and/or remnants of water and suds evaporated into thin air. While it is possible to simply pat the smoker dry using a paper towel, that requires further air drying by leaving the smoker door open for more than 1 hour.
But whatever you do, never close up your smoker and put it away while it is still damp. That is a recipe for disaster, it basically guarantees mold.
Step 5: Oil Your Cooking Grates
After the previous step, once your smoker has cooled down, steep a paper towel in oil, vegetable preferably, and use tongs to oil your cooking grates. This is a necessary step to prevent rusting, and to prolong the smoker’s life. It also prevents the sticking of dust and grime.
Step 6: In the Case of Mold
It is often the case, sad to say, we find mold brewing up in our cooking area. Disgusting, we know, but hey, if it is any consolation, it is only inevitable if the smoker remains unused for extended periods of time. Some users reported finding larvae and maggots in their smokers. Such insects breed and are born in environments of dust, grime, grease and bacteria. Ughhh. And also, ewww.
The answer to your dilemmas rests with us, hence worry not good friends! And simply do the following. Take a bowl that is microwave and heat-safe and fill it up to the brim with water. Boiling water. Make it super-hot. And then proceed to place this bowl of boiling water in the smoker, and blast it again.
You heard us, blast that bad boy on the highest setting. This ought to kill off any and all maggots and rid you of your troubles with the troublesome mold. The next steps are elementary, my dear Watsons. Wipe down the smoker, scrape off the residues, and resume normal cleansing routine and functions.
Step 7: Clean the Smoker’s Exterio
This is one of the easier steps. It goes something like this. Take warm water, warm soapy water, and get a sponge. Douse the sponge in your warm soapy water—or a damp cloth, whichever is available—and scrub and wipe the smoker’s outside.
The door seal is an important but often overlooked aspect in cleaning appliances of such a nature. Give it a good rub, will you? It is necessary. A great deal of dust and grime, and maybe grease, tends to form and deposit in those nooks as well.
The next part is the fun one. Take a garden hose or a water pipe, set it to the lower settings—and let it rip. Take it easy though, we do not want to damage the merchandise. If your smoker is made up entirely of stainless steel, as some tend to be, or if it has a glass viewing window, which some do; do remember to use the right tools in such cases.
The right tools in question would be a glass cleaner, as well as a stainless steel cleaner. These are detergent-like foams or mousses; cleaners basically, with the express purpose of squeaky cleaning your stuff. If you use a protective cover then you will not need as much to clean your electric smoker.
Don’t forget to check out our guide: How to clean Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
Well friends that is how you are to go about cleaning your electric smokers. We discussed the best way to clean an electric smoker. Happy cleaning!