Depending on the size of your smoker and how often it is used; I could understand using a cleaner on the racks before the first cook of the season. But you are getting rid of your seasoning if you apply abrasive cleaners after each cook. Certainly you want to get rid of excess creosote and drippings. But you should not need to do more than to brush the grates clean. If I get a chance I will film my cleaning technique post a link of me cleaning my cookers.
- categorySmokerstagged by System, 8/4/10
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SMOKER CLEANING - Page 9
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Cleaning racks after smoking is a bit of a problem. They don't fit into my dishwasher (too big). What do other use to wash them in?
I'm thinking of getting a used plastic barrel, cutting the end off (the end the barrels fill from) and making a vertical "tank" that I can slip them down into, wash and then remove for the rinse. Anyone have any other suggestions?
That is a durn good idea. I've been wishing I had some kind of tub or tray I could soak my WSM grills in. A barrel might be just the thing.!
Smart thinkin there , brother!
My daughter-in-law has a dairy business and gets disinfectant chemicals in small barrels that are about 25 gallons. Cutting off the top plus a little more would leave just enough to fit all six of my racks in the barrel at one time. I could put some detergent in there, soak the racks and then scrub the off, rinse them good and I'm all set to go again.
Should be a simple "fix" to my cleaning problem. Glad you also picked up on that and hope it works for you.
clean my smokers?? I don't get it?? that's illegal in some states isn't it? lol. good scrape once a year and a wet rag and your good to go. racks and pans ect every time before and after for me
"Burning off" the grates/racks works fine for my grill but NOT for my smoker. I clean the racks (as you do) before the next smoking project. The inside of the smoker box is another story, so thus far have NOT wiped it down.
I live in North Carolina as we have seasons, it is not a drastic as other parts of the country. I can say this, I have 6 smokers and the only time I have had a problem with mold is in my verticals and that was 1 time several years ago. All of my barrel type or my off set smokers, I have yet to see any mold. When I have finished cookin on any smoker, usually I will clean it out the next day by hosing it out with water but I leave the renderings on the grates until the next cook. I leave them open until they are completely dry on the inside. If your smoker is properly seasoned, you shouldn't have to worry to much about rust. I do on a annual basis preform a "deep clean" on my smokers and after they dry I re season them with a heavy coat of lard and my favorite mix of wood and charcoal for at least 8 hours. That puts the flavor back in the smoker. As far as the grease build up in the bottom, I will usually scrap that out with a putty knife and usually as long as you don't scrub the metal seasoning will remain.
I keep some degreaser and water mixed in a plastic tub with lid- I toss the racks and pans in it overnight then clean with soapy water-everything just rinses off like new.
I wipe the walls down with the degreaser solution when I notice drips and spills on the walls- then rinse with water. I think the inside can always use a wipe down or cleaning but nothing as serious as trying to remove all the smoke.
If I were to remove the smoke- then I would re-season again before cooking.
To me its just a matter of keeping it sanitary.
Smoker sniffers: I thought I was the only one to do that!
Wife sees me walk by the smoker and says what you doin hon?
I mumble under my breath oh nothing, jus smellin the smoker.
Your doing what?
I said I was just chasin a gopher! you dont want them in your garden do you?
Works every time and she dont even have a garden!
My MES 40 needs to have the water pan be emptied and cleaned after each use, the drip pan in the bottom likewise. I usually take the racks out and spray them off and replace but not always, depending on what I cooked. Wipe down the window with a soapy paper towel then dry it with another paper towel. Then I turn it on to 275 for one hour and that thoroughly dries out everything and its good to go.
Failed to do that a while back and when I went out to use it about a month later there was fuzzy green stuff everywhere. That required lots of cleaning! Then an hour at highest temp with some smoke chips to re-season it. Kept my mouth shut les wife would see that mess. She would have never eaten anything from it forever after. Was really nasty.
They make wood burning stove glass cleaner...
I don't know much about the electric smoker but cleaning the pan and anything at the bottom that would have heavy accumulations of fat and or grease can and should be cleaned. The aroma of a well seasoned smoker is a wonderful thing. Rancid fat is not. We clean the trays with a wide putty knife as they are too big to go in a dishwasher. Beyond that, I wouldn't fool with it.
I foil my bottom pan and the water pan for easy clean up. Racks get hand washed and then in the diswasher.
Same here.....foiling the bottom tray and drip pan saves me from some excess cleaning and the dishwasher does a great job after I clean and rinse the racks. I recently had a flare up in the smoker and I am thinking of wiping down the walls to get off any possible incidents of creosote in the smoker and re-seasoning.
I have both an electric smoker (Smokin'-It #2) and a Big Green Egg. While I'm meticulous about keeping the racks clean, and in the case of the Smokin'-It, the outside stainless steel, I never clean the insides. I agree with those people who say a well seasoned smoker makes for the best tasting food.
Once a year I fill my BGE with fresh charcoal and build a very hot fire to burn off some of the grease that has built up on the inside ceramic surface, and include the top vent piece as well. Other than that, I don't clean the interior of either smoker.
Last fall I had a roadtrip to the upper mid-west and visited 6 places where they smoke fish fresh from Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. (Totally amazing taste!) I asked them about cleaning since their smokers were thick with creosote. To a one they all said that once a year they scrape off some of the excess materials from the interior surface, but they stressed that their smokers run 365 days a year for at least 10 hours a day. The amount of buildup they'd experience is way beyond what even the most enthusiastic backyard smoker would encounter. I can only say that their product is the best smoked fish I've ever eaten, with no aftertaste related to the cresote buildup.
I've attached a picture of one place, Booker's in Algoma, WI, to show what their build-up is like.
"I'm stealing the idea of soaking the grates in a cut off bottom of a plastic barrel though."
Wasn't my original idea either but having read some of the other posts, its sounds like great minds think alike. If it works for one, it may work for another and I fine with that.
- SMOKER CLEANING
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