Cleaning electric smoker - fish smell and taste👃

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Original poster
Nov 29, 2022
I recently used oven cleaner and detail cleaned my entire smoker because I have done nothing but smoke salmon and tuna in it for years, and I wanna be able to smoke meat in it without the fish smell and taste. After all my cleaning, it still smells like fish - Any recommendations on how to remove the fish smell

I have used apple cider vinegar with warm water, I boiled lemon juice in it, and I used a commercial oven cleaner called members mark commercial

old sarge

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
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Nov 26, 2012
SE Arizona
Not cleaning but I would get some old cheap fatty meat and a strong smelling wood like mesquite or hickory and just smoke and season the smoker. One smell will usually cover up the other. Repeat as necessary.
Buy another smoker just for meat:emoji_wink:
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Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Jul 10, 2018
Algona IA
I cold smoke my fish in a cheap weber knock off. I don't want fish in my good smoker.


Master of the Pit
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Sep 19, 2018
South Carolina
What smoker? If it's a wood smoker, I'd do like old sarge old sarge suggested and burn some strong wood in it. Maybe use green or unseasoned wood and forget the thin blue smoke, have that thing rolling thick white smoke. Repeat as necessary, but it may take several times.

The more expensive route would be to buy another smoker specifically for meat, as others have suggested...


Meat Mopper
Nov 19, 2011
One thing I learned early. You need a designated fish smoker. The smell never goes away.


Master of the Pit
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Jun 30, 2018
SE Arizona
Since you've already used oven cleaner, you could try this odor eliminator.
It may take repeated spray applications to neutralize the fish odor.
Let the spray dry then rinse the inside really good with water.
Let the smoker completely dry out with door open for a day or two.
Then do a burnout at 275° with no wood for an hour.
If the fish smell is gone, then reseason with wood smoke.



Master of the Pit
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Jun 23, 2012
SF Bay Area, CA
If you still smoke a fair amount of fish, then yes, keep it dedicated for that. My MES40 is dedicated to fish.
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SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
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Nov 12, 2010
Dedicated fish smoker is the only way to go.. I've had one for 30+ years..

Totem Smoker.JPG

In the Smoker.JPG


Master of the Pit
Apr 25, 2015
Fire is your Friend. Get the smelly smoker as hot as you can; you want the flames lapping at the walls. If painted, you want the paint to bubble off.
If an offset, have a fire in both chambers.
It might work.
But I agree; fish needs its own smoker.
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