Cleaning Your Smoker ~ I just might start cleaning it More!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by smokinnascarfan, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. Ive been told for a while not to clean my BBQ Pitt. Ive been told you want the bbq pitt to build flavor. Ive never clean the walls of my pitt. I bought my smoker from Lang Smokers and they tell you not to clean the walls so it builds flavor. Well I took the Jacks Old South Cooking Class this past weekend and they clean their pit after every use with a pressure washer. 

    I heard that and was surprised. In the same class was two BBQ Teams from BBQ Pit-Masters and I ask them how they cleaned their pitt and they wait they pressure wash their pit as well. They get all that stuff on the walls of the smoker off. 

    I look inside Myron Mixon Smokers and they were all super cleaned. I ask them and they said thats the way they do it and they do contest with new bbq pits and win contest. They don't believe in the walls of the smoker building flavor. They clean all that stuff that builds on the walls off. We are talking about the biggest name in bbq here and he cleans his smokers with a pressure washer. My walls of my smoker are full of all kinds of flavor if thats what you want to call it. 

    If the pros clean their bbq pits super clean it must be the Right Way ~ Im kind of thinking Ive been doing it Wrong. I was told never to use a pressure washer on my smoker because it would remove all the flavor. Well Myron Mixon is the biggest name in bbq so Im sure he know a thing or two. Im going to clean my smoker a lot more Cleaner moving forward.
  2. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    To me it's not building flavor, I just don't want to expose pits such as my UDS to water when it isn't necessary.  All my pits get a scrape with a wire brush/ putty knife and blast of a torch/weed burner does things fine.

    The term bbq "pros" doesn't mean much to me...bbq sweet comp food and normal bbq are two different things entirely imho.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015
  3. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    While i am not a great bbq'r or smoker, I never clean mine. Just use my brush once in awhile to knock off the loose stuff.
  4. For me...I will not be power washing because as stated above...I don't want to expose it to any more water than is necessary.  I would think for the pit is purely a visual thing for the cameras.  I don't know.

    I would maybe wash it after smoking fish...I heard that the smoker can get kind of rank after that...but I don't have any first hand experience in that respect.
  5. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    IMHO... They have to keep them clean (says the sponsor). You are showing the public their product and they (manufactures) would much rather the public see their product all nice and clean and new looking... Image is a big part of sponsorship ..
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If I had to clean my smoker I'd quit smoking!
  7. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    Myron Mixon uses his own smoker brand. They are built for him. His name is on it.
  8. pansuco

    pansuco Newbie

    I was under the impression that you shoot some water in there either before or after your cook. Make sure the temp is up and then give it a quick spray...I was that steam cleans the chamber. Don't scrub the walls, just scrub the grates so you aren't eating last cook's rotten remains...that being said, I would be a liar if I told you I actually did that more than one time...
  9. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    So, how did you like the class?
  10. dougmays

    dougmays Limited Mod Group Lead

    I"m about to goto Lakeland Pigfest down here in FL and i'm going to do a "cleaning" but that will just consist of a light brushing/scraping of gunk off the top. The reason for this is once you get more and more layers of "flavor" sometimes they start to hang down and one competition i ruined a rack of ribs because i opened the foil on the top rack and and it brushed the gunk flakes onto my ribs.

    So my plan is to put some Full size pans of water in there and crank the heat up as hot as i can get for about a hour then do a light scrapping. Also i want to scrape any gunk build up at the bottom. But i agree not to do to much cleaning because having all that residue in there protects the metal from rusting and corrosion 
  11. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Please don't cook food in a nasty smoker, especially if I'm coming over.  Pit maintenance is quite simple as most of the above have stated, simply using a scraper and a small fire with a few sprays of the water hose.  I have a reverse flow, so after every cook, especially before a competition, I'll pull my grates out, scrape off the excess fat and grease that is built up on the RF plate, grates and walls, clean all that out, start me a small fire, then once it is going good and I'm running around 250 or so, I'll use the shower selection on my water nozzle to spray down the drain all the loosened up particles and grease.  I then put the grates back in and wire brush them down real good as well, then hit the grates with the water hose washing off all the loosened particles down the drain.  I don't believe they need to be pressure washed, just kept clean on a routine basis.  About once a year, I'll brush off the walls of any build up from the smoke and clean the exhaust out as well.  
  12. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I keep a heavy foil liner in the bottom of my offset, and that catches almost anything that drips. I have a DIY deflector catching drips but that's just a $3 piece of aluminum duct so it's easily replaced. I don't have a pressure washer so I want to take the grates to a car wash and blast them clean and rinsed.

    Clean for presentation - one funny example is the grocery store ad pictures when anything to grill is on sale. The grill is always virgin clean, the food is always perfectly grill-marked, and sometimes there isn't even a fire. Sometimes they'll photoshop some embers, flames or smoke into the image.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  13. I only clean the grates and the drip pan. Then I knock off the loose stuff from the top and walls. I make sure I get it up to temp and let it go for a while after my cooks. I am not saying their is anything wrong with a full steam clean after every smoke is a bad thing. It is just going to be me doing it. 

    Happy smoken.

  14. All I know is I clean my smoker and two weeks ago I closed the door and got some black stuff fall on my meat and thats not cool so I scraped the inside of my pit. I did not pressure wash it but I scraped the roof of the smoker. I did give it a steam bath. I just seen about 8 smokers and all were super pretty clean. Not all those smokers were smokers they use for TV. I was just asking them how they cleaned them. Moving forward I'm just going to clean my smoker more than I have without taking off too much where it starts rusting. I think the maker of my smoker tells you to keep it on the walls because if I did not it would rust. Myron's smokers are made with better metal. Before I gone to his class I started cleaning more after I got black stuff fall down. Im going to clean a little more. 

    As Far as the class ~ I think its one of those life time experiences. I wish you were able to record so you could just play it back over and over as Im one that don't get everything the first time. For example I watch him prep the whole pig but I can't go grab my own pig and expect to do it easy. I would have to watch a few more times. But he is by far the best famous person Ive had the chance to meet. How he opens up his home. He is a very good teacher and by far the best class Ive done yet. Sure he charges a lot of money but his class is well worth the money. I know the next time I bbq I will bbq better than I did before his class and anytime you can learn something its worth the investment. When I got home I was pricing what whole pigs cost so I can give it a shot but Pigs here in California are a little harder to find and up to $6 a pound. But If I would of took his class last year I would of done a pig for christmas. I just wish I would of shared notes with someone to make sure I did not miss anything. I wish a Facebook page existed of people that took the class so they can all share bbq after the class. But it was awesome !
  15. It sounds like it was well worth the time. It is fun to watch someone who is real good at what they do and they make it look so easy. $6 a LB for pig is crazy. I would post a wanted ad to Craigslist.

    Happy smoken.

  16. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I generally wire brush racks before and after each smoke and clean grease/water pan after each smoke, wire brush inside of smoker about 1x each month, and deep clean pressure wash 2x a year.
  17. joopster

    joopster Smoking Fanatic

    No los cleanos amigos.
  18. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I'm glad you enjoyed the class, it must have been an extremely fun experience! :)

    Do you  now or do you want to do comps?      Comp BBQ and backyard BBQ are just so different
  19. I want to try and do at least one comp this year. I need practice a little more before I do. I want a chance to place. 
  20. I just want to clarify...if I have black stuff falling on my meat, of course I will scrape it or wipe it down a bit.  That's a no brainer.  But giving it a little steam and a scrape, and power washing are two different things.

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