Hi. I'm noggin, and I have a dirty smoker.

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Dec 27, 2013
As the title says, my smoker is filthy. I've owned this particular smoker for about seven years and it has never had a proper cleaning. The inside of the thing is covered in, what I assume is, soot. It generally stays put, but I've had it drop flakes onto the meat on more than one occasion. I just watched a YouTube video of a guy giving his 10 year review of the same smoker I have, though it is definitely an earlier model. His smoker had a fair amount of rust on it, but otherwise the inside was just about as clean as mine was after I did maybe a handful of cooks on it.

My smoker is a GMG pellet smoker, so I know that I have some electronics to be careful of. Other than that, is it safe to wheel it out into the grass and soak the inside of the cooking area with oven cleaner or citrus cleaner, then spray with a water hose? Will either of those cleaners harm my (dormant) grass? Is there a better way to clean? I did try to clean with a scraper once, but that just created a massive mess and seems to be what started the soot-rain onto the meats for the next few cooks.
Hm, I’ve never used any chemicals on my equipment. I only scrape, vacuum, and occasionally warm soap and water. The flakes are creosote and normal. I’ve heard of others using oven cleaner, but I haven’t. I’d go with citrus if you really feel the need, but damp cloth to remove. Personally, I also wouldn’t hose down. Make sure you do a run after to make sure all dried out!
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Just use a flexible putty knife to scrape all the surfaces the vacuum it all out. Take your time and get it all. Make sure you scrape and remove any standing or built up grease..... then run it for 90min at 400 deg to burn off all the old grease. Do the burn off away from the house or other things that could burn....after it has cooled scrape and vacuum again.
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I don't know how delicate the electrical parts of your smoker are. (Don't have a pellet smoker).

I use compressed air on the inside of my WSM and a weed burner on the grates, (Once removed from the smoker).
Thanks everyone.

I scraped the heck out of the inside of the smoker yesterday and then used a shop vac to pick everything up. I then scraped the inside of the chimney with some scrap aluminum, holy hell was that chimney clogged. Doing three racks of ribs right now, and the smoker is purring along. I've been having a huge amount of air flow issues, I think largely because the chimney was blocking most of the air flow. A lot of the smoke was coming out of the hopper.

Fingers crossed that my good luck (exhaling through the chimney, not the hopper) continues.
Sounds like you've done a good job of cleaning.

Gotta wonder why the exhaust was so clogged.?

No personal offense meant, but that is a disturbing avatar you've got there. :emoji_astonished:
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