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Newbie Smoker


Joined Oct 12, 2016
I am smoking my first chicken this weekend.  We bought a smoker at a garage sale that is full of years cooking grime on the inside.  My husband says that I should not clean it off.  Is that correct and is it safe?  Thanks for any help.


Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Sep 7, 2013
SOrsucci, welcome to SMF!  Be sure to stop over at Roll Call and say "hi" to everyone.  That's where folks look for new members.

A certain amount of buildup in a smoker is good, but it is usually smoke related caked on the top and sides of the smoker from grease that has mixed with the smoke.  It helps seal the smoker. 

If the smoker hasn't been used in a long time though, it can become loose and start looking flaky, like it is going to fall off onto the meat.  If that's the case use a grill brush to scrap off the loose stuff, then rinse it out of the smoker.  If there is a greasy looking buildup in the bottom of the smoker's cooking chamber from old fat drippings, go ahead and wash/scrub that out too.

You may get some more ideas here too.

Hope that helps.

Be sure to use the search feature to get some ideas for tasty, smoked chicken. 

Have fun!



SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
I would just add to scrub the grates. They need to be clean.

After you have everything cleaned I would fire it up empty, & run it at 275-300 for a couple of hours with wood for smoke.

Then it will be ready for your chicken.


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