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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
OTBS Member
Sep 21, 2006
Western Kansas
I'm smoke'n a tri-tip that has been in fridge for a while. As I was prep'n it, I got to think'n about sanitation. I am no where near "clean". I clean my smoker, tools, etc. But I don't think I'm even close to pass'n an inspection. I also don't worry. I'm not a big fan of 0% bacteria. I do believe that by being exposed to certain bacteria that you build immunities. I believe by now I should be immune to just about everything

I could get really in deep w/this subject. But want to keep it simple.

My question is: How clean is your "area"? Incl. all things dealing w/your smoker, prep area, gloves, tongs, scrub brushes, foil, knives, cutting boards, and plates.

Do you worry much? I sure don't.
I keep my cutting boards, utensils and such 99% clean. I use a bleach spray and have a hot water dispenser that puts out 190* water. Now, that being said
, I am very lax on cleaning my smoker. I'm afraid that if I do anything more than cleaning the grates that I will lose the flavor I have built up in them over the years.

My motto is "No one has died yet from eating my food".
I'm with cajunsmoker. I keep the prep area and my hands clean when prepping or cutting finished product. The only part of the smoker that gets cleaned are the racks, water pan, and sometimes the outside of the door. I will wash a tool or utensil that touched uncooked foor if I use it again to handle finished product.

Take care, have fun, and do good!


Yep, I am w/ya all on tools used from raw to finished product. My smoker gets about the same treatment, racks & drip pan cleaned........about it. I use rubber gloves for prep, and a new sheet of alum foil(go through a lot of foil).

Was just curious, bet everyone is about the same.
Im pretty much the same way as the rest of yall about every 4 to 5 smokes I'll pull the racks out and take a brush and wide putty knife and scrape out the barrel. Dont want to loose all the seasoning.
I am most cautious with food and food by products when they are uncooked. Once cooked I relax a bit. Otherwise I am inline with you guys! I am especially careful with bought poultry. The chickens and turkeys I produce for food are really safe but I do not trust commercial birds and use extra caution.

i guess we are all about the same. i keep my tools, cutting boards, etc clean. i wash my hands alot anyway (i am OCD). i do not clean the smoker, other than the racks. i too go thru alot of foil. i will not re-use foil, except for foil covering a pan in the fridge.
Sure looks like we are all on the same page ... ditto for me! I do like to clean the grills and water pan after every use and wipe out the bottom of the smoker of any errant grease build-up. Like to leave a thin film as sort of a rust inhibitor.

Squeezy ;o)
I thought those square patches on the back of your jeans are for wiping your hands! Just kidding! I have had severe food poisoning a few times over the years from restaurants and other careless food vendors. So I am overly cautious about food sanitation, ya couldn’t tell it by my workshop though.
I’m a real stickler about brine and cooking temps and food sitting out (cooked or uncooked). I keep a spray bottle of peroxide on my sink and am constantly washing my hands and my utensils. But when it comes to my smoker, the only things that ever see soap are my grates, grease & water pans! I figure if God wanted us to clean our smokers he would have put Zout in the pork fat!
I am actually getting ready to go spray fertilizer so don't have time now. I would like to find something on the web that is a brief "sanitation" guide for any newbies, or oldies. Getting into busy season, good to "refresh" ourselves on the "dangers" of food prep to the plate. The whole bit of 40-140*, ecoli, etc.

I hope to find a top "10" list of sanitation, or even a video.

Glad everyone is on the same page. I tend to get a little "lax"(but not w/these ditto marks today). After food is cooked to proper temp, I tend to worry much less. I'm not the best, or worst, but need to be reminded myself.

"It takes a village to keep everyone sanitary".................ok that was pure bs and a jab at democraps. OOOOOOOO politics and food............#1 on the "do not mix" for sanitation! Just a joke, don't take me serious

Take care, and as Meowey always says:
Take care, have fun, and do good! I'll add "be safe".
here's a start

top ten


1. Store all raw animal foods on the bottom of the refrigerator. Raw meat, fish, eggs and poultry can drip onto ready-to-eat foods causing potentially fatal foodborne illness.

2. Cool foods quickly. Don’t let hot foods cool at room temperature … use a shallow pan on the top rack of the refrigerator. Hot foods should be cooled to 40° F within 2 hours.

3. Don’t thaw frozen foods at room temperature. Always thaw frozen foods on the bottom shelf in the refrigerator, in the microwave or under cold, running water in less than an hour.

4. Use different cutting boards for raw foods. Any surface touched by raw animal foods can transfer deadly bacteria, parasites and viruses. Use a red cutting board only for raw animal foods to avoid cross contamination.

5. Reheat those leftovers to at least 170° F!

6. Wash your hands for 20 seconds! Poor hygiene, such as not washing hands after touching raw foods, using the toilet, smoking, coughing or touching any contaminated surfaces, is a leading cause of foodborne illness. Virtually all soaps are “anti-bacterial” – it is the friction from scrubbing that actually cleans.

7. Keep it hot, keep it cold … or don’t keep it at all. Meats, fish, poultry, eggs, sliced melons, rice, beans, tofu and sprouts are all very susceptible to rapid bacteria growth before and after cooking. Food should be kept below 40°F or above 140°F. Also: Don’t keep food in the refrigerator longer than 7 days.

8. Cook all food thoroughly. All animal foods should be cooked to at least 170 ° F to kill bacteria, parasites and viruses which cause foodborne illness. Use a thermometer with a metal stem to check the temperature immediately after cooking.

9. Buy and eat food at only approved sources. If you buy bargain food from the “back of a truck” or eat at non-licensed establishments, you’re asking for trouble.

10. When in doubt, throw it out! If you have any suspicion that a food might be spoiled --- including an uncharacteristic odor or color or damaged packaging – throw it out. It simply isn’t worth the risk.
the insides my smokers themselves dont get cleaned regularly but the grills on them get cleaned every use...

hands get washed about 100 times everytime i cook (us to get paid to cook and it became a habit)
I guess I'm kind of freaky about raw food, I wash my hands a lot. I also clean my grates when used, but the inside doesn't get cleaned too often... so that puts me in with the rest of the class
Most of my house has a sort of "lived in look" but that to be expected with 8 rooms of stuff in 5 rooms.

Anyway ...

I'm rather anal about my cooking / prep areas. One litttle trick I learned brewing beer was to use no rinse One Step Sanitizer to sanitize everything before I brew. This has carried over to all of my cooking / prep areas. I sanitize all surfaces, bowls, boards and tools before I prep.

I do not clean the insides of my smoker I just brass brush the stuff that sticks. The grates get brushed and bake/cleaned in the oven every now and again and sanitized. I also soak my brass brush in sanitizer before and after using it.
Teacup ,your post says it all pretty much......clean is just that ( soap and water ,no visable dirt or build up ) sanitary means killing all the invisable bacteria ,via ,chemical or heat sanitation......remember folkes the 3 C's of meat !! keep it ....Clean ....Cold ....and keep it Covered !!
T-bone Tim :)
I'm a strong believer in powderless latex exam gloves. They keep my hands off the meat (and the meat off my hands) and make applying rub a lot easier. I keep a box of them around all the time. Wear them filleting fish, gutting deer, breasting turkey and doves, etc.
My ECB is "as is", and has been since 1975. Brush and clean the racks & pans. Have to fess up I power washed the outside of it last summer cause Jane said I had to. Didn't help, wasted time, still looks as nice as it always did. ;)
I keep grinders, cutting areas, knives, stuffers, etc., clean and sanitized with clorox. I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer around at all times. I clean the gunk from the bottom of my BBQ pits with a shovel and take a pear burner to burn off and clean the grates. A stainless steel wire brush is always handy to brush the grill off. I process a lot of game and do not take chances with it. I may occasionally use the squares on the seat of my pants to wipe my hands, but that is just because I could not find a clean towel. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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