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SEASONED or DIRTY ?

gary s

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SEASONED or DIRTY ?


It’s been a while since I posted anything about Smoker Cleaning.

Texas Monthly (a Magazine about Texas) for those of you who don’t live in our Great State, had an article about “Seasoned or Dirty Smokers” which got me motivated to Post this.

I have always been of the opinion a Clean Smoker produces better BBQ. I’ve known quite a few people who swear by Never Cleaning their Smoker, They say, “It’s Seasoned” and that’s where the flavor comes from. I Could not Disagree More. One guy I know said “My Parents have a BBQ Place and they NEVER clean their smoker”. That was good information “I’ll know not to eat there!!



I have, and always will clean my smoker.

I’m a stick burner so here is how I clean mine.

I start when I first fire up my smoker, I use my weed burner to get my fire going.

Then I use it to heat up the inside of my smoker. really going over my grates and make sure they are burned off; I also blow the flames up the smokestack to burn it off as well. I then give the grates a good brushing.

After I’ve finished smoking, I’ll throw another split or two in the fire box and get that Temp up. I take my water hose and spray the grates, stack and inside. You would be surprised how much stuff comes out. I do this after every smoke.



Depending on how much I smoke determines how many times I do a Super Cleaning. When I do this, I take out my grates and my RF plate (I have a Reverse Flow) I scrape everything down, fire up my pressure washer and give everything a thorough Cleaning.

Nothing Like a fresh clean smoker.

The only time a smoker needs to be seasoned is when you first get it or build it. You want to burn off all the contaminants, factory oils or anything else that may have adhered to the inside.

I build a big fire in the fire box and let it burn for a while, then I spray the inside and the grates with cooking oil. Sometimes I’ll use Bacon grease mixed with cooking oil. Then I let it go till the fire burn out. That’s it, the only time I season.

So, a Dirty Smoker is NOT a Seasoned Smoker, it’s just a dirty smoker. If you haven’t cleaned you smoker in a long time, give it a good cleaning and see the difference. And don’t forget the stack, Lots of creosote buildup.
 

Bearcarver

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That all sounds like Great Advice!!!
I often wish I had a Non-electric Smoker, so I could do All of the things Gary does to clean his.
Thanks Gary---This should help a lot of Smokers here!!
Like.

Bear
 

Misplaced Nebraskan

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Great post Gary! Not gonna lie, other than cleaning the grates, I've always been a "let it ride" person. I think I based that on commercial places that have pits that are many moons old and was convinced they could put a shoe in them and they'd come out tasting great due to years of build up or "seasoning".

My own realization was after 2 years of using my pellet rig. Initially, there were great cooks, amazing smoke rings, better flavor profiles. After heavy use, it seemed as if quality was degraded. I finally tore it all apart and scraped off the walls of soot and remnants. Not a full bore clean with water and scrubbing, but took those layers off. The next cook was noticeably better to both the wife and I.

Not saying that it's the right way, but I clean it out a bit more often now. The kettles and other pits don't seem to build up as much stuff cause I run those at high temps often. The pellet rig was dedicated to smoking and really never went over 325°F on the rare occasion.
 

JC in GB

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Good post. I scrape my grates and clean the bottom of the smoker every cook. Run a wire brush through the output stack every 3 or 4 cooks. Probably should do that more often.

I also spray the grates with cooking spray every few cooks just to make sure I get no rust.

About every 5 or 6 cooks, I will run my pit at 350F for an hour to burn off any grease or food particles left on the grates or smoker walls. That takes care of any creosote or grease buildup on the walls.

I also empty the grease pan every cook.

I only use water on the outside of the smoker.

I think that a smoker that is just dripping with fat and smoke residue is nasty.

My $0.02

JC :emoji_cat:
 

sawhorseray

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I take a wire brush to the grates of my offset every cook, and scrape out the CC with a stiff putty knife. My SQ36 has a grease drain so everything that comes off gets scraped to that and out. I'll wad up a old tee shirt and push it thru the stack with a broom stick, then wipe out the rest of the CC with it. No water on the inside, not gonna do it. Wipe down the outside with a damp towel. RAY
 

chopsaw

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Timely post . Went out to cut the grass , and noticed a stale smell from my MES 30 . So I set the PID to self clean mode . 275 for 2 hours . I've been burning wood chunks in it , so I have to keep an eye on it .

My 26 " kettle sees mostly smoking temps around 250 . I clean / scrape it out day or two after a cook . Remove all the ash and scrape out any sticky stuff .
Smaller kettles see high heat .

If your one that follows the BBQ place theory , you might give some thought to the fact that those smokers as far as I know run 24 / 7 .
Not used on the weekend , shut down , cooled off then sit full of grease for a week or 2 .
 

gary s

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It's your wood that makes your BBQ have that great taste, You don't want anything messing that up.
And Yes I have known a few BBQ places that didn't clean their pit or pits until they caught on fire.
I'm quite sure if you check some of the big boys and gals in the BBQ industry you'll find that they clean theirs .

Gary
 

texomakid

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Naw they get nasty - I've got one that's due a major clean up. It's seasoning to a point then it's just nasty in my opinion.
 

Paulie Walnuts 440

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Great tips on cleaning and I even tried using an onion to clean the grates also before and after cooking that's after I use a brush and lightly remove contaminants off the grate.
 

HalfSmoked

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Nice report Gary. I have a 40" Master Built propane that gets a regular cleaning.

Warren
 

gary s

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I think a lot of smoker get over looked. I know some people and quite a few friends that only use their smokers a few times a year and the only cleaning they get is the grates brushed over, now granted they don't build up as much gunk as those who use theirs on a regular basis.
But my opinion they still need a good cleaning

Gary
 

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