Seasoning with lard

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Original poster
Dec 27, 2013
Depending on the weather, I'm going to season my smoker tomorrow. - If it's raining or snowing I'm going to wait for a clear day (according to the news that might be a couple days - but I'll wait until I see it myself).

My smoker is going to be under a roof and mostly out of the weather when it's in it's permanent home, but that won't be until spring. For now I have to roll it up and down a short flight of stairs and it needs to be cold before I put it in under shelter.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone had any experience with using lard for seasoning their smokers.

I've found over the years that seasoning my cast iron cookware works much better if I use melted suet or clarified beef fat instead of vegetable oils. In my experience beef fat closes the pores in the metal better and it last longer.

I would use suet/fat for my smoker but I'm currently not working in a kitchen (I'm a cook) nor have I done any butchering lately, so I don't have the fat.

I haven't ever used lard for anything beyond baking, but as it's rendered pig fat I thought it was the closest thing I could get to suet, and so worth the try.

I would appreciate hearing anyone else's views or knowledge on this.
Seasoning a smoker doesn't neccesarily follow the same steps as a cast iron pan. With cast iron you're look for the polymerization of lignans within the oil which is why people prefer a high lignan oil such as flax seed oil. To season a smoker one usually gives a dry run first this allows the fine particulate that is smoke to start to adhere to the inside surfaces of the smoker. I would first start by washing the inside of your smoker to remove any dirt or manufacturer chemicals. Make sure the inside of your smoker is dry. At this point some may give the inside a light coating of oil such as Pam to help the particulate adhere to the inside surfaces. I am not of that class but it's up to you. Finally give it a run with your wood of choice and only wood, no food and no water. This is one way and probably the most common way to season a smoker. There are other threads within the forum as well which can simply search for. I hope this helps though.
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Lard will work as a seasoning also.... Albeit more labor intensive than a can of spray veggie oil... I haven't used lard but if you have and like the coating.... go for it... Take some pics for others to learn from....

A buddy that I work with said his dad would rub lard on anything metal (tractor, farming equipment, cutting deck, ect) that would be exposed to the weather giving it a water repellent I don't know if he used to protect the parts..... Or he was doing it just because he was cheap and didn't want to spend the money on paint..... LOL ShoneyBoy
Hello dropkick.  Here is my opinion for what it is worth.  Others may have different advice.  This is only my opinion.  I would think that if using animal fats you increase chances of a mould build up.  Now I know that may sound silly since you will using the smoker to smoke meat and there will be animal fats in the drippings and in the smoke; but hear me out a second.  Most of us have opened the smoker after a while not being used and found mould growing inside.  As I see you are in Montana I assume there may be months when the smoker is not being used.  The season smoke is to add a little flavour but mainly to open the "pores" in the metal and get a good protective coating inside the smoker and allow the smoke to adhere to the inside to add more flavour and protect the metal. Once you do get mould it must be dealt with and the method will depend on your smoker.  Many times you need to re-season depending on your smoker.  I would try everything to discourage the growth of mould.  Your cast iron pan is not exposed to the elements.  I don't know what smoker you have but a rub down with veg oil on the outside may also help to protect it.  I would go with veg oil for the season.  Just my opinion.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!

Pop always seasoned/re-seasoned cast iron after making cracklins. Said that's what his Daddy did, the grease was hot. Course he said they didn't see much vegetable oil, they couldn't get it to grow.  LOL
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And as Rainstar said"A light coating of pam" Dont make the mastake I made and though more is better, I used a whole can of pam and now its running out out of everywhere.
Happy smoking, Joe
I heard lots of people use Pam or veggie oil, every soul has their own flavor and choice they all work. I just got my smoker yesterday and broke it in with some pig lard and LOTS of good old okie wood.

Here's before just after I wiped it down with the lard and a rag.

And here's after I burned it out with a combo of okie oak, hickory and pecan.

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Your smoker is a thing of beauty.  How's it workin' for ya?  Wish I had know about these forums when I purchased mine.  Didn't know they had to be seasoned!  Have had mine for 3 years, should be well seasoned by now.
I love it, takes a lot of wood to get up to temp but it holds steady. It's pretty easy to maintain 225-250F which is where I like to cook, jack up the fire and it gets 325F in the center of the smoking chamber. Can't wait until this weekend, I'm going to load it up, really going to be a challenge. I'll post some Q view.
I've had a friend say he used bacon free before too. I just bought a small cheap one I'm fixing to season. On the bacon grease melt it first or rub on cold then fire up the smoker? is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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