Do you have a barbecue smoker and are using it for grilling the food on family dinners and occasional lunch parties? You might be wondering how to clean the smoker and if it is necessary to keep the smoker clean. Well, the answer is yes. Like any other cooking equipment, for example, your cooking stove, baking oven and basic pans and pots, cleaning the smoker is also very important as you will be making food in it and it needs to be clean for the food to be hygienic.
Now the question is, how to clean your smoker. There are a lot of techniques to clean the smoker and barbecue equipment from inside and outside. Luckily, we have found out the easiest way to clean the smokers and we will share it with you in this article.
- Clean the cooking chamber of your smoker:
- If you have just used your smoker before deciding to clean it, leave it out for some time to let it cool down completely. After the smoker has cooled down, take out all the trays, racks, water pan, drip pan, smoker box and other detachable parts from the main body.
- Clean any food debris and small and big wood particles that are remaining inside the smoker chamber with a brush or a thick cloth. A note of advice is to never use steel brushes or any type of cleaner with metal bristles as it can harm the smoker’s coating and induce corrosion.
- Use only non-abrasive cleaners to clean your smoker. You can use mild dish detergents.
- Use a sponge or a plastic bristle brush to clean the interior surfaces of the smoker with warm, soapy water. Wipe it dry with a cloth. Make sure no plastic bristles of a bristle brush have remain behind on any cooking surface.
- Use warm, soapy water to wash cooking racks, water pan and drip pan and rinse and dry. Empty the smoker chamber from any wood or coal particle.
- Put back the grills, water pan and drip pan back inside the smoker chamber. A professional tip is to use vegetable oil on the cooking racks before using them each time for better tasting food. Using vegetable oil also prevents the food from sticking to grills.
- Clean the outside of the equipment:
- If you are using a digital electric smoker, use a damp cloth which has been damped with warm soapy water and clean the control panel of the smoker which is placed on top of the equipment. Wipe it dry with a clean cloth.
- If your smoker has a window, use professional approved cleaners that can be used on ceramic glass cook tops and clean the interior and exterior, both sides of the window.
- Smoke residue also builds up in the door seal of the smoker after every use. Use a damp cloth to clean the smoker residue.
- Clean the outer body of the smoker with damp cloth and soapy water and then dry with a clean piece of cloth and towel.
- Clean the thermostat:
- There are usually thermostats placed on rear inside walls of all smokers. These thermostats can also get dirty when food splatters oil and juice during cooking. Use a cloth piece that is being damped with warm soapy water and clean the thermostat gently and then wipe and dry it with a dry cloth.
- Clean the temperature probe:
- Also remember to clean the meat probe with a warm soapy water and a damp cloth. Dry afterwards with a dry cloth. Never wash the temperature probe under runny water or soak or immerse it in water.
Things not to do when cleaning a smoker:
There are some things which should be avoided when cleaning a smoker for various reasons. These things are listed below.
- Don’t use metal scrubs or brushes with metal bristles as they can peel the paint of the smoker.
- Don’t scrub too much as the interior paint will peel and the metal inside the body of the smoker will start to corrode.
- Don’t use strong chemicals and bleach to clean your smoker. It will only damage the interior of your equipment.
- Don’t wash the smoker with runny water as it can get water in the wires and can damage the machine and can also be hazardous for you.
- Don’t leave the electric smokers connected to a power source while cleaning the smoker. Even if the switch is off, it can be dangerous. Water and electricity is never a good mix and is risky for the danger of electric shocks.
- Don’t wash the temperature probes with runny water, as they are not water proof internally and can stop working if water gets in.
Why cleaning the smoker is important:
Taking good care of your smoker is mandatory if you love a healthy and tasty barbecue or grilled food. Even when people think that they clean their smokers from the outside, and the interior part doesn’t require any cleaning, they are wrong. When you grill or smoke food, it leaves behind the strong smells, oil and small debris that can home bacteria which, when you leave the smoker un-used for a long time without cleaning, can be very harmful for health. This is the reason why you should never grill food in a dirty smoker, as it may be tasty but it will not be healthy at all.
Another reason why you need to clean your smoker is that it can develop rust and where your good cleaned smoker could last many years, a dirty and uncleaned smoker will not. So it is best to take care of your smoker so you can get your money’s worth for a long time.