A messy smoker is unsanitary, may contaminate food, and is painfully unattractive for dinner party attendees.
So, to keep your electric smoker functioning smoothly, creating the finest food, and prolonging its life, we have put together this step-by-step tutorial for cleaning it both inside and out.
Smoking meat may be a messy procedure with dripping fat, ash, sauces, and more to deal with. As a result, you’ll need to understand how to clean an electric smoker.
After you’ve smoked some amazing cuisine and really wowed your visitors, they leave you with crusty grill grates, a drip tray full of oil, a chip tray full of ash, and a variety of other things baked into the inside walls and floor of your smoker.
So, what’s the best way to clean it?
You’ll know precisely how to clean your electric smoker properly, what equipment you will need, what to do if mold appears, and how to maintain it afterward after following this article.
Cleaning electric smokers are not only vital for aesthetics and, of course, health and safety, but it also extends their lifespan.
This tutorial is for you and your electric smokers, whether you are a smoking rookie doing your research online or you’ve been at it for a while and can’t put off cleaning anymore.
When to Clean Your Electric smoker?
If you have just gone for the thought, “I really need to clean this thing,” don’t feel bad; after all, acknowledging you have a problem is the first step toward recovery!
Maybe it simply doesn’t seem to be blazing up or smoking like it used to, and if that’s the case, something inside is probably clogged.
In any case, if you responded yes to either of the aforementioned scenarios, it’s time for a spring cleaning.
We will go into basic maintenance later in this guide, but an electric smoker should be cleaned thoroughly every 3 to 5 uses to maintain it in excellent working order. And if you have invested in a decent electric smoker, you will want to take care of it!
Check out the user manual
Almost every device comes with instructions, and while many of us are guilty of tossing them in the trash, the user manual will always come in helpful at some point. And now is one of those times!
Taking anything apart is simple, but putting it back together in the proper sequence may be difficult.
The user manual will guarantee that you understand how to do this and will assist you with the most difficult parts.
If you can’t find your user manual, try looking for a download on your manufacturer’s website.
If that doesn’t work, snap photographs of your smoker while it is being dismantled, so you know which components go where or when it’s time to put it back together.
Equipment’s needed to clean your electric smoker
Lists are the secret to efficiency for the most organized among us, so here’s a brief checklist of everything you’ll need to clean your electric smoker:
- Grill brush with no bristles
- Cover work surfaces and floors with tarpaulin.
- A container full of soapy, warm water
- A scouring pad and sponges or cloths
- Grill scraper or metal spatula
- Vegetable oil, tongs, and paper towels
- Boiling water and a tin or microwave-safe bowl
- Cleaner for windows (for glass windows only)
- Stainless steel cleaner or a barbecue cleaning solution appropriate to your grill (for stainless steel smokers only).
The soapy water may be made using a teaspoon of liquid dish soap per four cups of warm water.
Clean your electric smoker with easy steps
Remove all of the internal components. If you have just finished using the electric smoker, ensure it’s completely cold before cleaning it.
If the unit has been sitting dormant for days or months, it is best to heat it to its maximum temperature and then let it cool before cleaning it.
Cleaning an electric smoker that has been used is considerably easier than cleaning one that has not been used because the dirt that has gathered in the drip tray and other parts is warm and easy to scrape off.
Remove any removable elements from the interior of the device, such as the racks, smoker box, drip pan, and water pan drip, once it has cooled. To release the accumulated oils and filth, soak these areas in warm soapy water.
If any of these sections have solidified material, wipe it off using a scraper and a soft sponge. Cleaning the components should be simple now that they have been immersed in hot water.
1. Cleaning up the Interior of Electric Smoker
It’s considerably simpler to clean electric smokers when they are still heated.
So either let it cool down a little after each use and then clean it, or heat up your electric smoker to its maximum temperature for about an hour and then start the procedure once it has cooled down a little.
The general guideline is that it should be warm, but not to the point of being untouchable.
Before you start, keep in mind that a smoker isn’t supposed to be perfect, and it will darken as you smoke.
Simply remove the oil and burnt bits of food, and don’t bother about making it shiny again.
Now that you are set, make sure you have disconnected the smoker from the electrics and you’re ready to get started.
2. Removing the ash from the chip tray
All of the wood chips that give the smokey taste are burned in the chip tray or smoker box, and the ash collects at the bottom after smoldering. Simply remove the tray and toss the ash into the trash can.
If the ashes are still warm, place them in a non-combustible container to avoid starting a fire.
3. Clean the Shelves, Water Pan, Drip Pan after removal
Remove the shelves, water pan, and drip pan, and chuck them in the dishwasher if they’re dishwasher safe, so you can go on with cleaning the rest of the home while your dependable machine handles the filthy work.
If not, scrape the grease out of the drip tray with a metal scraper, then wash each item in a basin of warm soapy water with the grill brush to remove any built-up grease and dirt.
4. Rub Down Sides and Bottom of the Smoker
Because of the smoking process, the interior of your smoking chamber will get highly oily and sticky with residue after each usage, and not only at the bottom.
Scrape away any heavy oil with a scraper, and then scrub the interior walls with a sponge or moist cloth dipped in warm soapy water.
Once the sides have been cleaned, scrape the fallen lumps and dirt from the bottom into a bag or pan, and then scrub the bottom with the sponge and warm water.
Cleaning the top of the smoke chamber should be done first, followed by the sides, and finally the bottom.
If you don’t, you’ll have to clean the bottom twice.
5. Clean glass door
Many people detest not being able to see how the meat is doing in the smoker, so keep it clean so you can monitor the process.
If the oil is heavy and gloopy, you’ll have no choice but to scrape it off with a scraper.
To avoid scratching the glass, always use wood or plastic, not a metal scraper or a metal bristle brush.
If the oil isn’t too tenacious and only requires a little elbow grease, simply use the sponge to wash it away with soapy warm water.
6. Clean Temperature probe
First and foremost, it is dependent on the sort of temperature probe used by your smoker.
If it’s the built-in digital probe, leave it alone. It’s possible that you’ll wind up damaging your smoker.
All you have to do now is clean the exterior portion with a moist towel and you’re ready to go.
Simply clean the pongs if you’re using an outdated temperature probe with two metallic pongs that stick into the smoker chamber.
You may remove the stain using a piece of cloth. Do not submerge the entire object in water, since this may cause it to sag.
7. Reassemble your Smoker and heat it up
The messiest part is finally through, but it’s still not beer time.
Just keep in mind that your smoker will never be as immaculate as it was when you initially got it, but as long as it is clean, the work is done on the inside.
Now all you have to do is put everything back together in the same sequence that you took it apart, using memory, the instructions, or the images you took if you get stuck.
Turn it up to its highest level and blast it for 30 minutes once you’re confident that everything is in its right place.
Any extra water or soap suds will be evaporated as a result. Alternatively, use paper towels to wipe it dry and leave the door open for an hour to enable it to air dry.
Whatever you do, do not shut it up and store it away while it’s still moist, since you will almost certainly end up with mold.
8. Oil up the grates
Oil the grates using a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil when the smoker has cooled down, just like any other smoker or grill.
This not only prevents food and dirt from sticking to the surface, but it also prevents future corrosion.
Because your shelves will still be hot from the heat blast in the previous step, do this using tongs (unless you waited out complete cooling.)
9. Exterior cleaning of Electric smoker
Most modern gas or electric smoker comes with an exterior thermometer to keep track of the temperature within the chamber. As a result, more caution is required when cleaning the outside.
With a clean, moist cloth, wipe the outer surfaces of your electric smoker. If there is any accumulation on the door seal, be sure to clean it to improve the smoker’s function. Before putting the smoker away, wipe the thermostat with a dry towel and let it air dry.
Do not submerge or soak the smoker in water or set it immediately under running water. Reassemble the components.
Allow all of the removable pieces to dry thoroughly before replacing them inside the smoker.
To make general cleaning considerably easier, wash the detachable elements (including the drip pan, racks, and water pan) after each cooking session.
Make sure your smoker is totally dry before putting it away to avoid mold.
How to clean an electric smoker with mold?
So do you open your electric smoker and discovered mold inside?
Don’t panic; it happens to the best of us, especially when we haven’t used it in a long time.
When a smoker is left unattended for an extended period of time, the oil, bacteria, and moisture function as a breeding ground for maggots. But it is true.
Fill a tin or microwave-safe bowl halfway with boiling water, then place it in your smoker for an hour on the highest setting.
This will eliminate all of the maggots and eggs by burning away the mold.
So now wipe it down, scrape it out, and you are ready to clean it normally.
1. Cause of Mold to develop
You will know what’s causing mold to emerge in your smoker after you figure out what’s causing it.
Mold thrives in wet, greasy environments as well as cold, damp environments.
This is why the majority of mold development, particularly inside of an electric smoker, happens between the fall and winter months.
If you don’t clean your smoker after each use and then leave it for a few months, it will almost certainly have developed mold by the time you open it again.
Because it may readily trap moisture beneath it, the best smoker covers can contribute to this.
If your smoker is in good shape, tight, well-painted, and constructed of a robust metal like stainless steel, you won’t need to cover it.
2. Prepare your smoker for cleaning
Remove any remaining charcoal, briquettes, or other materials from the smoker.
Wait till disassemble it or remove any extra items from within it, such as the racks, drip tray, and water pan.
Make sure you have all of the necessary cleaning supplies, such as a non-metal bristle/wire brush, a soft cloth, a power washer (if necessary), a sponge, a bucket, and a cover (or just something to put underneath the smoker as you clean).
Wearing cleaning gloves and a face covering or mask is also recommended.
Mold is dangerous to your health, and you don’t want to inhale any spores and have an allergic response.
3. Heat up the smoker
The first and most crucial step in clearing up a moldy electric smoker is to remove the mold.
Attempt to raise the temperature as high as the smoker or grill will allow. The mold will be killed and burned away by the smoke and heat. It will help dislodge any dirt or debris that has accumulated inside.
It’s crucial to do this step first since it will help kill the mold and make it simpler to remove any remaining oil and mold.
Using a scraping brush or power washing the smoker first will just spread the mold and perhaps cause some to brush up into your face.
Keep the smoker on high heat for at least a half-hour, and up to an hour.
And, once again, make sure you’re heating it to the highest possible temperature.
4. Scrub all the parts
After everything has cooled down inside the electric smoker, use a wire brush or something similar to scrape and scour every component.
For a deeper, more accessible cleaning, you’ll probably want to remove the racks and drip pan.
When it comes to cleaning out smokers, one popular method is to spray the interior with a solution of hot water and apple cider vinegar, wait for 5 to 10 minutes, and then wipe it out with a towel.
Vinegar is an excellent disinfectant and cleanser. If you’d prefer to clean your electric smoker with anything other than water, oven cleaning can be a suitable option.
5. Power wash
After you have washed all of the different elements of the smoker, power wash anything that you can.
The difference between a power and a pressure wash is that the former utilizes hot water, whilst the latter does not.
After you’ve cleaned everything this way, it’s a good idea to wash it everything with soapy water and rinse it out gently and completely.
When utilizing a power wash, be careful since if you use it incorrectly, you might break your smoker.
It’s possible that power washing won’t be the most effective approach to clean every inch of it.
It would probably work OK for washing the racks, but not for cleaning the window.
6. Put Back together
You may now reassemble your smoker by placing everything back into the main body.
It’s a good idea to turn it on again to burn off any remaining moisture.
You can scrub it down again at this point to see if anything more comes out and if it needs any more cleaning. It will be ready to cook in again after that.
7. Put a coat of oil inside
After you have cleaned your electric smoker thoroughly, do this to protect it from corroding and mold from coming back as rapidly.
Spray a high-temperature grilling oil (such as sunflower or canola) inside with a spray can.
Then, until you’re ready to use the smoker again, prop the doors open.
8. How to keep away from mold in future
Cleaning out your best smoker after each use is the best way to prevent mold from forming within.
Superheat it as soon as you’re done with it. This will ensure that no further food or crud remains within for mold to thrive on.
Scrape any excess oil from the interior on a regular basis, and give it a thorough cleaning if you aren’t going to use it for a while.
To prevent moisture from building up within the smoker, store it in a dry location with the vents open.
Spray the racks with a grilling or vegetable oil before cooking to prevent food from adhering to them. Just be careful to wipe away any leftovers.
Season your best smokers for beginners when you first buy it. This implies that before using it for the first time, you set it to the maximum heat setting and leave it empty.
This helps it to clear out any remaining manufacturing debris before you put any food inside.
How to season your new Electric Smoker
To season your electric smoker, you may need:
- A nice cotton cloth that is clean.
- Bucket with water and a small amount of mild soft detergent.
- Avocado or Grapeseed Oil is high-smoke-point cooking oil.
- An Electrical Plug.
- A Less Heavy.
- Smoking Wood Chunks are an option.
- A few pieces of uncooked fatty meat, such as bacon or pig belly, are optional.
- One piece of advice: take it outdoors before you start, unassembled.
Then you can take the following steps:
- Clean the smoker parts well with soapy water and a towel. Although some grill experts recommend using water for this step, a light soap can be used as a first step in removing manufacturing residue. In order to avoid scratches in the paint finish, we recommend using a soft, cotton-like towel.
- It’s important not to SOAK any places near electrical components. In these regions, use a well-wrung-out towel and never allow water to collect anywhere in the smoker.
- After carefully cleaning the interior with soap and water, rinse it well, wipe it off to avoid wet stains, and let the smoker air dry.
- Assemble the components of your smoker.
- This procedure will necessitate the use of cooking oil. We recommend using a flourless frying oil for the best results and doing this step before assembling the smoker if at all feasible.
Ideally, a thin, even layer should be applied to the whole interior of the smoker, including the racks. Cooking oil does not need to be rubbed on the OUTSIDE of an electric smoker.
The cooking oil will protect it from corrosion and the weather by acting like a protective layer.
- After you’ve cleaned, built and wiped down the interior of your smoker with a very thin layer of cooking oil, plug it in and turn it on.
- Because you’ll be heating your smoker to a greater temperature than usual for cooking, make sure the vents are completely open to allow for maximum ventilation.
- Allow 2-3 hours for the smoker to reach 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Any residual manufacturing chemicals and solvents will be burned off this way.
Electric smokers are fantastic, and they’re almost as easy to use as pellet grills.
However, don’t be pacified into complacency by their convenience. Make careful to use electric smokers outside only and to use wood chips instead of pellets.
Seasoning the Smoker: Optional Steps
While seasoning, you may also add wood to your firebox or wood chip tray to start adding smokey flavor/residue to the inside of your smoker.
To add some fatty residue and scent to the interior walls of the new smoker, some home BBQ professionals will smoke some fatty chunks of leftover bacon (an oxymoron…I know) near the conclusion of the seasoning process.
Just don’t eat the bacon after you’ve finished seasoning the smoker.
It’s very probable that you’ll need to re-season your smoker several times throughout the course of its life.
While some purists argue that cleaning the interior walls of their smokers is never necessary, the fact is that it may be necessary at times.
If you don’t use it for a long time, mold may grow, or you may leak some horrible oily liquid down into the smoker’s guts, depending on your local weather.
If this happens and you need to clean the smoker, use a decent degreasing product to wipe the racks and inside walls, and make sure to rinse well afterward.
Then, using the same procedures as before, heat the interior of your smoker to a high enough temperature for 2-3 hours to kill any remaining mold and chemicals.
This is a good habit to get into at the start of the season, especially if you haven’t used your smoker in a while.
Using Apple cider vinegar for Cleaning
Smoking meat using an electric smoker is simple and convenient. Cleaning the smoker after a barbeque party, on the other hand, is a difficult task.
The different types of smoker emit a nasty odor from the marinade fluids, meat, and oils. Using chars to smoke the food at steady temperature results in difficult stains and residue on the grill.
These leftover materials might act as a breeding ground for pathogens. This portrays a dreadful image.
But don’t panic; there are a number of excellent ways to clean an electric smoker.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural disinfectant and cleanser. Here’s how to use apple cider vinegar to clean your electric smoker.
- Fill a spray bottle halfway with water. An equal amount of apple cider vinegar should be combined. To boost the cleaning power of apple cider vinegar, use hot water.
- Inside the electric smoker, spray the apple cider vinegar and water mixture. Spritz it all over the grill. The grease and particles will be broken down by this combination. Allow 5-10 minutes for the mixture to rest.
- Scrub the dirt and oil away using a gentle scrubber. Wipe the grill clean with a wet towel. This will help erase the smoker’s unpleasant odor. Allow the smoker panel to remain open for a bit. The grill will be dried out as a result of this.
Cleaning steps using oven cleaner
Consider using an oven cleaner to clean your electric smoker. As they have a lot of similarities.
Oven cleaners are particularly developed to clean and disinfect ovens. These cleansers include caustic soda, which is toxic to the body.
Oven cleaners must be thoroughly rinsed and leave a chemical residue that is hazardous to your health.
The use of caustic soda in the oven cleaning might leave the meal with an unpleasant and bitter flavor.
Food comes into close contact with the grill in electric smokers. The chemicals from the oven cleaning will end up in the meal.
If you wish to test the oven cleaning on your smoker, follow these procedures.
- Spray the oven cleaner inside the smoker’s inner compartment. Allow a few minutes for it to settle.
- Scrub the filth away using a cleaning brush or scrubber. Scrubbing shouldn’t be too rough. The grill’s protective coating will be eroded as a result of this.
- Use water to clean the inner chamber. Removing the grids and rinsing them under running water is the best option.
It’s essential to take care of your electric smoker if you want it to keep its beautiful shine and smoking skills, especially if you smoke a lot.
To keep the food from clinging to the shelves, brush them with vegetable oil before each usage.
Scrub each shelf with a wire brush after each usage, especially while it’s still warm, to remove any food and oil, as well as burn off any drippings with a brief blast.
Both of these actions will assist to keep the smoker significantly cleaner in between usage and prevent mold from forming.
It’s also a good idea to cover your smoker with a protective cover while not in use. This not only extends its life but also protects it from the weather.
Boost up Smoker’s longevity
Regardless of the high-quality coating applied on your smoker, if it’s made of metal which it most certainly is, then it will rust eventually.
If you don’t take the time to season your new smoker, the presence of moisture during each smoking session will age it from the inside out, just like putting it out in the rain uncovered would rust it from the outside out.
Seasoning your smoker will not only remove any leftover residue from the manufacturing process but will also prevent corrosion and cure the paint in a protective layer, making it more weather resistant.
The protective layer essentially ensures that all moisture drips off the smoker rather than being absorbed or stuck to it.
Best Way to Steam Clean an Electric Smoker
It’s easy to maintain a steam-clean electric smoker. You’ll need a pan or dish filled with water for this.
Then open your smoker’s door and set the water pan inside. Now, turn on your electric smoker and set it to a high temperature.
Remember to keep the smoker’s parts, such as racks, grease pan, and other accessories, inside the smoker.
The water will steam as it begins to boil. The oil and other deposits will be loosened by the steam.
Turn off the smoker after 20-30 minutes and let it cool down so it won’t injure you. Remove the racks from the smoker and clean them with a grill brush and a basin of soapy water.
Brush the racks, the oiled pan, and the inside of the smoker using a soft brush.
Then, using clean water, wash all of the pieces and the interior of your smoker, and let it dry completely.
Warning: Steam cleaning your smoker is not recommended since the steam will wet all of the electric connections, causing them to corrode and create corrosion.
As a result, when you operate the smoker, it may overheat the wires, resulting in a fire. As a result, it’s a good idea to use the cleaning procedures listed above.
Here are the most frequent questions and answers for you…
1. What is the most effective method for cleaning an electric smoker?
You’ll discover the finest technique to clean an electric smoker once you’ve learned how to do it.
However, we believe that the ideal approach to clean an electric smoker is to do it while it is still warm and to clean each section separately.
2.How often should an electric smoker be cleaned?
If you’re a big barbecue aficionado who smokes meals every other week, you should clean your smoker after each usage.
If you just smoke once in a while, though, cleaning it after two or three uses is OK.
However, it’s always a good idea to clean the smoker after each usage to avoid mold growth.
3. In an electric smoker, how do you clear the mold?
Don’t be alarmed if mold forms in your electric smoker in the worst-case situation.
Simply heat and burn the mold first, then follow the same techniques as indicated above for cleaning an electric smoker.
4. Should I use Oven Cleaner to Clean My Electric Smoker?
Cleaning the electric smoker with oven cleaning is not suggested. It’s because the oven cleaner was designed specifically to infect and clean the oven.
As a result, the cleanser contains potentially toxic ingredients such as caustic soda, which is clearly damaging to our bodies.
Furthermore, cleaning the smoker with an oven cleaner will eliminate the smoky flavor.
As a result, it’s best to avoid using oven cleaner to clean the smoker or grill. Cleaning with vinegar is significantly more secure and beneficial.
5. Is it OK to use apple cider vinegar to clean a smoker?
Yes, apple cider vinegar is an excellent cleaner for a smoker or grill. Because apple cider vinegar contains acids, it aids in the removal of oil and debris from the smoker or grill. That’s why it’s always a good idea to clean an electric smoker with vinegar.
6. Is it Important to Cure the Electric Smoker?
When you acquire a new electric smoker, there’s a potential that residue will stick to the chamber’s walls.
This is due to the bulk manufacture of units all at once, thus it is necessary to hygienically cure a recently purchased electric smoker.
It’s a long process, but it’s not too tough. When you buy the smoker, set it up in the spot where you want to keep it. Clean the interior using a cloth.
Then, set the smoker to its maximum setting and let it burn all of the trash. It may take three hours to complete the process, but it is necessary. After the chamber has cooled down, wipe it with a towel once again.
7. Can soapy water be used to clean an electric smoker?
If you clean your electric smoker after each usage, all you need is a basic soapy combination. Simply combine the liquid dish soap and water on a moist towel and wipe the chamber clean.
It’s best to use grease-cutting dish soap like Dawn or something similar.
1 spoonful of soap to each cup of warm water As a result, you’ll have a simple-to-use mixture that’s strong enough to get rid of whatever oil you come across.
Transfer the soap mixture to a spray bottle for convenient spraying to your smoker’s surfaces.
Is it necessary to season my electric smoker on a regular basis?
You enjoyed the delicious and juicy turkey at your friend’s house last night. You made the decision to get an electric smoker right away.
The electric smoker will save you the time and effort of managing charcoal. You were eager to put your brand-new electric smoker to the test.
But wait, you must first season it. Seasoning coats the inside of the smoker with a thick layer of protection.
Seasoning is a straightforward pre-use step. Connect the power source to your electric smoker.
Fill your electric smoker halfway with water and set the temperature to the maximum setting.
A black soot layer will form on the grill as a result of the smoke. The smoker will be protected from wear and tear by this covering. Seasoning removes manufacturing residue from the smoker’s grill.
If you have one, your electric smoker is definitely one of your most valuable possessions, so take care of it.
Cleaning and maintaining it every 3 to 5 usage is the best method to care for it. Not only will this guarantee that it lasts longer, but it will also make your visitors feel a lot more at ease knowing that their food is safe to consume.
To summarize, remember to warm an electric smoker before cleaning it. This will expedite your cleaning procedure and save you the time and work of scraping the material out.
Additionally, clean the smoker after each use to avoid rust and mold growth in the electric smoker.
You may wish to examine if your electric smoker requires mild or deep cleaning now that you know the little secret about how to clean an electric smoker. Make the most of your time and clean smartly.
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Mary – is a passionate Food Blogger, currently writing at Best Smoker Guide. Having years of work experience on food blogging field and have a good sense of humor. She enjoys eating new foods and finding ways to cook them out.