How To Clean A Smoker

When it comes to cooking, it’s best not to take any risks when it comes to safety. Cleaning your smoker is important not only for keeping your smoker in the best condition, but it’s also vital for your safety when you are cooking.

Of course, we don’t all automatically know how to clean a smoker. With that in mind, we’re here to help. Here’s everything that you need to know about how to clean a smoker. 

How To Clean A Smoker

Do You Need to Clean a Smoker?

First of all, is it really necessary to clean a smoker? The short answer: yes.

Let’s just point out that rust is the enemy of your smoker. If your smoker rusts then it’s not going to last you for very long. This can be rather devastating when you’ve spent thousands on buying a top quality smoker.

Your smoker is going to last for a much longer time if you clean it.  You need to get the deposits out of your smoker between cooking sessions.

Make sure that you remove any loose deposits. You don’t really need to be constantly giving your smoker a thorough cleaning, however.

If you’re cleaning with certain kinds of wood then you may end up getting tar deposits in the smoker. You need to get rid of these. This is mainly because tar can combine with moisture when it’s humid outside.

In this case, the tar and moisture combined can create black droplets, and these can get into your food. We don’t need to tell you how dangerous that is. 

You also need to make sure that you get rid of any big grease build ups from the smoker. These can help your smoker to retain moisture and this means your smoker is more likely to develop rust. Get rid of any ash too.

In short, cleaning your smoker every now and again is very good for your smoker.

Cleaning the Smoker

There are a few things that you should do in order to clean your smoker.


You may be surprised to hear this, but seasoning your smoker can actually help you to clean it. When you get your smoker, you should fire it up to start before you plan on using it.

This can help to remove any of the residue that may be on the metal from when it was manufactured. You should thoroughly season large smokers.

Usually, your instruction manual will tell you how to season and clean your smoker, but here are some general guidelines.

First, put oil around the whole of the inside surface. It doesn’t really matter what kind of oil you use – there’s no need to buy anything extravagant. All you need is something with a high burning point – grapeseed or canola may be a good choice.

After that, heat up the oil to an appropriate temperature to allow it to get into the surfaces inside the smoker. This helps to repel the water later on and it can stop the smoker from rusting over later on.

If you’re using a charcoal smoker, a temperature around 250 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit should be appropriate. You shouldn’t use any temperatures that are higher than this.

You should also make sure that the smoker has a wide chimney. Finally, allow the smoker to stay at that temperature for up to 3 hours. Before you add your meat, you can then drop the temperature to 225 degrees. 

Cleaning the Smoker

Now, every once in a while you will need to do a more thorough cleaning than just simply seasoning the smoker. You shouldn’t thoroughly clean too often though, since this can damage the integrity of the smoker.

This method will only work for smokers, and you should always double check your smoker’s cleaning instructions to ensure that it’s okay to use this method.

To start with, make sure you grab something like a tarp to protect the floor around the smoker. Wear some rubber gloves too in order to protect your hand. You may need a little bit of help for the cleaning process since smokers can be rather heavy. 

Then, get a tub and fill it up with some hot water and dish soaps. Brush over the grates of the smoker using a grill brush. Then, move onto the heat diffuser place, scraping and brushing it as you go. 

You’ll need to clean the chimney too, and you can use a long handed  wooden spoon or a stiff brush to do this. Scrape in the inside lid of your cooking chamber and firebox using a putty knife, and then loosen any grease pools or old food from the bottom.

You can then wipe this using some paper towels. Clean out the grease further using a paint stirring stick, and scrape the lower half of the cooking chamber.

You can then take the grease catcher out and remove drippings, and then put it in your wash basin for it to soak for a while. You can then hose the inside of the firebox, the cooking chamber and any outside surfaces.

Once you have done this, dry the smoker using some paper towels and then leave the smoker to air dry, ensuring that the vents are open.

When the smoker is air drying, you can then clean the smaller parts that you have put to one side, then allow those to air dry before putting them back in the smoker. 


Cleaning a smoker is something that doesn’t need to be done regularly, but you should give it a spring clean every once in a while!

While it can take some time to clean a smoker, you won’t need to do it again for a month or so. It’s simple to do once you get the hang of it! 

Get pasture raised meat delivered to your home!

We have partnered with Snake River Farms to bring you the very best cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken and more!

2 thoughts on “How To Clean A Smoker”

Leave a Comment