No matter the design of your smoker, it will need to be seasoned when you first get it home. This process is also sometimes referred to as curing your smoker and is necessary to do before you use it for the first time.
You will likely need to season your smoker more than once during its lifespan. This is particularly important if you notice mold growing or have spilled grease everywhere.
You should season your smoker for 2-3 hours to ensure that all fungi and bacteria are killed and your smoker is safe to use with food. It is a good idea to season your smoker at the beginning of the summer when it has been out of action for a while.
Why do you need to season a new smoker?
Seasoning your smoker is very important for a wide range of reasons. The first is that it forces all of the bacteria, dirt, debris, and oils off of the surface.
During the manufacturing process, many of these compounds will build up on the smoker. Seasoning allows these to burn off and will prevent your food from becoming contaminated and changing the flavor.
These compounds can be toxic if ingested, so we strongly recommend paying attention to this step.
Seasoning your smoker will also help to protect it from rusting and adverse weather conditions. This means that your smoker will stay in a good condition for a lot longer.
This is because when the oil reaches a high temperature, it can seep into the metal of the smoker. This creates a water-resistant barrier to protect your smoker.
Without seasoning your smoker, moisture will be allowed to collect on the interior surfaces in between uses, causing it to deteriorate prematurely.
The seasoning process cures the paint with a protective layer, making it a lot more weatherproof. The coating repels water and forces moisture droplets to drip off of the surface instead of pooling or becoming absorbed.
Before you season your smoker, you should take care to wipe it down properly. Pay attention to all areas of the smoker. Wipe it down using a soft cloth and water mixed with mild dish soap.
Make sure you cover all of the interior walls. Once you are satisfied with the clean, thoroughly wipe all of the walls with clean water. Dry it off to prevent water spots from forming.
If you wish to alter the flavors imparted by your smoker, consider incorporating wood chips into the seasoning process. Add some wood chips of your choice to the wood chip tray or firebox as you are seasoning the smoker.
This will give you an extra hit of smokiness to your food. If you choose to do this, we recommend using the same wood as you will be using for smoking your food.
You could also add in some strips of fatty meat about halfway through the seasoning process. It is very important that smoke is generated during the seasoning process, but there should be sufficient ventilation.
Without airflow, creosote will build up on the inside of your smoker. This is a toxic byproduct of the incomplete combustion of wood. It resembles tar and is a fire hazard.
How to season a charcoal smoker
You will need a spray bottle of avocado or grape oil, a charcoal chimney, a lighter, and a Firestarter cube. You should also get enough natural lump charcoal to fill the chimney.
It is important that you do not get briquettes or charcoal that has been infused with lighter fluid.
Once you have cleaned and dried the smoker, you should spray oil all over the smoker. Take care to cover the inside, outside, and racks. After you have done this, put your smoker together.
Fill the chimney with the charcoal and carefully ignite it. As it is warming up, add a decent amount of unlit charcoal to the firebox. Wait for the chimney to catch fire completely, and then gently move the hot coals from there into the firebox.
Open the vents to ensure the airflow is at optimum levels. Wait for the smoker to reach between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Try to maintain this temperature for 2 to 3 hours to force all chemicals and debris to burn off.
Once this time has passed, close the vents, allow the charcoal to burn out, and let the smoker cool. Empty all of the ash and you are ready to go.
How to season an electric smoker
You will need a spray bottle of avocado or grape oil, and a plug socket or electrical outlet. When you are cleaning an electric smoker, you will need to take additional precautions during the washing process.
Do not allow water to pool anywhere, as this can be very dangerous if it comes into contact with the electrical circuits. Wring out your cloth well before using it to wipe down the smoker.
Spray a thin and even layer of oil over the interior areas of the smoker. There is no need to coat the exterior in oil when seasoning an electric smoker.
Reassemble the smoker, before plugging it in and switching it on. Wait for the temperature to reach 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and keep it at this temperature for 2 to 3 hours.
Once this time has elapsed, turn off the smoker and allow it to cool completely before use.
How to season a propane gas smoker
To season a propane gas smoker, you will need a spray bottle of avocado or grape oil, a full tank of propane gas, and a lighter. Spray a thin and even coating of oil over all areas of the smoker before assembling it.
Once you have attached the propane tank, you should open the valve and ignite the burner. Ensure that the vents are open as you do so.
Wait for the smoker to heat up to 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain this temperature for 2 to 3 hours, before turning off the gas and allowing the smoker to cool.