Should I Clean My Smoker?
by steve anglemyer
(fort wayne , indiana)
I have a Masterbuilt electric smoker and use it a lot. Should I clean the inside of the box?
I clean the the pans and the racks and the glass on the door. Should I clean the inside of the box or leave it for seasoning. If it needs cleaned what products and how should I clean it?
Steve, the biggest enemy of any smoker is rust. You should get many years of good use out of your smoker provided your maintain it and keep it protected from rust.
Before I go onto how to protect against rust let me first answer your point specifically about whether to clean the inside of the box.
For me the general answer to a torough cleaning is no. There are deposits (see below) that I would remove but after that I assume that you are familiar with how to season a new smoker
and therefore understand that a natural smoke protective coating is good news.
You do need to keep your smoker tidy and clear of any food deposits. Scoop out anything that's loose but don't feel that you have to go at it with a scraper and scrape down to the metal.
Dependent on the wood that you have used you may get some tar deposits and these should be removed too. The danger here is if you are smoking in a humid environment (using a water bath) the when the smoker gets hot, the tar combines with the moisture to form black droplets that can drip down onto your food.
Big build ups of grease should also be removed because this could enable moisture to be retainined in the unit and so cause rust. The same goes for the ash in your firebox, ash absorbs water over time so always remove it because this is another potential rust hazzard.
If you do get any rust then treat it immediately by brushing gently with a wire brush, cleaning and then paint with a heat resistant paint.
Cleaning the internal equipment as you are already doing is good practice, what I would call normal food hygiene so keep doing this.
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