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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Jul 04, 2018
Cleaning electric smoker
by: Anonymous

Can you wash your electric smoker with a hose?


I wouldn't. The volume and pressure of water could penetrate electrical parts and cause long term / permanent damage.

Jul 13, 2017
Caring For My Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
by: Ferlin Sourjohn

It's easy to clean the inside of your smoker and it doesn't take that long about 30 minutes or so.
If you foil the bottom pan, drip cover before you cook then you don't have to scrape the cooked food and juices off. As far as cleaning the inner walls, door, glass and door seal I use 2 small buckets, one filled with hot water and the other with hot water with a little dish soap in it.
Use a small foam sponge that has a rough but soft scrubber on the back of it. Wet your sponge in the soapy water then squeeze it halfway dry and start rubbing the walls and sensors. Afterwards take the sponge and use the plain hot water, squeeze the sponge dry and wipe off excess soap and dry with a towel to finish. I just then leave my door open for about an hour to completely dry out.
At the same time as doing this I have my racks and rails soaking in soapy water in the sink. Wipe them off and reassemble.
I've friends say to me season the walls but this is stainless steel it would be fine if it were cast iron or pot metal but it isn't.

Jun 19, 2017
Cleaning a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker
by: Paul Berube

1st, I cover the bottom of the water pan (where the heavy smoke condenses) with heavy aluminum foil. Then I cover the top of the drip pan with foil.

2nd, after smoking, I remove all interior parts to my wash pan and clean them with Spray Nine cleaner and rinse well then dry.

3rd, I make up a solution of hot water heavy with baking soda and using a scratch free pot scrubber, I clean the interior and rinse with a separate pail of hot water and a sponge.

4th, I heat the smoker to 100°F (40°C) for 1 hour with all interior parts in place to dry.

Hope this helps.


Feb 28, 2016
Cleaning An Electric Smoker
by: Anonymous

I can't get my electric smoker completely clean. Is it still safe to use?, there is no mold in the smoker.

Let's break safety down into to two areas:
  1. Electrically safe

  2. Hygienically safe

Electrically Safe

I'm not an electrician but this is the process that I follow at the start of a new season.
If your smoker has been stored in the dry during the Winter then there's no reason why it shouldn't be safe to use but your best bet is to turn it on and do a dry run before cooking for the first time.
Things to check for first are that the unit is dry. If you've cleaned it then make sure that it is thoroughly dry before performing a test.
Secondly make an inspection of the basic electrical components (that doesn't mean take it apart) for example check the plug isn't cracked, check that the cable to the smoker is in good condition and no vermin have gnawed their way through it.
When you are satisfied, plug the unit in and switch on. Ultimately the fuse in the plug is there to protect you so if there is a short circuit then this fuse will blow.

Hygienically Safe

I clean my big smokers out with a power washer but for my electric smoker it's as simple as wash the cooking racks and wipe down the inside of the chamber.
Mold can grow, especially if your unit has been kept outside under a cover but if you have no mold then that's a good sign that your smoker has been kept clean and dry through the Winter.
The build up of debris on the inside walls of the smoker is inevitable and in my view it's entirely up to you whether you scrape all this off or not. Personally I don't, I just give everything a wipe down and get set for another season.
The only caveat to this is to make sure that your heater element isn't caked up with debris. It pays to make sure that you scrape the element clean, just make sure that the unit is not plugged into the power when you do this and you only need use a gentle scraping action so that you don't damage the element.

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