Learn How To Clean An Electric Smoker (The Ultimate Guide)

How To Smoke Ribs With An Electric Smoker

When I first bought my electric smoker, I had no idea how to maintain it. With a bit of digging online, I realized that cleaning an electric smoker is an essential part of upkeep.

There was one major problem though…

I had no clue how to clean an electric smoker.

Thankfully, over the years I have become what some would call a veteran when it comes to cleaning my smoker. And it’s survived the ages, keeping my family happy, and full with tasty smoked ribs 😉

I know it can be confusing figuring out how to clean an electric smoker. So, I put together this guide to simply how to go about cleaning your electric smoker.

This is the most efficient way to clean your electric smoker:

If you still haven’t choosen an electric smoker, I suggest you read HomeTechLAB guide on “Finding The Right Electric Smoker” and this one on “How To Use An Electric Smoker”.

How To Clean Your Electric Smoker

Critical: Clean After Cooled Down From Cooking

I found that cleaning your smoker right after it’s cooled down saves you a ton of hardship. Cleaning your smoker at a later time lets all the gunk stick, making it much harder.

It also reduces the chances of nasties such as mold taking root, which can be pretty terrible for your health.

How To Clean The Smokers Main Chamber

Cleaning Materials Checklist

  • Regular bin bag / recycle bag for ash and other waste.
  • Soft bristle brush. (make sure it’s non-metal, the last thing you want is to scratch up your smoker)
  • Soft Cloth
  • Spray Bottel
  • Apple Viniger
  • Plastic Tarp / Sheet

4 Steps To Cleaning The Inside Of Your Smoker

Remove Everything

The first thing I do is relax. Enjoy my meal, while the smoker cools down. Once you are sure your smoker is nice and cool, you can begin the process of cleaning it out.

The first thing you want to do is take out all removable items. Including the water pan, drip tray, smoker box, and racks.

Clean The Smoker Box

Open up the smoker box, throw all the ash and soot into your regular bin bag. I put a 50/50 mix of hot water and apple vinegar in the spray bottle. I like to spray the solution on the box and wipe it down to make sure the box is nice and clean for the next cookout.

Clean Inside Residue

Here is where you need your soft brush. First, a nifty trick I learned is to place a newspaper clipping, or plastic tarp at the bottom of your smoker (you will find out why in a bit.)

From there, start at the top of your smoker with your brush. Start sweeping all the particle build up or leftovers downwards onto the sheet at the bottom. Make sure you wedge it into the corners to get all the nook and crannies in the interior chamber.

Finally, remove the sheet at the bottom, and scrub all the dirt at the base onto the smoker onto the sheet. You can throw this away now.

Scrub The Interior

Spray the interior of your smoker with the watered down apple cider. Then use a sponge to wipe it clean. You may need to apply some force, just enough to get rid of all the leftover particulates.

A Word To The Wise

As time goes on, you may notice the interior of your chamber becoming darker. I first thought this was a consequence of my poor cleaning skills. It turns out this is natural. The darkening helps prevent rust and improves the performance of the electric smoker.

Important: Never use harsh chemicals on the inside of your smoker!

How To Clean The Smoker Rack Of Your Electric Smoker

Cleaning Materials Checklist

  • Soapy water (your regular dishwashing detergent should work)
  • A hardcore brush or sponge
  • Stamina – and lots of it.

After I have cleaned the interior of my electric smoker, I like to let things settle. So, I head inside with all my removable items in tow – it’s time to give these bad boys a much-needed soak.

Now, I am not going to lie. When it comes to cleaning my electric smoker – this is the worst part for me. Chances are you will hate it. As you can imagine it is important to do this after every cookout.

2 Steps To Clean The Smoker Rack And Grills Of Your Electric Smoker

Scrap Off Residue

The first thing you want to do is scrape off any stuck food that may have decided to stay behind.

If you need a quick route to scraping off the food, you can also take a normal utensil and wrap it in a thick cloth. This will provide the edge of a normal scraper, without scratching your racks and grills.

If you are struggling to get all the grime off of your grill. I came across a magic trick that served me really well. It involves using Ammonia, safety glasses, and rubber gloves! Sounds interesting right? Check out this link to see what I am talking about.

Scrub With Soap

From here it’s really straightforward. All the grease and oil on your grills and racks need to come off. Here come the elbow grease and some hot soapy water. Scrub the parts down thoroughly. Make sure all remnants of your last cookout swirl down the drain.

A Word To The Wise

Its good practice to use a spray bottle and spray vegetable oil on the grill and racks. Vegetable oil will help prevent rusting, and reduce food sticking to the grill and racks when you make use of your electric smoker again.

How To Clean The Smoker Glass / Windows

Cleaning Materials Checklist

  • Apple Cider Viniger/li>
  • Spray Bottle
  • Newspaper For Drying

3 Steps To Cleaning Electric Smoker Windows

I find this to be one of the easier parts of cleaning out my electric smoker. Being completely honest, I don’t do it every cookout. But a dirty smoker window is one of my biggest pet-peeves as I can’t see how my meat is doing!

So, when I do notice my masterbuilt electric smoker windows need a clean, I grab everything I need and get to work.

Prepare Your Spray Bottle

Take your spray bottle, and fill it with 50/50 mix of Apple Cider Vinegar and hot water.

Spray With Apple Vinegar Solution

Spray down the window, make sure you get the mix is on every inch of the windows. I like to leave the solution for a minute or two to make sure it has a chance to get to work.

Wipe It Down

Now all you need to do is take your newspaper sheets and wipe the window down. Make sure to do this thoroughly to prevent streaks on the windows (no one likes streaky windows).

Quick and easy right?

A Word To The Wise
I strongly suggest staying far away from using a cloth when cleaning the window of your smoker. Cotton and glass mean streaks, and we don’t want that. A newspaper is your best friend for this process.

How To Clean An Electric Smoker With Mold Growth

Mold loves dark, moist places. In other words, your smoker is almost like a mansion for those toxic little spores.

During the cold season, or even when you get busy, you may end up abandoning your smoker for longer then you would like. You decide it’s time to get it out. Mouth watering at the thought of the delicious meal ahead, you pull it out to give it a clean – uh oh. You notice the mold. Your heart plummets.

It’s okay. I’m are here to help you solve the problem of mold growth in your electric smoker.

3 Steps To Clean An Electric Smoker With Mold Growth

Empty It out

The first thing you want to do is take out any old materials from the smoker. Empty out the smoker box and wipe it down.

Heat It Up – Burn That Mold Away!

Heat is your best friend, which is why the next step is to heat your electric smoker up as if you were preheating it for a cookout. Right down to adding in woodchips like normal.

Mold hates heat. Through heating your electric smoker up, you will burn the majority of it away. It will also help loosen and even eliminate any residual grease or dirt that may have built up while the smoker was in storage.

Clean It

After the usual pre-heating routine, take a break. Wait for your electric smoker to cool down.

Now, you want to put on your mouth mask to make sure you don’t inhale any of the fumes (as the mold is terrible for your health).
The great thing is from here its pretty simple, use the same step-by-step guide we gave you above to clean the inside thoroughly, and internal components of your electric smoker.

A Word For The Wise

If you want to get started on the cooking right after cleaning out the mold, all you need to do is heat up the smoker once again. The heat will dry up all the soapy water, and potential residue. Walla! As simple as that, you are ready to cook a mouth-watering meal.

Before I get to the next point, I want to emphasize that you can clean all electric smokers with this cleaning routine. Regardless of whether you have the nifty Masterbuilt brand or a savvy Char-Broil electric smoker in your yard.

Seasoning Your Electric Smoker (Before First Use)

If you have a brand new electric smoker – you may be unfamiliar with what seasoning/curing the smoker is. It’s kind of scary but due to the mass production of these units, more often than not the residue from production is still around, clinging to the walls of your electric smoker.

Which is why it is important to season/cure your smoker before putting it to use. This is how to go about it.

Heat It Up

Okay, so the first thing I do is set my electric smoker up somewhere out of the way. Once it is ready, I plug it in and turn it on (fairly simple, right?)

The next thing I do is preheat the electric smoker.

I know the first thing I wondered was, “Why do I need to bother doing this?”
Well, all the potential oil residue, chemicals, and other contaminants that may mess with the flavor of your next cookout will evaporate by preheating your electric smoker now.

So, set the temperature on the digital pad to roughly 275 degrees. The entire process should take about 3-hours to complete.

This step is a critical part of seasoning your electric smoker.

To ensure your electric smoker roots out all unpleasant substances from production – you need to maximize the accumulated heat within the smoker.

So, add a cup of wood chips into the tray in the last hour of the preheating session. These chips will help ensure that the interior chamber of your smoker is sanitized and ready to smoke meat.

Wipe Out The Residue

Now, the most important part. Let the smoker cool down. Then use a cloth to wipe down the walls of the inside chamber.

The good news is that you do not need to worry about seasoning/curing your electric smoker again.

Youtube Videos For Every Popular Model Of Electric Smoker

Want to watch how to clean your model of electric smoker on youtube?

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