How to Clean a Digital Electric Smoker

Excess buildup of burned grease and food particles in your digital electric smoker will reduce the smoker’s cooking performance over time. Keeping it clean, with just a few easy steps, will ensure it remains in top working condition. Remember to use only non-abrasive cleaners; mild dish detergent works great.

After every use:

  • Empty the smoker box to remove ash. Wipe clean with a damp cloth. Do not immerse the box or lid in water.
  • Wash the cooking racks, water pan and drip tray with warm soapy water, rinse and dry. For stick-free cooking and easy cleaning, apply a coat of vegetable oil or vegetable oil-based spray to the cooking racks before each use.
  • Clean the meat probe with a damp cloth using soapy water and wipe dry. Do not place under running water, immerse or soak in water.
  • Wipe the door seal with a damp cloth to get rid of the smoke residue that builds up after each use.

Clean the Smoker Cooking Chamber

To clean the interior chamber of the smoker let it cool completely. Remove the racks, water pan, drip tray and smoker box. Brush any particle buildup downward toward the bottom of the smoker. Sweep the residue out of the chamber. Using warm soapy water, gently scrub the interior surfaces of the smoker with a sponge or a plastic bristle brush (do not use metal). Wipe it dry. If you use a bristle brush, make sure no loose bristles remain on any of the cooking surfaces prior to cooking.

Note: The interior of the cooking chamber will continue to darken with use and will not return to a shiny silver color with scrubbing. This darkening inhibits rusting and actually improves the performance of the infrared cooking system.

Clean the Outside of the Smoker

Clean the exterior control panel on top of the smoker by wiping with a damp cloth using warm soapy water. Wipe dry.

If your smoker is equipped with a window, use only cleaners approved for use on ceramic glass cook tops, and clean both the interior and exterior.

Clean the Thermostats

With a damp cloth using soapy water, clean the surface of the two thermostats located on the rear inside wall of the smoker and wipe dry.

How to Season a Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker

Before you use your new smoker, you need to season, or cure, it. Seasoning the smoker prepares it for cooking by burning off any residues left over from the manufacturing process, like machine oils and dust.

The overall process takes about two hours, but after that, you won’t have to do it again.

  1. Make sure the water pan and smoker box are in place.
  2. Plug in the smoker and press the Power Button once.
  3. Press the Temp Button and set the temperature to 275 degrees.
  4. Press the Time button and set the time to two hours.
  5. Once two hours has elapsed, turn off the smoker and let it cool.
  6. The smoker is now ready to use.

Note: Make sure that the water pan and smoker box are both empty when you season your smoker.

How to Clean Grill Grates

Cleaning your grill grates will help reduce rust buildup and ensure tasty food when you grill. You want to scrape your grates after each use, but you should also do a deep cleanse at least once a year.

Cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore, but depending on what type of grill grates you’re using you want to be careful how you clean them.

Clean Porcelain Grates:

Porcelain grill grates hold heat well and are rust-resistant, but you want to keep them cleaned and cared for. Any chips or scrapes in the porcelain will expose the metal underneath and allow water to seep in, which can create rust. So when cooking with metal tools be careful not to scrape or nick the grates.

When cleaning porcelain grill grates, don’t use metal or wire brushes. Use a soft bristle or a nylon grill brush. Burn off any food leftover on the grates. Then let the grates cool and scrub them with the nylon cleaning brush.

Clean Cast Iron Grates:

Cast iron grill grates are very durable, tolerate high temperatures and create an even cooking surface. They are tough and can withstand just about anything except water — iron is prone to rusting.

When cleaning cast iron grates, burn off any food left over on the grates. Then let the grates cool and scrub them with the nylon cleaning brush. After cleaning the grates, dry and saturate the grates with vegetable oil to prevent rust from forming.

Clean Stainless Steel Grates:

Stainless steel grill grates tolerate intense heat and are fairly rust resistant. It typically only takes a quick brush to keep them clean.

When cleaning stainless steel grates, many grillers cover the top of the grates with tough aluminum foil and heat the grates on high for 10 to 15 minutes. The aluminum foil will concentrate the heat on the grates to burn off the leftover food. Let the grates cool and scrub them with a nylon cleaning brush.

A Deep Cleanse for Stuck-On Food:

Whether you have food that won’t come off with a grill brush or you’re doing your annual deep cleanse, soak the grates in a mix of vinegar and baking soda. The vinegar and baking soda will work together to break apart burnt-on food.

  • Mix 2 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda in a garbage bag.
  • Seal the grates in the garbage bag with a rubber band.
  • Soak the grates overnight.
  • Remove the grates and rinse them off with water. The food that was originally stuck on the grates should fall off, but if there’s anything still stuck on you should be able to easily scrub off the rest.
  • Rinse with cool water and pat dry.

How to Dispose and Recycle Your Old Gas Grill

Proper maintenance and timely replacement of key parts will extend the life of your gas grill. When the time comes to dispose of your old grill, Char-Broil encourages a responsible approach that will yield safe and environmentally friendly results.

Before you dispose of an old grill, be sure to clean it as thoroughly as possible of all food debris. The following guidelines will help you determine how best to discard the grill.

Grill Body

The body of a Char-Broil grill is primarily constructed with recyclable materials including steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Scrap metal dealers can dispose of and sell these raw materials that will eventually be used in a new metal product.

Grill Lid

If the grill lid has plastic handles or sides, check the plastic for the imprinted recycle logo. If the plastic does not have the logo, you’ll need to dispose of the plastic with your regular garbage waste pick-up. Any steel, stainless steel and aluminum can be recycled with local scrap metal dealers who will melt the metal down.

Side Shelves

Remove any plastic side shelves and check them for a recycling mark. If the side shelves are recyclable, they can be recycled with other plastic recyclables. If no recycling mark is found, they should be disposed of in the standard garbage waste pick-up. Metal side shelves can be broken down and recycled at your local scrap metal dealer.

Propane Hose

Cut off the hose that runs from the tank connector to the burners and dispose of it in the standard domestic garbage waste pick-up. It cannot be recycled.

Gas Valves

Gas valves are made of brass or aluminum and can be removed and recycled separately.

Control Knobs

The gas control knobs are recyclable if they are made of black plastic. If they are metal plated, they should be disposed of in the standard garbage waste pick-up.

Electronics and Batteries

Any electronics (ignition wires and electric controllers)  and batteries should be removed and disposed of with consumer electronics. Check your local municipality for e-waste pick-up or drop-off options.

Wheels

Most plastic wheels can be recycled with other recyclable plastic products. Casters should be disposed of with your regular garbage waste pick-up.

LP Tank

LP tanks are typically reusable through various LP tank exchange programs. If you are disposing of a tank, it should be given to a propane gas dealer for recycling or disposal. Due to residual gas, a scrap metal dealer cannot safely dispose of LP tanks.

Why Is My Stainless Steel Grill Rusting?

Outdoor stainless steel grills take a lot of wear and tear. They are exposed to weather, heat, food, cleaning chemicals, scratches and more which makes them especially susceptible to corrosion and blemishes. And while the name itself – stainless – seriously implies no staining, not many things in life are infallible. They require care and routine maintenance to maximize longevity. Stainless steel grills are one such example. Depending on the grade, thickness and finish of the stainless, over time, they may develop some rusting or discoloration.

Weather

Humidity, excessive moisture and salt in the air (as found in coastal areas) may cause small rust pits to develop on the grill’s surface as will certain concentrate bleaches and other cleaning solutions containing chlorine.

Chemicals

Concentrated bleaches and other solutions containing chlorine can also cause rust pits and should not be used on stainless steel.

Smoke

Cooking creates smoke that may eventually coat and discolor the stainless steel surface.

High Heat

Grease fires will darken the stainless steel surface, but will not affect the integrity of the steel. Periodic cleaning of the cooking surface and inside of the grill helps decrease the risk of an unwanted fire.

 

Note: Stainless does not actually “rust” like regular steel where a red oxide appears on the surface that flakes off. So, if you see red rust, it’s likely due to some iron particles (e.g., steel wool) that have contaminated the surface of the stainless steel and it is those particles, not the stainless, that are actually rusting.

How to Remove Rust from Grill

Although, stainless steel is resistant to corrosion, it can still rust. Regular cleaning is necessary to preserve stainless steel.

Soap and Water

Use a mild detergent and warm water to scrub the grill. Do not use a steel or wire wool on stainless. Stick with a soft cloth or sponge.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Use a cup of baking soda and add vinegar little by little until you have a consistent paste. Apply the paste to the grill using a sponge, and let it sit for about 20 to 30 minutes. Scrub it clean with warm water and a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse with warm water.

Lemon Juice and Detergent

Lemon juice can dissolve rust. Mix the juice with a powder detergent and water until it forms a paste. Apply the paste on the rust and let it sit overnight. Scrub it clean with warm water and a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse with warm water.

Soda

Soda contains phosphoric acid that is a main ingredient in many rust removal products. If the rust is on a part that can be easily removed, soak the part in soda over night, rinse with water and scrub the area clean with a soft cloth or sponge.

Commercial Rust Remover

Use a commercial rust remover and follow the directions on the package.

How to Clean Your Gas Grill Burners

It’s nobody’s favorite job, but unless you want to taste the charred remains of last week’s BBQ next time you cook out, you’ve got to clean your grill.

  • Before you begin, be sure to turn off the gas valves and tank valve and disconnect the grill propane tank. You never want any gas flow while you’re cleaning.
  • Next, check your grill manual for tips on how to correctly remove the burners on your particular grill. Once the burners are off, you’re ready to clean.
  • Use a burner cleaning rod, you can find those on CharBroil.com or a small diameter bottle brush to clean out debris inside the burner tube. When the ports get clogged, the propane can’t flow to heat and cook your food.
  • Next, scrub the burners with a Char-Broil wire brush on the outside of the burner to remove food debris and dirt.
  • Check your manual to see the proper procedure of reattaching. Remember to connect the propane tank and your grill will be ready for the next cookout.
  • Cleaning your grill regularly will prolong the life and quality of your grill. Try to clean it thoroughly once a month. When you start to notice the grime, it’s time to clean again.


 

How to Clean Your Gas Grill

We get it. No one looks forward to cleaning a grill. But taking the time for a quick scrub down will make your grill last longer and your food taste better. Plus, a sparkling surface induces grill envy in neighbors, and who doesn’t want that?

You should clean the interior of your grill once month. Exteriors don’t need to be cleaned as often, but we find it’s easier to go ahead and clean the interior and exterior all at once.

Let’s talk tools. You will need:

  • Newspapers
  • Your grill assembly manual
  • Char-Broil grill cleaner
  • Aluminum foil
  • Scrub brush, wire brush, flexible brush. Check out Char-Broil’s site for those accessories.
  • A garden hose
  • Soap and warm water solution
  • High Temperature cooking oil

Start by cleaning the interior. You’re going to have to disassemble your grill to thoroughly clean it, so you can either refer to your assembly manual or—our favorite tip—use your camera or smart phone to take pictures of the order and placement of parts for easy reassembly. You can find your assembly manual on Char-Broil.com.

 To begin, spread newspapers or a tarp over your work area.

Then, make sure the gas is off at both the control knobs and the propane tank or natural gas source.

Start by removing the grids and flame tamers or vaporizer bar. Disconnect the igniter wires and wrap them in aluminum foil for their protection. Now you can easily and safely remove the burner.

Use Char-Broil grill cleaner and scour the interior of the grill top and bottom castings with a scrub brush. When the accumulation of smoke and grease is gone, rinse the pieces with water, then air dry.

Use a burner cleaning rod, you can find those on CharBroil.com, unclog any debris in the holes of your burner ports. When the ports get clogged, the propane can’t flow to heat and cook your food.

How to Prevent Grill Rust

It’s a common misconception that stainless steel won’t rust. Weather and regular use are likely to cause some discoloration. While the rust won’t affect performance, nothing beats a sparkling grill. Fortunately, a few simple tips are all you need to help keep it looking shiny and new.

Regular cleaning is your best defense against rust. Once your grill cools after cooking, take a soft cloth and Char-Broil Stainless Steel Grill Cleaner and rub down the outside of your grill. We also recommend using the Char-Broil Stainless Steel Kit and the Char-Broil Tune Up Kit. Or, for a quick clean, use Char-Broil Stainless Steel Grill Wipes. Water with dishsoap and a soft cloth also works. Always wipe in the direction of the grain or polish lines in the stainless steel surface, not across them. This will prevent scratching. Never use steel or wire wool on your stainless steel.

Afterwards, just your rinse your grill with clean water.

If you live near a beach or even if your grill is kept near your swimming pool, your grill will be more prone to rust. Rinsing the exterior of your grill regularly with clean water will keep the rust at bay.

When you aren’t using your grill, keep it covered and stored in a dry place. This will help prevent rusting and discoloration. You can find covers on Char-Broil.com.

Finally, don’t let stainless steel cleaners come in contact with painted or plastic surfaces on your grill. Treat your grill with care and you’ll prolong the life and looks of your grill.

Winter Grill Maintenance

Even though the summer months may be over, it doesn’t mean it’s time to put away your grill for the winter and forget about it until you’re ready to start grilling again. If you plan on storing your grill outside during the winter months ahead, a few simple tips will help ensure that your grill is ready to go once the weather warms up.

Cleaning Your Grill

The first thing you will want to do is clean your grill. Don’t put your grill away with food debris sitting on your grates; who knows what pests are waiting for a wintery feast.

Deep clean your grill grates and coat with a light rubbing of vegetable oil. This will protect your grates from rusting over an extended period of time.

If your grill has a grease cup, make sure you empty it before storing your grill. Go ahead and remove the ignition battery from your electric starter (if your grill has one) so as to prevent battery corrosion.

Grease Cup
Grease Cup

Check out our articles Cleaning Your Gas Grill, How to Clean Your Charcoal Grill and How to Clean Grill Grates for more tips on deep cleaning your grill and grill grates.

Readying Your Grill for Storage

Before storing your grill for the winter, you need to make sure that you have properly winterized your grill to protect it from any pests that might call it home.

Clean any venturi and burner pipes your grill might have and wrap them in plastic to prevent insects from getting in. Check your control knobs, venturi tubes and the coupling nut of your regulator for any unwanted pests. Look underneath all grates and drip pans as well.

Inspect your grill for cracks, scratches or damaged parts. If any parts aren’t working, replace them now so you can get grilling when springtime rolls around. Any Char-Broil parts you need are on Charbroil.com.

When you are ready to store your grill, select a properly sized grill cover to protect your grill from the elements AND pests. A cover that has drawstrings or straps at the bottom is your best bet.

For more tips on readying your grill for storage, check out our articles How to Clean Your Gas Grill Burners and How to Prevent Animals & Insects from Nesting in Grills.

Storing Your Grill

Once your grill is clean, dry and covered, store it in a cool, dry place, preferably sheltered from rain and snow. Make sure that when storing a gas grill, you disconnect and remove the propane tank. Store your grill in a garage or storage shed, but leave the propane tank outside. The propane tank can withstand temperatures of -50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pay your grill an occasional visit during the winter months—just to make sure no pests have made a winter home.

Every grill is different. Yours may require a couple extra steps to prepare it for the winter season. The key to keeping your grill around for the long haul is making sure that no matter the season, your grill is properly stored and maintained for the years to come.