What can I do to keep my smoker clean and working great?

If you enjoy smoking food, then you should also understand the importance of caring for your smoker to make sure it lasts as long as possible; it’s a valuable tool.

First, if you are using your smoker for the first time, spray the inside of the body and lid with a non-stick vegetable-oil spray to help prevent rust. Line the charcoal and water pans with aluminum foil for easy clean-up. You can also make your wood chips last longer by placing them in an aluminum foil “pouch” and punching pea-sized holes in the top of that pouch.

If this is not your first time, here are some steps you can take to ensure your smoker is with you for a long time to come:

  1. Remove ashes. After every use, as soon as the smoker is cooled off, clean the ashes out of the bottom. You can use a small garden shovel or similar tool. Ashes, if combined with water, will produce rust and that’s something you want to avoid. This is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure a longer smoker life.
  2. Maintain grates: Spray the grates with a little cooking oil to keep the meat from sticking to them for easy removal of food and faster cleanup. A stiff grill brush will help.
  3. Inspect it. The key to maintaining your smoker is to inspect it from time to time. Ensure no rust is forming. If you find some, remove it. Elbow grease and some sandpaper will do the trick. Now, touch up the area with a little high heat barbecue paint.
  1. Oil it. It’s a good idea to oil hinges and door handles to keep from rusting.   
  2. Cover it. If your smoker is exposed to the elements, cover it up to protect it.

If you practice routine maintenance, there’s no reason your smoker shouldn’t last for years to come.