Your electric smoker looks like it has half of those delicious pork ribs you had for dinner plastered on the inside of them. Yes, it’s time to clean your electric smoker. In this article, we will be discussing how to clean an electric smoker from top to bottom.
How To Clean an Electric Smoker The Right Way
Cleaning a smoker is essential because you don’t want to let moisture, grease, and smoke residue build up in there along with old meat particles. It can get quite nasty pretty quickly if not well maintained. So, let’s go over how to clean your smoker from top to bottom and front to back. Remember — there is more than just the inside chamber that will need cleaning.
Cleaning the Smoking Chamber
The first thing that needs to be done in this not-so-fun process is to clean the main smoking chamber where the meat gets smoked. This is a 4-step process, not particularly hard, but you will need a bit of elbow grease, especially if you’ve just smoked a big load of greasy meat.
Empty the Chamber
The first step in this process is to remove everything from the chamber that can be removed. This means removing smoking hooks and racks, the drip tray, the water dish, the wood chip tray, and everything in between.
Removing Soot and Ash
Now you will want to get a trash bin or garbage bag and use a soft brush or cloth to remove as much of the ash, soot, and food residue as possible. You may want to make a 50/50 mix of warm water and apple cider vinegar to spray the interior. A bit of moisture will go a long way in removing ash.
Grease and food can get very caked on inside of a smoker, and this means that you will need a soft brush and that water/cider mixture we spoke of above. It’s time to saturate all-stuck on foods and grease with that mixture and let it soak for a minute. Then, using your brush, get to scrubbing. This will take a little bit of elbow grease, and you want to make sure to get into all corners and tight spaces.
Wipe it All Out
Once you have scrubbed the interior, use a cloth or towel to wipe everything out.
It’s a good idea to place newspaper or something similar under the opening of the smoker as you wipe out the residue, because you don’t want all of that ash, soot, grease, and old food to get all over the ground.
Finish this off by wiping the inside down one last time with the water and cider mix, just to remove anything that may be remaining.
Cleaning the Racks and Hooks
Now that you have cleaned the interior of your electric smoker, the next thing you need to do is clean the smoking racks and hooks that have been used to hold the meat in the smoker. Due to the fact that these will have been in direct contact with the meat, they will probably require a lot of scrubbing to get clean.
Get a Grill Scrubber
The only real way to remove any burnt and stuck-on food residue is to get behind your racks and hooks with a heavy-duty scrubber. You know those hard scrubber brushes for barbeques? One of those will do just fine for this. Scrape off as much residue as possible.
Removing the Grease
While the scrub brush should have removed all of the stuck on food from the racks and hooks, there will still be grease and residue remaining. To remove this, you will want to get a good sponge, hot water, and some grease-cutting soap. From here on out, it’s pretty straightforward!
You will also need to clean the interior trays, particularly the drip pan. Some soap, hot water, and a good sponge should do fine for all trays.
Cleaning the Windows – Interior and Exterior
Now that the interior chamber and all the smoking racks are clean, it’s time to wipe down any windows that your smoker might have. Windows, especially the inside, get really dirty from grease splatter and moisture, so this does need to be done.
Just like for the interior of the smoker, for the windows, you will want to mix apple cider vinegar and hot water with a 50/50 ratio.
Get to Spraying
Next, take that water and vinegar solution and spray every last inch of every window, both inside and out. You can start with the outside, as this will be much easier. The outside should not have much of anything on it, so this is really just a formality.
Get to Scrubbing
The interior glass is going to be more difficult because it will be covered with all sorts of residue. After having let the vinegar mix sit for a few minutes, get a soft sponge that can be used on glass and start scrubbing. Because you cannot use a harsh scrubber on glass, removing really stuck on or burnt particles might take some time.
Wipe it Down
Once all stuck-on residue has been loosened. Take a cloth or paper towel and wipe it all away. You may need to spray the windows with the mixture again to remove remaining residue and to get a streak-free finish.
Cleaning the Exterior
The only other thing left to do here is to clean the exterior. Unless you’ve attempted to use the outside of the smoker for cooking, this should be no more difficult than wiping down the exterior with a moist and warm cloth.
Be sure to clean your smoker after every use, because it’s always easier to clean a little bit of residue after each use than it is to let the grease and grime build up to the point where you might need to wear a hazmat suit to keep yourself safe while scrubbing. Cleaning a smoker is not hard, but it does need to be done regularly.