Electric Smoker Care and Cleaning

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by trippleaaa, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. So, I've used our MES about 8 times since we bought it last month. I'm noticing it looks pretty unsanitary in there (I'm used to clean pots and pans in the kitchen). The racks look great as well as the water pan and drip pan on the bottom but the rest of the inside is brown and has spatter and drip marks. Most of it doesn't just wipe off. Is this normal, or am I not caring for it properly?
  2. In my electric smoker I wash the racks and pans.  I use foil on the bottom to catch drips missed by the water pan and change that out regularly.  I wipe out anything gooey.  I do not clean the sides, just let them smoke over, similar to my charcoaler.  I suppose they will need scraped some day, haven't yet after two or so years..
  3. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    All I ever did with my 6 year old MES 40. Now I'm doing the same with my new one:

    Wash racks after each use.

    Wash Water Pan & cover it with foil to avoid cleaning often.

    Remove bottom drip pan & cover floor with foil. I might leave the bottom drip in my new one & cover it with foil.

    Occasionally clean around the top vent, so it keeps working freely.

    As for the walls & ceiling, I never clean them, but if they get loose stuff hanging from them, I brush them off so nothing falls on my food.

    Also clean around the two Heat sensors on the back wall occasionally.

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    There is nothing in a smoker that is unsanitary as in harbors bacteria. It is an oven covered in antiseptic smoke. You don't even have to clean the racks if all you did was Hot Smoke in it as every time you preheat, any bacteria that might possibly survive with the lack of moisture, salt and smoke on the racks is killed. Many BBQ Joints have 50, 100 year old smokers that no inch has ever seen water. Now since you most likely will get into Cold Smoking Cheese, Bacon, etc., Cleaning as described above is all you need. The Seasoning that builds on the walls contributes to the Q flavor. I saw a recent TV show where one of two smokers had a grease fire and had to be replaced. They blind tasted the flavor of Brisket smoked in the new and old unit and claimed a very noticeable difference...JJ
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
  5. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Just as I don't worry about my stainless steel pots and pans looking used by having the bottoms covered with brown stains and other heat-caused discolorations (we have a propane gas stove) I don't worry about my MES 30 no longer looking new and shiny. If you're going to worry about your cooking stuff looking used--why use them then?

    I only clean what needs to be cleaned: racks, drip pans, water pan, places on the interior walls where dried food and BBQ sauce is stuck, the ceiling where black, crumbly deposits form, the inside of the top heat vent, wherever grease or drippings have fallen or pooled up, a rubdown every so often of interior door, wall and floor surfaces to remove any light grease buildup. I also clean the two sensors on the back wall. But I don't get obsessed with it. Smoker interiors will never stay shiny and clean inside and you don't want that anyway. Show me one professional BBQ restaurant (not the franchises) or BBQ Pitmaster competing in various competitions whose smokers are spotless. And there is a difference between clean and spotless.

    I use only damp paper towels for the smoker and I use liquid soap and powdered cleanser with a scrub sponge for the removal metal parts like racks and pans.

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