How to clean a charcoal smoker?

Discussion in 'Food Safety' started by chris n, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. chris n

    chris n Newbie

    Hi everyone. I am new here and this is my first time asking a question so I apologize if this is in the wrong place. So far I have been able to answer any questions by using the search bar, but I can't really find an answer to a couple of questions I have. I have a Char-Broil box smoker like the one in the picture. It has a thick black coating on the inside from using it all summer. I have read that it should be cleaned periodically but I have had friends tell me it should never be cleaned since it is good and seasoned. My first question is, should it be cleaned periodically? My second question is if it needs cleaning, what is the best way to clean it? I thought maybe starting a hot fire inside it and letting it burn off. Not sure that is a good idea. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for your help.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  2. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I don't have your particular smoker but when I clean out my charcoal grill/smokers I just grab a few pieces of newspaper, crumple it up & scrub the inside of the smoker that way... All the loose stuff just falls off ! I'm sure others will chime in with different methods, this is just what I've found works best for me ! The seasoning of the smoker will not come off unless do some serious cleaning, but ya want the seasoning to stay, the newspaper just knocks off the creosote type stuff that builds up !

    BTW, that's one dang nice whitetail ya have there in your pic ! Thumbs Up
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  3. chris n

    chris n Newbie

    Thank you. I didn't think about the news paper. That's a great idea.
  4. idahomuskrat

    idahomuskrat Smoke Blower

    On the same note as the newspaper you can use wadded up aluminium foil to scrub the gunk off of your seasoned metal as well. Tis the way my grandfather did it on his grills for years.
  5. smokingma

    smokingma Smoke Blower

    Hi everyone. Been a while since I posted but I was checking out my smoker and saw some rust and crust that I'm not sure how to clean. I have added some pictures. Any assistance is welcomed.
  6. Hello.  Even though smokinGMA sort of hijacked this thread I think it is a good example of two extremes.  I agree with the guys on knocking off the rough for Chris N's smoker.  Just knock off any nasty build up.

    For smokinGMA it is a totally different story.  We have rust and such.  For that smoker I would take it to the car wash.  Use engine cleaner and high pressure wash and totally clean that smoker.  Hit the rust with a wire brush and maybe clean again.  Then coat it all with veg. oil, build a fire and re-season.  Once done it should be good to go.  Just my opinion.  Keep Smokin!

  7. smokingma

    smokingma Smoke Blower

    Sorry for highjacking. I searched cleaning smokers and this came up. :(

    But thank you Danny for answering. Never thought about engine cleaner. I'll post a new thread to see if i can get additional suggestions
  8. Hello.  Not a problem with the hijack.  Sometimes a hijack goes off on a tangent.  This one was actually helpful.  It showed folks the difference between a simple clean up and a scrub and start again.  All is good smokinGMA.  Keep Smokin!

  9. danquixote

    danquixote Newbie SMF Premier Member

    I think I would try one of the organic based cleaners....Natural Orange is a personal favorite. I just don't want any petroleum distillates in the smoker. It's why I use a chimney starter instead of lighter fluid. Perhaps a good rinse will eliminate this concern, but why take a chance.  And as a side note....Natural Orange is considered kosher, if that is of concern to you.
  10. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Use a balled up wad of foil. I would not spray anything in my smoker except water/vinegar mix.

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