Are you wondering about how to clean an electric smoker? You can come to the right article to get the information. We have explained the cleaning process in the most straightforward steps to make cleaning a fun exercise for you. Additionally, all the cleaning materials will be easily accessible to you. So, no need to buy expensive grills and smoker cleaners.
Electric smokers need extra maintenance. In the case of improper cleaning, grease and residue tend to accumulate in the smoker leading to mold formation and rusting. Sadly many people are not aware of the proper cleaning method. This article aims to provide all the necessary information regarding easy cleaning.
To make the cleaning process easy, it is better to divide it into different steps. Following the step makes it less hectic and hassle-free. People fear cleaning and maintenance because they do not follow the proper way. Now, let us get into the detail of major cleaning issues and how to get rid of them:
Molds in Electric smokers
Molds need moisture and grease to grow. It is all available in electric smokers, so there is no chance you will get away with mold. The smokers are designed to trap moisture, so all of it is accumulated in the chamber. However, they will not develop instantly but over the passage of time. Thus it is necessary to clean the electric smoker over regular intervals rather than only when you are going to use it.
Maggots in Electric Smokers
Like molds, maggots also grow in moisture and grease. They feed on the left residue of food left after smoking and utilize moisture to survive. Also, the drip pan can be their breeding ground as it collects the drip. Some of the users take cleaning for granted. To ensure your health and safety, always clean the electric smoker frequently.
What Materials will you need for cleaning?
There are specific materials recommended for cleaning electric smokers. Do not use any chemical spray to clean the inside. It will react to the steel or porcelain coating on grates deteriorating the structure.
There are no expensive cleaning materials you will need to buy. Everything you will need is in your kitchen. This is the perk of an electric smoker, as you will not need to spend a fortune to maintain it. All you will need is apple cider vinegar/ regular vinegar or baking soda. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and cleaning agent. Baking soda will help in removing tough stains.
- Take spray water and fill it with warm water. Take equal quantities of apple cider vinegar and warm water. Warm water enhances the action of apple cider vinegar.
- Add one or two pinches of baking soda. It is completely an option.
- To scrub off the debris, you need a sponge or a plastic brush with soft bristles.
- A soft piece of cloth will also do the job or an old newspaper.
- Always wear a mask and gloves to avoid skin contact with molds and debris.
- You will need a sponge and a plastic scraper to clean the debris.
- Griller cleaner, which is totally optional.
Another cleaning agent that you can use for electric smokers is oven cleaners. Oven cleaners are manufactured specifically to disinfect and clean the ovens. They have harmful chemicals in composition along with caustic soda. In other words, both are detrimental to health. You need to be extra careful with oven cleaners.
Proper rinsing is required after use to remove the left chemicals. In case of improper cleaning, the chemicals will remain in contact with cooking grates. When you use an electric smoker, chemicals will infuse into the food.
4 Easy Steps for Cleaning an Electric Smoker
The following steps will tell you how to clean an electric smoker. It’s less hectic, and we promise you will not get into any trouble. Let us get into the detail:
- If you have just used the smoker, leave it till it has cooled down.
- If you have not used an electric smoker for a few weeks or months, heat it up to its maximum temperature. The duration should be from one hour to two hours then let it cool.
- Heating the electric smoker will burn any mold or maggots present inside. After burning, they will have a brown appearance and can be scraped off easily.
- Make sure it is cooled down correctly to avoid any damage on contact.
1. Clean the exterior of the Electric Smoker
Wipe off any stains on the exterior walls of the electric smoker. The exterior is exposed to dust and harsh weather conditions. Clean the dust and stains with a simple damp cloth. You don’t need to use a mixture of vinegar and water for the exterior body. Likewise, clean the handles and glass window, if any, which might have any grease.
2. Cleaning the Removable Components
After cleaning the exterior now, let’s get into the interior. The interior is the main part of an electric smoker with a cooking chamber, and it requires most cleaning and maintenance.
- Slide out all the removable elements of the electric smoker first. These elements include a wood pan, dripping tray, and cooking grates.
- If you have just used the smoker, empty the wood pan and dripping tray first.
- Be careful to empty the smoke box when all the chips have been extinguished. If the ash is still hot, dispose of it off in a noncombustible container. You can dump it in a regular trash can if it has been extinguished completely.
- You can use a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar for cleaning the cooking grates and other elements. But we recommend you soak them in warm water with some soap for a few minutes to soften the grease and stains.
- Soak cooking grates, dripping pan, and smokebox in water.
- After a few minutes, scrub off the stains with a brush or damp clothes.
- Leave the elements to dry after cleaning.
3. Cleaning the interior walls of Electric Smoker
Read the below-mentioned steps carefully for easy cleaning of interior walls. It is important to remember that the interior walls of every electric smoker get darker with use. This darkening is termed a seasoning that enhances the performance of electric smokers.
- Cover the base of the electric smoker with a plastic sheet, newspaper, or cloth to catch the debris.
- Spray the apple cider vinegar and warm water solution on the inside walls and leave it for fifteen minutes.
- For scrubbing the debris, you should always use a plastic scraper for easily removable stains and a brush with small bristles for tough stains.
- Now start scrapping the debris from the walls. It will be collected on the base.
- Clean the inside gently.
- Don’t forget the corners as they are mostly overlooked when cleaning.
- Now with the help of a sponge or damp cloth, gently wipe out the interior walls. This will clean any grease build-up on the interior side.
- Clean the inside of the door and the glass window. Glass window becomes covered with moisture and smoke during use, which leads to grease formation. You can clean the grease by using the tough side of the sponge and scrubbing it gently. Or you can use a grill cleaner as well for pellet grills.
- In the end, wipe out any grease on the door seal, which may lead to gaps formation indoor.
4. Last Step of Cleaning
Always make sure to rinse the electric smoker and its component properly to remove any residue or detergent. If you are short of towels, use an old newspaper to dry the electric smoker. Or you can leave it to air dry for an hour or two. This will remove all the moisture inside the electric smoker that may lead to molds and rusting later.
Now fix back the removal components in the cooking chamber. First, put a smoke box, grease pan first followed by cooking grates. Now store it in a safe and dry place. Another trip for easy cleaning is to cover the grease pan and smokebox with aluminum foil. Just discard the foil after use. That way, you will not need to clean the dripping pan and smokebox later.
Things to be Taken Care of While Cleaning
- Use caustic soda in the rarest cases because it is really hard to rinse. It will ruin the taste of your smoked meal with a strange odor.
- You can clean the food thermometer and meat probe by gently wiping it with a damp piece of cloth.
- When using a plastic brush, always check for any bristles after use.
How to Clean a New Electric Smoker?
Just like old electric smokers, a brand new electric smoker also needs cleaning, which is generally referred to as seasoning. This is to make sure any unwanted substances and chemicals left during the manufacturing of electric smokers are evaporated. It includes oil residue, contaminants, and chemicals.
The seasoning process will take not less than three hours. Preheat the electric smoker to the highest temperature and leave it for three hours. To maximize the heat for residue burning, you can add wood chips in the smokebox. The smoke will disinfect and sanitize the interior. Let the smoker cool down after three hours of constant heating. Now you can wipe it out with a towel or newspaper, and it is all set for smoking.
We are sure this article has answered your question of how to clean an electric smoker in every way. We tried to mention the easiest method in detail to make the cleaning process hassle-free for you. Now stop reading and start cleaning.