Cleaning an electric smoker is important to keep it working, and for health. Read to find an easy way to remove all the junk from the electric smoker.
Who doesn’t love the convenience, ease of handling, and flavors of an electric smoker? It’s a great alternative to a charcoal smoker, with none of its hassle and mess. All that comfort doesn’t come for free, though. Electric smokers require proper maintenance and cleaning, which is something that shouldn’t be overlooked.
You wouldn’t want to go through the embarrassment at your guests seeing the untidy smoker you are using to host them. Not to mention the risk you put your family’s health in. Cleaning of an electric smoker needs to be thorough, but it’s not tricky or difficult.
Head down to find an easy but effective way to clean an electric smoker. This method will clean some pretty stubborn junk on an electric smoker. Though you need to be consistent in doing the cleaning on the recommended basis, delaying only makes it worse.
How to Clean an Electric Smoker? – Getting Started
Cleaning the Interior of the Electric Smoker
1. Let the Electric Smoker Cool Down First
The first important step is to let your smoker cool down completely if you have used it recently; that’s for obvious reasons, of course. Though, the step is mandatory even if you have not used the smoker for quite some time. In that case, turn on the smoker and let it heat up at its maximum temperature.
After that, turn it off and let it cool down, enough for you to touch it safely and easily. That way, it will be much easier for you to clean the smoker because any dust, debris, or buildup that has hardened over time will be warm and easy to remove.
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2. Remove all the Detachable Parts of Electric Smoker and Clean Them
2.1. Clean the Smoker Box
A smoker box is a part responsible for that smokey flavor in your food. There might still be burnt wood chips or ashes in the smoker box of the smoker, so let’s get that out of the way first. Remove the box and throw off any ash or burnt wood chips in a bin.
Before that, check if the ash is still warm; if it is, let it cool down in a non-combustible container before disposing of it to avoid any chances of it catching fire. Wipe the box clean with a clean damp cloth. You can also use a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water, ½ and ½ proportions of both, spray it on the box and then wipe it clean.
2.2. Clean the Other Parts of Electric Smoker
The other parts of an electric smoker typically include a water pan, drip pan, and shelves, which can be greasy or dusty. Remove these parts from the smoker and soak them into hot water into a kitchen sink, mixed with soap or detergent. If your smoker’s components are dishwasher safe, that lifts the burden off your hands; all you gotta do is let the machine do the job.
Back to the soaking components in the sink, after leaving them like that for a few minutes, the grease and dirt must have loosened up, making the washing much easier. If there is something like a hardened layer of dirt on any of the parts, scrap that out using a scraper, that would also be made easier by the soaking.
3. Wash and Rinse Electric Smoker
After scraping away any hardened debris, wash all the parts using a soft sponge. Grill brushes are also used for the same purpose, but if you are using one, make sure it doesn’t have metal bristles. Metal bristles are not safe since they can break off while rubbing and can be left on the parts when you put them back in and use them. These can then get in your food cooked in the smoker, and, well, you see where it’s headed right.
So, no metal bristles; rather, use grill brushes with nylon bristles that don’t break off, though; make sure you don’t use them on heated parts, or they can melt. Gently scrub all the parts, rinse and wipe them dry. Be specifically thorough while cleaning grills and racks; these can have pretty stubborn layers of grease and oil stuck on them due to being.
If not cleaned properly, the accumulated grease can affect the food flavor. You can save yourself the struggle to some extent by greasing the racks or grills with oil each time before cooking.
4. Clean the Inner Chamber of Electric Smoker
The main chamber of the electric smoker is what will give you an awful jolt; it’s going to be rotten! It gets sticky and greasy every time after use; all of it, the walls, the floor, at the top, and at the end, ends up with the most filth. Get a sponge and a scraper or soft bristle brush (be thoughtful of the instructions above).
Start cleaning the walls and roof of the smoker first, leave the bottom for last; you can also lay some sheet or tray at the bottom to collect all the filth that falls off. Start by getting rid of the hardened grease at the surfaces, scrap all of it off with a scraper or a soft bristle brush (no metal) and let it fall at the bottom.
After that, use warm soapy water and a sponge to rub and wipe the surface clean, which should wash away all the remaining dirt. Come to the bottom surface now; if you put a sheet there, remove and empty it. Otherwise, brush all the fallen dirt with a brush into a tray or pan. Then, clean the bottom the same way.
Throughout the whole process, remember to be gentle and not scrap, scrub, or rub vigorously in hopes of bringing back the shine of your smoker. That is not going to happen; your smoker is going to darken after every use, never to be the same silvery again, and that is for good. This protects the smoker from being rusted and enhances the infrared cooking process.
Also read about Best Smoker Thermometers
5. Clean the Glass Door of an Electric Smoker
The inside of the glass door can catch similar conditions like the walls of the smoker, grease, and oil accumulated to form a thick layer. That can obviously hinder you from peeking inside to check on the food in the smoker through the glass.
Most of the cleaning process is similar except for some of the extra cautions. Use warm water and a sponge to wash the glass, scraper to scrape off the dirty layer. Don’t use a cloth to wipe; stick to a sponge or a newspaper; otherwise, the glass will be left with streaks. As for the scraper, use a wooden or plastic one, not metal.
Cleaning The Exterior of Electric Smoker
Cleaning the exterior of the smoker is much easier. Use a cloth damped in warm water to wipe the smoker from the outside and remove any dirt or cobwebs. You can use a stainless steel cleaner as well if your smoker is stainless steel. Make sure you clean the door seal properly as well; it’s commonly overlooked, in which case the smoker’s performance can be affected.
Never put the smoker under running water; only use a damp cloth over it. After wiping the unit clean, use a newspaper or paper towel to dry it. After that, keep the smoker’s door open for an hour at a minimum to let it air dry.
Make sure you don’t close it and store it while some parts are still damp, which can cause mold and rust inside. Now that it’s completely dry, time to put back the removable parts. Those need to be completely dried up first, of course, and that’s it, the end of the cleaning process.
Final Words about Electric Smoker Cleansing
There you have it, the guide to clean an electric smoker, not so difficult, is it? But totally effective, nonetheless. It’s ideal for cleaning the smoker after every use, so the cleaning process will not be messy. Since that’s difficult to manage amidst our busy schedules, that can be extended to 4 to 5 uses. Though, make sure you clean it within that while, keeping your smoker clean is crucial for obvious reasons. It’s a matter of your and your family’s health, not meant to be ignored.
Hi, I am Anthony Bourdain, founder of SmokersChef. I graduated in Restaurant Management from Dallas Culinary College. I’m a single dad, chef by profession and hunter by passion. I am a die-hard foodie and expert in smooking and grilling meat. I have started SmokersChef to create a perfect gathering place for single moms and dads to get recipes and products to cook delicious food for their families.