People buy offset smokers and use it for a long time. They spend hundreds of dollars to buy a good quality offset smoker. Most of people consider it as an investment and they use it for many years and do not replace it with a new one. But if you want to use your offset smoker for a long time, you need to keep it dust-free and may need to clean it regularly. This article teaches you and gives you all the details on how to clean offset smokers and How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Clean Smoker.
When you cook, some debris will remain on the cooking grates of your smoker. You may find ash inside your offset smoker’s firebox. Sometimes, you also get some grease and grime on the cooking chamber button. To manage such situations or if you are facing such situations, you need to properly clean your smoker.
How To Clean An Offset Smokers?
Cleaning the offset smoker is a very important task. The ash left behind from smoking your beautiful piece of meat will often be substantial. If you leave this material in the smoker’s firebox for extended periods of time, rust will develop and metal will break down. It is not good to leave your smoker with debris that can damage your offset smoker. So, try to clean it right after the cooking. In order to make an offset smoker last as long as possible, there are a number of different methods that can be used.
Materials Required For Cleaning Process
To properly clean an offset smoker, certain materials are required. Some of the materials required for the cleaning procedure are listed below.
- Soft cloth
- Spray bottle
- Non-metal brush with soft bristles
- Plastic tarp
- Normal recycle bag to empty out ash and debris
- Apple cider vinegar
- Pam Oil/Jar of Oil/Rag dipped in oil
- Wood to get fire started
A Step-By-Step Guide
The best time to clean your smoker is in the morning after cooking. You can clean it after every week or even once or twice a week. Cleaning your smoker sooner rather than later will ensure that you can use it again sooner. You should also deep clean your smoker four to five times a year, especially if you have delayed maintenance or this is especially true if the product has been unused for a long time. You should not clean the cooking chamber too often, so as not to disturb the smoker seasoning process.
1. Empty the Firebox
Emptying the firebox is the first step in cleaning an offset smoker. Remove the firebox grates and allow the ash fall to the bottom of the firebox. You can help the ash by grabbing a small brush and sweeping it into the ashtray. You should remove any large pieces of wood or charcoal from the ashtray with your hands to prevent them from getting stuck.
After removing the ashes from the ashtray, place them in the rubbish bin or on the ground. Place the cooking grates back into the firebox and slide the draw back into the firebox. There is a difference in the amount of ash produced by different kinds of charcoal and wood. So, you can get too much or too little ash in your ashtray.
2. Cleaning Cooking Chamber
Now it’s time to clean the cooking chamber as you have cleaned all the ash from the firebox.
Now remove the stainless steel grates and heat deflection plates, so you can easily access the entire chamber from top to bottom. You can clean debris using a paper towel. Be sure not to use any harsh surface paper or abrasives as this may damage the active coating sprayed on the surface by the manufacturer during the cooking process.
If you choose not to cleanse the excess oil or other debris each time, it can actually start to accumulate and overflow, which is not good.
3. Clean The Heat Deflection Plates
It is time to clean the heat deflection plates after cleaning the cooking chamber.
This step does not require much time. In this step, you also need to use a paper towel again to absorb the fat. Just like the cooking chamber, these deflection plates are easy to clean using a paper towel. Using a spatula, remove any baked food that’s difficult to remove. Food doesn’t touch the heat deflector plates, so they’re not necessarily clean.
4. Clean The Cooking Grates
You need to clean the cooking grates in the next step. This step requires proper cleaning as these cooking grates are in direct contact with your food. Otherwise, if you don’t clean the cooking grates well, they can lead to the growth of bacteria that can contaminate your food. So you have to make sure that they are perfectly clean. Most offset smoker models available today use stainless steel, porcelain/chrome coated grates that can be easily cleaned without any hassle.
It is best to take them out of the smoker and soak them in hot water in your sink for a few minutes. If you have a small sink, you can place a bowl in there with the hot water. To remove the food and grease debris, you can use a barbecue degreaser. Once you use the degreaser and allow it to sit in hot water for about 5 minutes, you can scrape away the debris with a wire brush. Leaving the debris in hot water for a few minutes will make it easy to remove.
Once you turn off the smoker, you can clean the grates by removing the grates and scraping with a soft wire brush to remove the debris. Heat accelerates this process, especially if the debris is not left on the grates for an extended period of time.
To prevent your smoker from rusting, keep it properly seasoned for a while. A spray cane or spray bottle can be used for this purpose. Then light the firebox. When the grates stop smoking that means the oil has soaked up, and you’re ready to start cooking.
6. Finishing Off
After cleaning the smoker, it’s time to set up the smoker as it was before cleaning. You have to put each part in its place. Your smoker is ready for next time. It shouldn’t take too much time to clean your offset smoker. If you’re doing it for the first time, it might take a few minutes, but if you’re prepared and familiar with the process, it may take less time. So, it’s time to give your smoker a shiny clean.
Why Is Cleaning A Wood Offset Smoker Important?
Cleaning the offset smoker is an important process. You should clean your smoker for several reasons, including fire hazards, rust prevention, and possible allergies caused by rusty offset smokers.
Over time, ash, wood, and food parts can build up inside the smoker and choke the flow of smoke, resulting in a fire.
Most smokers are placed outside, where they are exposed to the elements. If you clean and season it regularly, you can prevent your offset smoker from rusting.
The debris inside the offset smoker can cause some allergic odors. You don’t like sitting in this mess. Therefore, smoker cleaning reduces such allergic odors.
How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar To Clean Offset Smoker?
Due to the smoking method most food residues, tough stains, and stubborn grease are likely to occur in the inner grill. If not cleaned regularly, cooking racks will serve as an unhealthy home of many germs. In extreme cases where your regular hot soapy water won’t work, you can use apple cider vinegar to clean offset smoker.
Apple cider vinegar is an amazing antiseptic as well as a cleaning agent.
- Clean the inside of your offset smoker using warm water and apple cider vinegar, evenly mixed in a spray bottle.
- Spray this solution on the inner walls and chambers as well as the rack or grill.
- Allow the solution sit for ten to fifteen minutes to allow grease and debris to be broken down.
- Clean oil and dirt residue from the inner chamber with a plastic putty knife or scrubber.
- Then wipe the entire offset smoker with a soft damp cloth.
- Allow it to air dry naturally to eliminate odors.
How Often Should You Clean Your Offset Smoker?
You need to clean your smoker when you first set up your smoker. Most offset smokers require periodic maintenance and repairs, and all smokers should be cleaned regularly after everyday use. By doing this, your smokers last longer. Otherwise, you may run into some issues like rusting of the grates, misfiring of the offset smoker, and more. Always try to keep your smoker clean to avoid such problems.
How To Prevent An Offset Smoker From Rust?
When cleaning your offset smoker, you will notice some debris and rust inside the smoker. This can cause some harm to your smoker. Therefore, you can eliminate it by following some simple and effective methods of maintaining the smoker that will help to reduce the growth of rust.
1. Keep Your Smoker and Grill Covered
If your smoker or offset smoker grill is made of iron-based metal, you should try to cover it. This can help you to prevent your smoker from rusting. If you don’t pay proper attention to protecting your smoker, your smoker and grill can be exposed to the elements. This causes rust on the grill, which builds up over smoker. If your smoker is kept outside, try to cover it with a cloth or a canopy to protect it from rain or wind. For better rust protection, you should try purchasing an offset smoker cover.
2. Add Oil Before Adding Your Food
Always try to add oil to the grill before adding your food to the offset smoker. This method is beneficial for you because it protects your smoker and prevents it from rusting.
Since these smoker grates are made of iron, there is an increased chance of the grate rusting. But you can keep your smoker safe from rusting by properly oiling it. After heating your offset smoker grate and reaching the desired temperature, carefully oil it with a brush. Using high smoke point oil instead of any oil will prevent it from burning and completely evaporating.
This article explains how to clean offset smokers, how to use Apple Cider Vinegar To Clean Smoker and several other ways to clean your smoker. You can try different methods and techniques to clean your offset smoker. A properly cleaned offset smoker works well. Grease and debris reduce performance and eventually wear away the protective layers on your unit’s surfaces, so you should consider doing this at least a few times a year.
To avoid wasting money and purchasing a new model in just two to three years, you should keep your smoker clean. It usually takes between 10-15 minutes if it’s your first time, and less if you’re familiar with the procedure. A properly cleaned smoker lasts longer and you don’t need to buy a new model.