You surely have asked or thought – how to season a smoker? Is it even necessary? This is an important process that should be completed before you make use of your new smoker for the first time. There are diverse ways on how to season a smoker and they will generally differ depending on the brand of smoker you purchase.
Story Behind Seasoning Process
During the manufacturing and shipping process of smokers, there are usually units of debris left inside the new smoker. This is normal and happens with many types of products, not just barbecuing smokers. The debris will usually take the form of dust, oils, grease, metal shavings, cardboard and wood splinters. It is likely that your new smoker will have a light coating of oil or something similar on the inside. The manufacturers coat the inside with oil to stop it from rusting. What seasoning does is removes all of this debris, destroys contaminants, helps to seal the pores and bakes the paint of your new smoker. In short, seasoning or curing a smoker will make it ready for use and is a must to do once you have finished constructing it.
How to Season a Smoker: Instructions & Tips
Seasoning a smoker is so important to help burn away any contaminants that might have been left by the manufacturing process. This will prevent the undesirables in the smoker from tainting the taste or smell of the food.
If the smoker is not seasoned, it will not only ruin the taste of your food but there may be solvents or glues that are burned that can be dangerous to the human health if consumed.
There are different ways to how to season a smoker depending on the type of smoker you own. There will definitely be a brief description in the instruction booklet to tell you exactly what you can and can’t do with your smoker.
Steps and Instructions for Seasoning Your Smoker
The first thing to do is to start with some soapy water and a wash cloth. Give the inside of your smoker a quick wash down with the soapy water to remove any oil on the inside. Be careful not to scratch the surface. Once you’ve finished that leave it to air dry.
Once it has dried, get a can of olive oil, vegetable oil or some cooking oil and put it inside a spray can. Lightly but thoroughly cover the inside walls of the smoker with the oil. You don’t need to, but we recommend covering the cooking grates and any racks or accessories that came with the smoker or grill. There is no need to coat the water pan if you have one, a lot of the time you’ll take this out anyway when heating it.
If you’re using an electric smoker don’t get any oil on to the electric heating element. Likewise, if you’re using a gas smoker, don’t get any oil on to the burner. It is recommended that you use plenty of oil, but not enough that it starts to noticeably drip and run down the walls. Let the smoker sit for a while so the oil settles before starting the next step.
The next step is to heat up the smoker to burn off anything left by the manufacturing process. There are many different recommended temperatures and times for this, but a general rule of thumb is to gradually bring up the temperature to the maximum temperature rating of your smoker and leave it at that for a couple of hours. This part of the process is to simulate a smoke. It’s not ready for food yet, so do not put anything inside it except the oil.
For charcoal smokers, use a chimney starter to get the coals up to temperature, fill the pan and add some wood. There is no need for the water pan so take that out and fire it up. Open the vents wide to get a good heat flowing through it and a high temperature. Leave it for at least an hour, or until the coals burn out. Check the instructional manuals also for specific details on how to season a smoker too.
After the hour or so open the smoker up and let the fire burn out and let it cool down. Your smoker is now ready to use for making some of the best BBQ you’ve ever tasted.
Note: The only time you need to know how to season a smoker grates is before your first use. This is because of the oils that the manufacturer places inside the smoker to prevent rust will likely be on the grates as well. Seasoning a grill or smoker later in its life is sometimes recommended to act as a deep clean, but you should be cleaning your grates as you go. In short – Only season your grates before you use your smoker the first time. Wash them after every use.