Many reasons could prompt you to opt for an electric smoker instead of a traditional charcoal smoker. It might be because of the relatively affordable price tag or because you’re a beginner. Grilling with an electric smoker is as easy and it can help hone your grilling skills before moving to a more advanced smoker. If you can use an electric oven, electric smokers shouldn’t pose a challenge. You only need to fill the water tray and throw in the chips before plugging the smoker into a power supply. Next, you’ll adjust the settings and allow the smoker to gain the desired temperature before preparing your chicken. It’s as simple as that!
However, you’ll only enjoy an authentic barbeque taste if you maintain your smoker by cleaning it regularly. Burned grease and food around the digital smoker will reduce its efficiency and performance over time. You may start to experience spiraling energy bills, especially if you love to grill every weekend. The protective coating might also wear out with time if you leave your smoker unattended. In that case, how do you clean an electric smoker without damaging the protective coating? What is the easiest way of getting the job done as soon as possible?
This article highlights how you can clean different parts of your electric smoker and answers the most frequently asked questions about maintenance.
Which Cleaning Materials Do You Need?
What’s the best part about cleaning an electric smoker? It is a DIY process, and you don’t need to hire a specialist to do the job. Moreover, the cleaning materials required to get the job done are readily available in online and physical stores at relatively affordable rates. Depending on your speed and skills, cleaning an electric smoker should take about two hour’s tops. Here are some of the materials you’ll need before starting the job:
Regular Bin Bag
The first thing you’ll need to put in place is a regular bin bag to collect the ash and other residues. You don’t want to leave dirt on your lawn or backyard. It can also be a recycle bag if you’re going to reduce the pollutants ending in the landfills. Remember, you can recycle the ash and the grill residue in your composite or choose to throw the dirt away.
You’ll also need a bristle brush to scrub the grease and stains around the cooking chamber. Kindly opt for something sturdy but non-metallic if you don’t want to scratch the smoker’s protective coating. However, for people who clean their electric smokers daily, you may not need a bristle brush. In that case, a soft cloth suffices.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Your cleaning experience won’t be complete if you omit apple cider vinegar at the end. Apple cider is the safest and most affordable way of killing bacteria to prevent future mold buildup, thanks to its high acidity properties. It is readily available, and you can use the one in your kitchen to cut costs. Most importantly, a solution of apple cider vinegar and warm water kills bacteria in five minutes.
After cleaning the interior and exterior parts of the electric smoker, you might need a soft cloth to wipe the areas clean, especially the windows. It will help if you get a cotton cloth that soaks well in your apple cider vinegar or detergent.
Lastly, you’ll need soapy water, especially if you clean the electric smoker regularly. Like the apple cider vinegar solution, you’ll have a good experience with soap if you apply it from a spray bottle. You’ll need to use a grease-cutting dish soap mixed with warm water. Warm water gives the solution enough strength to remove all the grease plus stubborn stains.
Prepare the Smoker for Cleaning
You would want to have your last steak before cleaning the smoker. The scrubbing work can be pretty tiresome, especially if doing it for the first time. Also, you’ll need to let the smoker cool down because handling hot ash and metallic parts is dangerous. Remove all the detachable items such as racks, the water pan, the smoker box, and the drip tray.
Cleaning Each Part
After preparing the electric smoker for cleaning, follow these steps to get rid of all the dirt and residue:
Empty the Smoker Box
Every electric smoker comes with a dedicated compartment to trap ash and soot. You would want to start your cleaning routine by emptying this box into the bin bag. Cleaning the smoker box is easy; all the residue collects in the same place. After emptying the box, use your spray bottle to apply the apple cider vinegar or detergent solution. You can then use a damp cloth to wipe it down. Let the smokebox dry for the next cookout.
Remove the Inside Residue
You’ll need a lot of stamina to go past the second cleaning stage, especially if you neglected your electric smoker for a while. Before everything, place a plastic tarp or an old newspaper clipping at the bottom of the smoker to trap any dirt. That way, you can always empty the reside into the bin bag after scrubbing. Begin on the top part as you sweep through towards the bottom. Watch out for particles or excess buildup around the corners and crannies of the interior chamber.
After that, use the spray bottle to apply the vinegar or soapy water to the interior walls before scrubbing with a soft cloth. Inasmuch as you need to remove all the dirt and leftover buildup, don’t focus much on the darkened chamber. The darkening is natural and helps prevent rusting to enhance the smoker’s performance.
Clean Your Electric Smoker Rack and the Grills
After finishing with the interior, it’s now time to deal with the removable parts. This is the hardest step, and you might want to take a good rest before embarking on it. Here, you’ll need plenty of warm soapy water and a hardcore brush or sponge. We recommend doing this after every cookout to have less-tiresome cleaning experiences in the future. You’ll clean the smoker rack and the grills in two steps, the same way you handle greasy utensils.
First, scrub any residue of food leftovers and grease. You can use a hard sponge dipped in warm water to wipe the oil without damaging the protective coating. However, some people struggle with this process due to hardened residue. In that case, you can use an ammonia solution to wipe the grills. However, you’ll need protective rubber gloves and safety glasses.
The second step involves scrubbing the rack and the grills with a hard sponge and plenty of warm, soapy water. Keep on scrubbing until all the residue swirls down the drain. It will also help if you spray vegetable oil around the racks and the grills to reduce food-sticking during cookouts. This also prevents rusting and gives you an easy time when cleaning.
Clean the Drip Tray
If you like enjoying marinated meat, then the high chances are that your drip tray is dirty with oil and source residues. You would want to clean your drip tray more often, lest you end up with funny odors inside the smoker. The drip tray is the easiest part to clean as you hardly need any thorough scrubbing. A soapy water solution plus a cotton cloth will get the job done. You can also spay the apple cider vinegar at the end to kill any remaining bacteria.
Is the Thermostat Clean?
Like the drip tray, the thermostat also requires minimal effort during cleaning. Most electric smokers will have a thermostat at the back wall of the cooking chamber. Cleaning your thermostat enhances accuracy for temperature readings. Use a damp cloth to wipe the thermostat, and you’re good to go. You can dip the cloth in soapy water or apple cider vinegar solution; there is no difference.
How to Clean Your Electric Smoker Windows
Cleaning the electric smoker windows will be one of the easiest and enjoyable steps of the cleanup routine. At this stage, you can forgo the soapy water solution for apple cider vinegar. You’ll also need old newspaper pieces for drying. Remember, a clean window means you can see how your turkey is cooking or if it needs any attention. Use a spray bottle to apply apple vinegar solution down the windows. Leave the solution to settle for a minute or two before wiping it down using your newspaper sheets. We recommend using newspapers because a damp cloth might leave streaks. Similarly, a soapy water solution may not give you the best results.
How to Clean a Mold-Infested Electric Smoker
Mold infestation around electric smokers is not a strange thing, especially in cold seasons. Sometimes, you get busy that you abandon the smoker for a while. Provided there is moisture; molds will always thrive. A smoker infested with mold limits you from having a good grill session anytime you want. It can also introduce allergens to your living space.
How do you get rid of molds in your electric smoker? Before anything, you would want to remove any old material from the smoker. Plugin your electric smoker and let it heat as if you’re preparing for a cookout session. Continue heating while adding wood chips until all the mold burns away. The heat also loosens and eliminates residual grease buildup.
After heating, leave the smoker to cool down before washing all the components with soapy water and a hardened sponge. However, you’ll need protective gear when dealing with mold. A pair of gloves and a face mask should keep you going. Alternatively, you can store the electric smoker in a heated garage to prevent mold infestation. After all, building a garage isn’t that expensive.
Clean the Exterior
Cleaning the exterior part of the electric smoker is easy as it doesn’t attract much dirt and stains as the interior components. Even so, you’ll need to preheat the smoker after every cleanup routine before using it. Preheating helps to dry the parts properly and melt down any chemicals that may mess with the flavor of your weekend cookout. Some people prefer to leave the smoker outside in the backyard to dry naturally in the sun. Either way, ensure the cooker dries before any use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do You Clean the Inside of an Electric Smoker?
To clean the inside of your smoker, first remove all the detachable components such as the ashtray, drip tray, and grills for separate cleaning before spraying your soapy water or vinegar solution. Then, use a bristle brush to scrub any residue before using a hardened sponge. Lastly, rinse the smoker with clean water before drying it in the sun.
What’s the Best Way to Clean a Masterbuilt Smoker?
You can use the above tips to clean your Masterbuilt smoker since the process is pretty much the same. However, you might want to replace warm water with hot if you want to be tougher on stains and grease residue.
Can You Power Wash an Electric Smoker?
Yes, you can power wash your electric smoker the same way you use a pressure washer to remove stubborn stains and residue around a charcoal grill. You’ll need a hose and a hot water source. Some people may also prefer preparing a 50/50 solution of hot water and liquid detergent. Use the pressure washer to flush out residue in the cooking chamber, firebox, and the exterior surfaces of the smoker.
How Do You Clean Mold Out of a Masterbuilt Smoker?
Cleaning mold from a Masterbuilt smoker is pretty the same as cleaning any other electric smoker. Heat does the magic of making the molds disappear in thirty minutes or less. Bring your Masterbuilt smoker in the open and preheat it while adding wooden chips. Let it cool down before spraying soapy water or apple cider vinegar. Use a hardened sponge to scrub any remaining residues. After that, leave the Masterbuilt smoker to dry in the open sun and wind.
Even though getting rid of mold is pretty easy, don’t downplay the effects it can have on your health. Inhaling or touching mold (or the burnt residue) can trigger allergic reactions. Thus, it will help if you get protective gear such as a face mask and a pair of gloves. Safety goggles will also enhance your cleaning experience.
Wrapping It Up
An electric smoker is a go-to option if you reside in a neighborhood with a fire ban or want a quick setup for weekend grilling. As you can see, their maintenance is pretty hassle-free, depending on the frequency of use. We recommend cleaning your electric smoker after every use to prevent excess grease and dirt buildup. The above tips will get your smoker cleaned up and ready for use in less than two hours. Also, you can ask for help from a family member if the smoker requires detailed scrubbing. With cleaner electric smoker, weekends will no longer be boring. A clean smoker motivates you to bring it out and grill openly on the lawns.