How To Season A Smoker To Prolong Its Life

It’s summer all around the US and people are having fun in the sun. Things just get better in summer, especially the food, which feels a lot fresher and tastier.

I don’t if you have felt the same, but I certainly like the summer season because it brings a whole lot more fun and enjoyment for me and my family.

I can cook food in my backyard garden, invite a few guests to the house, and organize an impromptu party.

But, for that, I require a reliable smoker, which I’m guessing I have one, and that too from the most dependable brand in the US.

But, I have heard from many of my friends that before cooking anything in a smoker, it is better to season it.

Well, that’s a kind of new information for me, as I’ve never heard of seasoning a smoker before, although, I have seasoned copper pans and other utensils, but not a big cooking tool like a smoker.

So, there was one question that crossed my mind, i.e., how to season a smoker. Well, seasoning a smoker is also called ‘curing’ of a smoker, and it is done before the smoker is to be used for the first time.

There are different ways to season a new smoker, so you will get confused if you try to do it all on your own, without taking anybody’s help.

I have done seasoning of my smoker, and I will help you do the same in the easiest of ways. But first, let me share some important information about the seasoning of a smoker.

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What Does ‘Seasoning A Smoker’ Mean?

You have no idea how much debris is left inside of a new smoker while it is manufactured and shipped to your address.

While, it is not that easy to determine the debris, but it’s there, and it’s quite normal. It is not just the smokers in which you’ll find debris, but many other products.

Debris will be in the form of dust, grease, oils, cardboard, metal shavings and wood splinters. Sometimes, the inside of the smoker can have a light coating of oil or something similar to that.

The coating of oil prevents smokers from rusting, but that oil needs to be removed before you cook anything on the smoker. This is the reason that seasoning is done on the smoker.

Why Season Your Smoker?

Seasoning a smoker is basically done to clean the unit before cooking anything on it. It is like a post-manufacturing cleaning of the smoker to make it ready for cooking.

Secondly, the seasoning will prevent the smoker from getting oxidized. Rust is the biggest enemy of a metal, and if you cook food on rust coated grates, then you are inviting all sorts of health problems in your body.

How To Season A Smoker

So, finally, I have reached the section where I will be discussing with you the process of how to season a smoker.

I have a seven-step process, which I believe will make it easier for you to understand the process of how to season a smoker. If you are yet to assemble your smoker, then that’s perfect because I can start the seasoning process from the very beginning.

  1. Clean Using Soap And Water: Clean, racks, grates, pans and all the interior of the smoker with a dish soap and water prior to assembling the smoker. Many would suggest to only use water, but using a mild soap will not harm anything. Instead, it will take off the grease that is being coated all over the unit. Rinse all the water using a soft cloth to avoid scratches on the smoker.
  2. Air Dry: A number of experts have told to do this, but I don’t feel the requirement of doing so. Therefore, I would put this step as optional.
  3. Spray The Interior With Cooking Oil: Spraying a light coating of cooking oil on the smoker will add a strong protective layer on the smoker. But, make sure not to apply a thick coat because first, it will look bad, plus it will do more harm than good, so refrain from using too much oil. It will be better if you do this step when the smoker is in an unassembled state because then, you can easily cover all the edges and corners in oil. After applying a light coating of cooking oil, you can begin with the assembling of the smoker following the instructions given in the user-manual. Handle all the pieces carefully in order to avoid removing the oil coating that you’ve just put on. If some oil gets on the outside of the smoker, then let it be, don’t think too much about it. If some oil has been sprayed over the racks, then that won’t do any damage.
  4. Put Water Pan In Place But Don’t Fill It With Anything: While the majority of smoke-meisters wouldn’t agree to this, but that’s the right way of doing things. They would rather insist on adding beer to the water pan, as that would help dissipate the narky chemical smells, but then, you are getting a whole new flavor for the food that you’d be cooking after seasoning the smoker.
  5. Open The Vent: This is one of those points where you have half of the experts saying to keep the vent open, whereas the other half insisting on closing it. Therefore, what you can do is, you can go as per the user manual that came along with the smoker.
  6. Set Temperature To Maximum: If you want to perform this step, then you will have to keep the vents open.
  7. Run The Machine For 3 Hours: I would recommend that you should run the smoker for three hours, or if there is a time period defined in the user manual of the product, then do as per that.

Seasoning The Grates

If you are seasoning a new smoker, then you should season the grates as well. It is important that you understand that the grates need to be seasoned only before the first use because of the oils coated all over the grates by the manufacturer to prevent rust.

Where you can season a smoker later in its life as well, a process that is called ‘deep cleaning of smoker’, but the grates will be cleaned every time you cook on the smoker.

Summing Up

By now, you have fully understood the importance of seasoning a smoker, so I’m sure you will not skip this part when unpacking your new smoker.

Seasoning will not just add a protective layer on the smoker, but will also ensure that you get natural flavors from the food you cook on the smoker.

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