Summertime is officially in full swing, which means BBQ season is too! Like most people, you probably use your smoker grill for cooking delicious summer eats.
You know that smoker grills are a great way to cook food. But have you given any thought to how to clean the smoker grill? However, if your smoker grill isn’t clean, your food can taste bad and may even be dangerous to eat.
Well, don’t worry, because we’ve got you covered! We’ll share some tips and hacks for cleaning your smoker grill quickly and easily in this post. So read on for all the info you need!
The importance of cleaning and maintaining your smoker
Keeps food safer for health: Cleaning your grill is a must before cooking. Grease and carbon can build up on the grates, leaving an unpleasant taste in food or making it dangerous to consume.
Make sure it is not left uncleaned for too long. Therefore you should always take care of these two issues immediately when they occur by cleaning them off with water mixed solution (salt + acid).
Increases smoker’s life span: Grease and carbon build-up on your grill can cause many problems. It will wear out or break down components quickly, unnecessarily shortening its life span!
Keeping it clean with an occasional cleaning is one way to keep this from happening. But don’t forget about removing any excess fat before cooking, too; otherwise, you may end up having a greasy mess instead of delicious food.
Good temperature control: A well-cleaned grill can achieve even temperature distribution and keep food from getting overcooked on one side while undercooked elsewhere.
If there is too much ash build-up inside a burn pot, it can reduce airflow and cause heat unevenness or even die out completely when cooking at higher temperatures!
This means that keeping an eye on maintenance needs to be done regularly, so this doesn’t happen.
So let’s learn how to clean a pellet grill by applying some hacks!
Hack no.1: Get the grill as hot as possible
Whether you need to clean your grill deep or just want it cleaned right after use, high heat is one of the best weapons against greasy grates. It will carbonize any leftover food and oils that may be on there from last time, so now they’re easier to scrub off!
Get your grill as hot as possible. If using a propane smoker, turn all burners up and leave 15 minutes with the lid closed.
After 20 minutes, open the lid and let it cool to about 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit. Now you can use any tool or method for effectively scrubbing away all of that residue on your grill’s grate!
Hack no.2: Grill seasoning with oil
Coat the interior of your grill with any oil. It can be cooking oil, peanut oil, coconut oil, or bacon grease. So, I would advise you to use the cheapest option.
Now that you have applied some oil to your smoker, it’s time for the real Workhorse. Heat that smoker until all those imperfections are nicely covered in greasy goodness!
Raise the temperature to 250-275 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything higher could damage paint jobs on cheaper models like vertical water smokers. This oil and temperature combination act as a barrier that repels water and saves your smoker’s body from rusting.
The best way to prevent rust is by generating smoke during heating. The oily residue left behind will protect your smoker against water and creosote (a tar-like substance), both toxic substances that can quickly turn an otherwise good cooking area into a fire hazard! Ensure you ventilate heavily when using this technique not to create any layer of creosote.
Note: It is important to season your smoker before cooking for the first time. It will save your food from smoker’s contamination.
Hack no.3: Rust? Scrub – paint!
When you clean your smoker, make sure to take note of any rust forming on the metal. You should also check and scrub any areas that might have been neglected over time, like near the bottom where there is more moisture than elsewhere on the surface; this can lead directly to metal dissolution and ruin!
Clean off all debris and scrub with a wire brush or sandpaper before painting to stick better! Use high-quality paint that will last longer than low-quality paints.
How to Clean a Pellet Smoker?
The cleaning procedure for your pellet smoker may change significantly depending on the model. However, you will learn the fundamentals of cleaning your pellet smoker successfully in this section.
- Turn off and unplug your pellet smoker before cleaning it. This protects you and your pellet grill from burns caused by hot surfaces or grease. Instead of cleaning the pellet grill grates while the grill is hot, you should complete other cleaning tasks in that time.
- Also, do remember to empty the hopper before doing any cleaning that needs the use of water, soap, or liquid cleanser. Wood pellets that become moist might expand and jam the auger. Simply use the fast dump to capture the pellets in a pail and throw them.
- Give a power wash to your pellet smoker; although it might be a messy task, the job is a job!
- After cleaning your pellet grill with any cleanser/degreaser, burn it for 45 minutes at a high temperature, generally above 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The burn-off temperatures and timeframes will be specified in your pellet grill handbook. It is frequently easier to deep clean both the interior and outside of your pellet smoker simultaneously.
How to Clean Pellet Grill Grates?
- Cleaning the grill is an important part of maintaining it. After using high heat, be sure to cool down your grates with water before scraping off any residue or carbon char left on them so that you can get ready for another round!
- Scrub tip: you can use a ball of aluminum foil or block of hardwood to scrub off the residue.
- Make sure you clean out your grill grates regularly. First, give your grill grates a thorough cleaning with hot water, mild dish detergent, and a brush or stainless steel scrubby to eliminate accumulated residue. Then soak them in large tubs full-length before you begin scrubbing for easier removal.
- You should rinse the grates well and dry them when you are finished cleaning. If they’re cast iron, make sure to oil them before next time so that there will be no loss of non-stick properties from cleaning too much.
How To Deep Clean Your Grill?
- To deep clean, your grill or smoker, make sure the grates are cleaned and removed. If it’s a gas grill, turn off all burners before starting so as not to release volatile chemicals into our air while working with them!
- The best way to deep clean your grill is by starting at the top and working down. Focus on every part of it, using a stainless steel wire brush that will scrub off all carbon buildup throughout. Don’t forget about removing individual components like grates or burners. This helps ensure they’re thoroughly cleaned.
- Make sure to clean your grill with a mild dish detergent, and then give it an extra scrubbing using water. If you have any doubts about whether or not the residue is gone, just use one of those sponges made explicitly for cleaning grills (they’re around in every grocery store).
- Don’t forget about harsh chemical cleaners like bleach and caustic oven-active products. They’ll only damage surfaces over time so never use them. Use mild detergents instead!
- After washing away all traces, use the wire brush to scrub the exterior of your grill.
- As you make your way down the grill, the drip pan will be the last component to be cleaned. Make sure it’s empty and clean with mild soap and water.
- Finally, use a clean, damp towel to wipe off the exterior. Plus, on the exterior of your smoker, never use an abrasive brush.
- Then, in the opposite order that you pulled them out, replace all freshly cleaned grill components.
You’re dying to get your grill cleaned for the season by now, but here are a few extra pellet smoker maintenance tips to keep your grill clean all summer:
Keep the interior dry: Pellet grills are made of electrical components that can be damaged by water or moisture. Make sure you avoid using cleaners with liquid in them, and if needed, apply it carefully on a damp cloth instead! Don’t spray water directly into your grill either; this will cause problems for its functionality and longevity.
Wrap grease bucket and dip tray with tin foil: One of the more time-consuming tasks associated with smoking is cleaning out your grease trap. Grease stains can be hard to remove, but not if you use some simple tricks!
One idea would be wrapping both bucket and tray in heavy-duty tin foil before putting it on the grill. This will make cleanup easier when things get dirty. Just change the foil! Simple!
Use a grill cover: Protection is better than cure! It is highly advisable to use a grill cover to protect your pellet grill from harsh weather, direct sunlight (which may affect the body paint), and rain that may block the auger.
Always use high-quality woods: BBQ pellets already produce less ash than charcoal or logs because they burn more effectively. High-quality cooking pellets made entirely of wood will create even less ash, keeping your barbecue clean all summer.
How Often Should You clean the Smoker Grill?
The frequency at which you clean your pellet grill is dependent on how often it’s used. If cooking burgers every night, a thorough cleaning may be needed about once per week.
However, if only using the unit occasionally and not so much as an everyday occurrence, less frequent servicing is sufficient. Frequency depends largely upon personal preference!
You can maintain your pellet grill in good shape for years by following these cleaning and maintenance tips and hacks. Cleaning your pellet grill on a regular basis allows you to enjoy the best-tasting food, whether grilled, smoked, roasted, or barbequed.