How to Season Your Smoker (Create Better Tasting BBQ)

Sharing is caring!

So you just picked up your brand-new smoker! Your ready to throw in some ribs and a hunk of brisket hold up! Much like how you need to season a new cast iron pan. You do need to season your brand-new smoker

Any veteran smoker will tell you, that seasoning your smoker is the most crucial step to prepping your unit. Some of us call it curing or per-seasoning.

This process ensures it’s ready to cook to its full potential. First, you learn why you need to season your smoker.

Then I will show you my step-by-step process of smoking your smoker for the first time!

seasoning a smoker for the first time
Getting ready to season my new Traeger smoker!

Why Do You Season a Smoker?

There are two main reasons why seasoning a smoker for the first time is important.

1. It removes any chemicals or remnants from the manufacturing process. You don’t want to be cooking in something that might still be coated in chemicals. It could be harmful to the friends and family you cooking for.

2. It increases the life span of your smoker. If you’re going to invest your hard-earned cash on a smoker, you want to ensure, that it lasts.

A seasoned smoker will ensure that you produce the best barbecue possible!

There’s a reason why every smoker grill instruction manual highlights how you should carry out this process. Seasoning such an appliance usually doesn’t vary much between the different kinds of smokers.

It is always best to just follow the step-by-step guide outlined by the manufacturer of your particular brand and model of the smoker.

This seasoning process usually involves heating your smoker and leaving it to run for a specified amount of time —empty. However, this process can be different depending on the particular type of smokers out there. Once again, please follow the simple steps outlined in your smoker’s instruction guide.

Seasoning A Pit Boss Smoker?

Seasoning each brand of grill or smoker is a different process.

Here are some guides to seasoning a Pit Boss!

How to Season a Pit Boss Smoker

You Also Need to Prime Some Smokers

Not only do you need to season smokers, but you also need to prime some, this is a process of igniting the smoker and letting the pellets travel along the entire length of the auger to the burn pot and fill it. If you don’t prime the igniter may timeout before the pellets you put in ignite.

I have a full guide on Priming but to wrap it quickly, you need to turn it on, set it to SMOKE, and listen for the auger motor. Check for air movement in the fire pot, then turn off. Fill the hopper, and press the ‘Prime’ button until pellets drop, this is how long you need to hold the prime button on the Pit Boss and wait for ignition, then turn it off.

See here how to prime a Pit Boss.

Doing this will help you turn out pitmaster-worthy brisket every time.

1. Removing Manufacturing Remnants

The first reason why seasoning a new smoker is so important is it will help protect your health. Seasoning includes letting the smoker run without anything inside.

This will work to get rid of any chemicals leftover from the manufacturing process. It will also cure any paint that’s on or inside the smoker.

2. It Can Help Extend Your Smoker Life

Curing the paint in this way can also help maintain the appearance of your smoker as well as prevent rust. It’s important to note that seasoning a smoker doesn’t just involve heating it. It can often include cleaning it and applying it to a coating of oil too.

A clean, well-oiled smoker will also reduce the chances of your barbecue smoker developing rust over time.

Guide to Seasoning a Smoker (3 Easy Steps)

We’ve summed up how to season a smoker in 3 easy steps.

1: Cleaning Your Smoker

 First, you’ll want to clean the smoker as best as you can. There might be cleaning instructions included in the smoker’s manual.

If so, it’ll be best if you follow them. If not, then it should be safe to use dish soap. Here’s something to remember when cleaning your smoker with dish soap. It’s important to make sure you also wash away any soap remnants with water after you’re done.

2: Give it an Oil Coating

Moving on, you’ll need to apply a thin layer of cooking oil to the inside of the smoker. If you don’t have canned cooking spray, you can also feel free to use grapeseed oil, olive oil, or palm sunflower oil.

You might want to also cover the smoker racks in oil while you’re at it. This will also increase its longevity, as the oil acts as a protective coating.

3: Heat it Right Up

The final step is to heat the smoker up and just let it run.

You’ll want to raise the temperature slowly, but in the end, you’ll need to run the smoker on the highest heat setting for at least two hours. After that’s done, slowly lower the heat before you shut it off.

Turning everything off immediately, and cooling the smoker too fast can be bad. It might accidentally affect the shape of its metal frame.

Some Trade Secrets for Seasoning a Smoker

You will need to keep an eye on how you apply the oil. Especially if this is the first time that you’re seasoning a smoker.

This is particularly important if you’ve got an electric or gas smoker. You want to make sure that none of the oil enters into any of the heating elements.

If you’ve got any other kind of smoker then you’ll want to:

  • Apply the oil with a cloth or paper towel. This ensures that you have total control of where the oil goes.
  • Make sure that there’s no excess oil on any part of the smoker.

Types of Oils and Fat to Use

Here’s a list of some of the oils and fat I have used:

  • Grapeseed oil
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Bacon fat
  • Sunflower oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Beef fat
  • Any type of lard

Should You Re-Season?

Yes, you should re-season your smoker.

Since the seasoning process includes cleaning it, oiling it, and heating it back up again, this can be done after every cook if you’d like. However, it can get a little tedious.

So just keep an eye out for creosote.

A smoker can accumulate creosote (that’s the oily black, thick substance leftover from fire) which can leave bitter flavors. After you clean the creosote, you can re-season your grill.

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

Hungry For More?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *