How to Season Your Smoker (Create Better Tasting BBQ)

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 steps to prepping the 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 smoke.

Then I will show you my step by step process to 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 processing. You don’t want to be cooking in something that might still be coated in chemicals. It could be harmful to friends and family your cooking for.
2. It increases the the life span of your smoker. If your going to invest your hard earned cash on a smoker, you want to ensure, that it last.

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. While 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.

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 chemical 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 followed 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 a 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 definitely 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 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 kept an eye out for creosote. A smoker can build accumulate creosote (that’s is the oily black, thick substance left over by fire) it can leave bitter flavors. After your cleaning the creosote, you can re-season your grill.

Happy smoking and seasoning

Charlie

Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking and getting out in nature with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork)

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 adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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