In order to get the most out of your smoker, you need to season it before you use it; which is done the same way as cast iron cookware.
Basic Steps for Seasoning Your Smoker:
Step 1 – Wipe down all surfaces with soap and water then rinse thoroughly and leave it to dry.
Step 2 – Coat the inside surface of the smoker with one of these oils: peanut oil, vegetable oil, or bacon grease.
Step 3 – Fire up the smoker; heating it up to 250-275 degrees Fahrenheit. This will allow the oil to seep to any imperfection on the metal surface of the smoker. You can do this by tossing in some scraps of wood to burn for about 35-45 minutes with all the vents open so that everything from the factory and transportation process is burnt off; be sure to do this outside in a well ventilated area; if your smoker is gas or electric, then just use that heat source, don’t build a fire in these. The main reason for this heating is to create a barrier that will repel water and help prevent your smoker from rusting. Caution! Make sure you keep the temperature at 250-275 degrees because any temperature above this could damage the paint on your smoker.
Step 4 – Steam Clean it; when the temperature gauge reaches 275 degrees, open the smoker cooker door and spray water inside on all surfaces, then let the fire reheat to 275 degrees and repeat the spray process; stay back from the steam, it will burn you if you are over it when it rises from the cooker.
Importance of Seasoning Your Smoker
Seasoning your Smoker helps removes all traits of contaminants such as dust, grease, oil, metal shavings and wood dust from the manufacturing and shipping process.
It makes the smoker durable because it will be free from rusting since it requires the use of smoke, which creates a protective coat on the surface of the smoker that repels water. It cures the paint coated on the surface of the smoker, which prevents rusting and increases its lifespan.The process removes any odor from inside the smoker that is caused during the manufacturing process. It makes the process of cleaning out the smoker easy.
Caution! Do not open the door of your smoker during seasoning; if you must, do it carefully to avoid ignition of the volatiles, which could result in a blast of hot air, smoke or even flame, shooting out toward you; also keep everyone away from harm when you are performing this function, have spectators or helpers stand back whenever you open the lid.
All smokers require seasoning before using them for the first time. This applies to propane smokers, charcoal or wood smokers, water smokers and electric smokers, without any exceptions.
Always clean your grill after every cooking, because the key to a smoker that cooks delicious food comes from a clean smoker. The heat does the cooking while the smoke does the flavoring.