When you are done smoking a juicy brisket or a pork butt inside your pellet smoker; the very next step is clean it. You can’t let your smoker wait long to keep it up to date for the next shift. However, you can have your happy meal first because it requires a lot of your energy.
In this article I will explain in detail for how to deep clean your pellet grill and smoker in easiest way.
Before starting; you must make your mind to start top to down. For anything you clean up from the top will fall down below. In case you start from bottom; you will triple your task.
How to Clean the Pellet Smoker form Inside
Target the lid in the first step. For that and for inside cleaning, you need a nylon scrubber and a putty knife. The scrubber must not have a lot of braces nor it should build with metal because we don’t have to scratch any avert surfaces anyway. The nylon scrubber will smartly take up the carbon and the bad build-up efficiently.
To clean, push the putty knife inside the black build up and clean it out guiding horizontally your power hand. After cleaning deep, take the nylon scrubber and scratch the inside lit. Clean it strongly for we don’t want to make room for rust to grow again.
Remove the grates, drip pans and heat deflectors if used any.
Scratch all inside the smoker the putty knife thoroughly, you will be amazed have a lot of crusts and residue there.
Never leave the chimney, spare, clean the chimney connector with some aggressive hands. If you forget to do this somehow, you will have issues in the next possible cooking session.
If you are having a drip tray having vents on it; generally, comes with the pellet smokers having slide row feature. Clean residue or grease form the dip pan properly not sparing any vent blocked and slide the corner of your putty knife well inside the gaps.
There may be a question raising in your mind for how to clean the grates of a pellet grill or smoker?
In stage 3, we will clean the grates. There are smart tools in the market to get the job done in an easiest way. If you have a grill which comes up with the grates which can be divided in to the pieces, then you are literally blessed.
If you have a luxury of a dish washer; go straight to that and put all in your dish washer and you are done with that.
If you don’t own a dish washer don’t worry!
We have an alternate solution.
We have previously used a nylon scrub to clean a lot of debris form the lead. It is not recommended to use the same when it is hot to clean the grates or anything. They get melt soon. However, when the grates are cool, you can use them for sure
You can use a tin foil and metal tongs for that. Simply take a heavy-duty tin foil and make a bowl of it for your handful. It must neither be so big nor too small to grip on. It is must to have a little-warm grate to clean them because it is relatively easier to clean debris that way.
The first way is to hold the metal bowl in the tongs and rub them against the grates. They may create a pinching noise; but don’t worry, it is the way to clean them.
On the other hand, if you want to do it in a more proper manner. Wear your heat resistant gloves take the grates out of the dip pan place it diagonally and hold the metal foil. Rub it gently to remove any grease and debris stock all around. Takes the up side down and repeat the same again until your grates look like new. However, if you want to get a look of seriously new, use vinegar or some other acidic liquid to clean it thoroughly.
It is necessary to clean the grates after some cooking session for if you don’t, then it will convert your delicious food into an old stuff topped with old food remaining.
If you still want to use tin foil, there is an option for scrubbing pad. You can rub the scrubbing pad over your grill grates; it will do the job nicely.
You need to be very careful for the type of pads you buy because most of the manufacturers build their build their pellet grill grates with some protective porcelain coating to prevent rust. If you use some metal scrubber, it will ruin the game.
Besides this, make sure not to use anything so abrasive like metal bristle. They are very hard and may scratch the grill grates. Besides this, they may also fall out and became a hazard as people may ingest it and may become affected.
Inside your grill, it is must to clean the thermometer. With a paper towel, you can do it nicely. It is important as you know after every smoking session the dust, smoke and debris also fall on the thermometer. Not cleaning it may come as a lot of deviation in the temperature readings during cooking sessions.
Grease chute is the things you should never ignore cleaning out. This is what connects the drip tray to the grease bucket. If your smoker has one; clean it out for if it is not cleaned out you may have grease splash all inside. Resultantly, the smoked meat will drip over the edges and get its way to the barrel.
In the end, it will set the smoker to fire and creates a whole mess.
After cleaning everything you will have a lot of dust, debris and flakes and ash in the stomach of your grill.
Shop Vac is simply a blessing to eat what left inside in no time.
If you have no shop vaac, you can use a simple dust carrier to do so.
De-greasing inside the smoker is not mandatory, however, if you want to, you can go for. Take a good de greaser spray it inside and gently clean it with a cotton cloth piece.
This is not a mandatory step. Your pellet grill and smoker are good to go without degreasing inside. You have already done well inside, it is pretty clean, walls are great, everything is good. Just set your smoker up, put in the meat and start smoking.
However, if you de grease inside, you need to do preheating. Because the degreaser lefts some sort of smell in side. If you don’t preheat, your food will turn into some bad stuff.
So, at first avoid inside degreasing. If you still want go for it, preheat the smoker thereafter.
How to Clean the Pellet Smoker from Outside
Cleaning outside of a economic pellet smoker is not a tricky task. On the other hand, it is not a piece of cake as well.
You will need a de greaser for that actually. Spray an adequate quantity of de greaser on the outside of your pellet smoker. Wipe it up using a paper towel and you are done.
How to Remove Ash form a Pellet Smoker?
Mostly pellet smokers comes up with an ash holder where the ash stays as the pellets burnt off. The ashes gathered there may be of a meager quantity yet very important to get removed. Besides that, a very small quantity may rest outside the burn pot.
You can follow following simple steps to remove ash dust from your pellet smoker.
- Open the lid.
- Remove the grates and pans.
- Take a brush and gather all scattered ashes to one place.
- Take your shop vacuum and it will get the all the job done for you in one go.
How frequent to clean a Pellet Smoker?
Cleaning a pellet smoker is an important aspect of grilling for it has a direct impact on the quality and taste of your food. You can’t have a delicious food without keeping your pellet smoker full of dust and debris.
So here comes the question for how long should you clean your pellet smoker. It depends upon 3 factors
- The number of hours used.
- Total number of sessions.
Keeping the number of hours used, it is recommended to clean the pellet smoker after every 50-58 hours of use. This will imply if you are using your smoker at a commercial level and there are no longer gaps in cooking. Because when using commercially, the proportion of any outside debris is very small to the total. So, it is fine to clean it after 50-58 hours of use.
If there comes any gap like a month in your smoking sessions. Then hours count will become shorter.
If you count in on the basis of number of sessions, many professionals bid to clean smoker after every 3-5 sessions. If the sessions are longer then it is good to clean after 5 smoking sessions and you are good to go for cleaning after 3 sessions if the sessions are not longer.
Here I try to elaborate my experience on cleaning a pellet smoker & grill. There is not a single way to clean your grill. You can use which better suits you. However, as far as the importance of cleaning is concerned, it is directly related to quality of food you expect.
In addition to above, if you have some more cleaning ideas, I request you to share with me.