Use the most appropriate to clean your electric smoker and keep your food as healthy and delicious as ever. This amazingly effective way will leave no questions unanswered about seasoning an electric smoker.
You must be dying to smoke for the first time right after you’ve unpacked your brand new electric smoker. It’s hard to pause for even a moment before you start smoking. But I’ll suggest that you pause. You’ll get plenty of time to play with your electric smoker, but at least season it first.
Questions must be running wild in your head about why and how to season an electric smoker. In this article, you’re going to get all your answers. Stop for a moment before you start smoking. Go through this guide to make the best out of your electric smoker.
What is Seasoning an Electric Smoker?
I’m sure you have heard ‘seasoning an electric smoker’ a thousand times. But do you ever wonder what seasoning your smoker actually means?
Seasoning means cleaning your smoker by using a thorough process. This process cleans any factory residue that may be residing inside the smoker. Seasoning also helps to dry the paint inside the chamber.
You may wonder, ‘what’s the necessity of all these? I just bought it!’ In truth, it’s one of the most crucial parts before you get started. Before moving to the ‘how to do’ part, let me tell you why you should do it in the first place.
Why is Seasoning Important?
Cleaning a new appliance may sound obnoxious, but it’s extremely important to do that. Imagine any factory residue sitting inside the cooking chamber and your food absorbs that. Your first smoked meal is not going to make you happy. This is the first and foremost reason to season your smoker.
To remove anything that’s not supposed to be there. Anything unwanted left by the manufacturer will also make your food smell bad. Seasoning helps to remove foul odors.
The second reason for seasoning is, it extends your smoker’s life. Seasoning created a layer inside the chamber that prevents rusting your smoker. So, you’re increasing your smoker durability by investing a little bit of time and effort.
Last but not least, seasoning provides a good starting base for your food. The wood chips inside created an initial flavor that your food absorbs when you smoke for the first time. It’s like a kick-start for preparing excellent smoked meals without any hiccups on the way.
What Happens if You Don’t Season Your Smoker?
Not seasoning your smoker will decrease the smoker’s life. The cooking chamber will quickly get dirty because the walls will attract grease from your food. Moreover, dust and oil remaining inside the smoker will be attracted by your food and result in smelling terrible. Besides, the food will absorb the chemicals lying inside and can make you sick.
If you want to keep your smoker’s cooking chamber from getting dirty after every use, it’s better to season your smoker the first time.
How Do You Season Your Electric Smoker for The First Time – At a Glance
In short, you use the smoker without any food inside your smoker. The smoke produced inside creates a carbon layer inside the cooking chamber walls and protects them from rusting. The temperature helps to kill if any bacteria is sitting inside.
Also, chemical residue from the factory is melted because of high heat. The summary of seasoning your electric smoker is to turn the power on and keep it connected to the energy source for three hours, setting the highest temperature.
People who are passionate about cooking often debate on such issues like what oil you should use, whether you should use wood chips or not when seasoning, and so on. I have structured a detailed process of how you can season your smoker, putting an end to all debates. Go through the process to see if you were right or wrong about your gut feelings.
How to Season An Electric Smoker- The Most Easiest and Efficient Way
Every electric smoker is different. It’s expected that their seasoning procedure will be different too. I strongly suggest you check out the instruction manual and follow seasoning steps as the instruction says.
It’s better to learn the basics that apply to all smokers. This way you can season your smoker any time you want without the help of the instruction manual. Follow the steps I’ve explained below to make this process as straightforward as possible.
Getting Your Smoker Ready
The first thing is as obvious as it gets. You have to assemble the smoker. Most of the modern electric smokers come almost formed. You only have to check if all the screws are placed right and tight. Don’t put the cooking racks inside yet.
It’s better if you use a mild soap to wipe the interior of your smoker. It’ll remove any oil-type residue or dust. Clean the cooking racks too. And then wash the interior with water. Air-dry the interior by keeping the smoker open before moving on.
Now, apply some cooking oil on the cooking chamber. You can damp cloth with oil and wipe the walls or use a cooking spray. Remember to apply a light layer. You don’t need oil dripping from the surface. Don’t apply oil to the heat elements, wood chip tray or grease tray.
Now place the racks inside the cooking chamber, and your smoker is ready to get seasoned.
Startup Your Smoker for The First Time
The necessity of adding water to the water tray depends on what smoker brand you are using. I suggest you follow the instruction manual in this regard. Start your smoker by plugging it into the power outlet. Try not to use any extension cords. If you must, make sure it’s heavy enough and features an earth pin.
Keep the vent fully open the whole time you season your smoker. Set the temperature to the highest and the timer to 3 hours.
The temperature is not specified in this case because not all smoker’s highest temperature limits are the same. Some of them have a 275 degrees F limit where some have 250 degrees.
There’s a lot of debate among cooking enthusiasts whether you should add wood chips when seasoning for the first time or not. Even the manufacturers suggest different things. Masterbuilt says that you add wood chips when 45 minutes are remaining from 3 hours of seasoning. Charbroil, on the other hand, says you don’t have to add wood chips at all.
I found a middle ground that works best for all smokers. Let your smoker get hot for the first two hours without any wood chips. Then add 8 to 12 chips in the wood chip tray. Wait for about 20 minutes before you add another load of wood chips if necessary. Some people recommend soaking the wood chips. In truth, doing this doesn’t make any difference. Make sure you don’t overload the wood chip tray.
The sort of wood chips you use will have an impact on your food taste, and smell. The best woods for seasoning an electric smoker includes Hickory, Oak, Alder, Maple, Mesquite, Pecan, Walnut, Apple, etc.
Leave your smoker until the timer is up. Once you’ve done everything you need to, you don’t have to sit around for the seasoning part. After the first two hours, the industry residues will be burning, and it can smell bad. When you add wood chips after two hours, you’ll start smelling a pleasant aroma spreading from your smoker.
Let the smoker completely cool down. Then open the front door, and you will see a coating of smoke on the walls. Don’t wipe it off; it will protect your smoker from rusting.
Maintain Your Electric Smoker After Seasoning
After you have finished seasoning your smoker, it’s time to keep your smoker maintain that good reputation it earned while smoking for the first time. The importance of maintaining a seasoned electric smoker is obvious. Who would not want to keep their smoked food as delicious as the first time?
Besides, maintaining your smoker ensures you a healthy meal every time you use the smoker. Let’s put some light on how you can maintain your electric smoker after seasoning.
- Do not scrub the carbon coating that resulted from your first time seasoning. Wipe it lightly with a damp cloth from time to time for cleaning purposes if you want.
- Seasoning or curing your smoker again is not really necessary. Especially when your intention is to clean the chemicals from the inside. But if you are cooking a completely different type of meat and don’t want the smell from your previous meat to ruin the former, you can do it again.
- Give your smoker a light cleaning after seasoning. Clean the ashes from the inside that resulted from the wood chips. If there’s any ash on the walls or cooking racks, wipe them clean too.
- Keep your smoker clean. If not thoroughly, at least clear out the ashes and wood chip tray as well as dripping tray every time after you smoke food inside.
- Never overload your wood chip tray. Not when seasoning or smoking meat.
- While giving your smoker a yearly thorough cleaning, scrub the carbon coating off and then season it again before using.
- How do you know when your smoker has been seasoned?
Once the factory residue clears out with bad-smelling, the wood chips will do their magic, and you will start smelling a pleasant aroma from your smoker. That’s your tracker of knowing that your smoker has appropriately been seasoned. Other than the time, of course, which is 3 hours.
- Should You Use Wood Chips When Seasoning?
Even though a lot of people stand against this, I suggest you use wood chips after two years of empty heating. It helps create a strong base for your first time smoking.
- How long do you season an electric smoker?
You should season your electric smoker for 3 hours. If there is an exception to this time frame, the manufacturer will let you know through the manual that will come with the smoker.
- How often should you season your smoker?
Seasoning your smoker is mandatory when you first buy the smoker. And then when you think about scrubbing your smoker clean, you should do it again to ensure extended life. It would help if you also seasoned your smoker when you want to wipe off a strong flavor when you wish to smoke something utterly different from the prior one.
- Can you season a smoker with olive oil?
Yes, you can season a smoker with olive oil. Olive oil consists of good flavors and quality. Most people think that canola, sunflower seed, and grapeseed oils are best for seasoning a smoker.
- Do I need to season my electric smoker again?
If you scrub off the layer that resulted from the first time seasoning, you need to go through the seasoning process again. Re-seasoning can also remove any particular flavor resulted from smoking a specific type of meat.
- Is it necessary to wash the inner before Seasoning?
Washing the inner removes any dust or oil remaining inside. A lot of people prefer to skip this step because they don’t think it’s necessary. I personally recommend you do that because it provides you with the best results.
When you know everything about your new electric smoker, it becomes easier to get the best result. Learn what to expect and what not to expect while smoking your meat. The more efficient you become, the more delicious your food gets. Not just that, granting your smoker a long and healthy life is also your responsibility. Seasoning your smoker affects your food positively and offers your smoker an extended life and keeps your smoker as new. Don’t be in a hurry to get started; take your time when using a new smoker. Treat your smoker with care, and it won’t disappoint you in return.