A clean pellet smoker will keep your grilled food recipes clean and healthy to eat, giving a more consistent temperature and evenly cooked meals every time. Cooking meals for your loved ones are made easier and more convenient with pellet grills, but the dirtier it gets, the more hardwood pellet ash circulates around the chamber, affecting its performance and the food quality.
How to Clean After Cooking
Cleaning up after each cook does not have to be dramatic because the patented Ash Clean-out System of most pellet smokers makes cleaning relatively easy and simple by just pulling a knob. Before firing up your pellet smoker, make sure to empty the ash first. Spot cleaning between cooking sessions is also a good idea by just simply wiping the food residue or grease spots away on the side shelf or lid. You can scrape the grill grates using a wire brush or a spatula prior to starting cooking to prevent the burnt food taste. Once you have taken these small steps, deeper cleaning will be a lot easier.
How to Clean Pellet Smoker After 50 Hours Cooking Time
A deep cleaning should be performed roughly every fifty hours of cooking. If you really don’t cook on your pellet smoker very often, deep cleaning once every several months is the ideal time interval. Here are the steps you have to follow for deep pellet grill cleaning:
1. Cleaning the Exterior
Safety should always be your number one priority. Make sure that your pellet grill is totally cool and unplugged from the power source. Empty the wood pellet hopper so they won’t get wet or come into contact with the cleaning agents. You can spray stainless steel cleaner on the stainless steel surfaces or on the painted surfaces or of your pellet grill.
Do not spray this to any plastic parts. While you can use hot and soapy water, this may not work quickly like what a cleaner does. Allow the cleaner to sit for about 30 seconds to smoke stains and break down grease. Using a clean rag or paper towel, wiping in circles if you are cleaning a painted surface or with the grain for stainless steel.
Just repeat the entire process to clean any remaining smoke or grease. Make sure to rinse thoroughly if you have used a soap-water solution for cleaning. Let your pellet smoker dry before cooking and make sure that the hopper doesn’t have any leftover water before you reload the wood pellets.
2. Cleaning the Interior
Unplug your pellet smoker from the power source and ensure that it is totally cool. The pellet hopper is emptied to prevent the pellets from coming in contact with the cleaning substances or from getting wet. Empty the ash, open the lid, and remove the grate, racks, heat diffuser plate, and dip tray inside the pellet grill. It helps to take a picture and to pay attention to how the pieces are installed for easy reassembly.
Remove loose debris and ash using a wet or dry vacuum with a hose attachment. Check the inside areas where there are grease built-up. Use a flat edged object to dislodge the grease built-up and remove it such as a pan scraper or a paint stick. A hot and soapy water and rag are used in washing the grill interior and the pieces pulled out. Just simply repeat the process until the grease buildup disappears.
Rinse and dry thoroughly for at least 24 hours. For easier cleaning, cover the drip tray and heat diffuser with an aluminum foil, and just throw it away and replace it instead of scrubbing off the grease.
How to Get Your Pellet Grill Ready for the Upcoming Smoking Season
It is important to season pellet smoker when your first purchased it to burn off any residual substances as a result of the manufacturing process (like metal residues) and to penetrate the metal pores with smoke and oil to prevent rust formation. When seasoning your pellet grill, you can apply a thin coat of olive oil, peanut oil or PAM to the inside, close the damper halfway, and allow the grill to smoke heavy at about 225 degrees Fahrenheit for about 2 to 3 hours. There is no need to do this procedure again unless if a chemical was used for cleaning the interior of the smoker.
At the beginning of spring, you can use a grill brush and plastic puddy knife lightly remove any carbon or grease buildup from the inside of your smoker with an offset firebox. Using a plastic puddy knife won’t scratch the surface, just enough to only remove the grease down. The grill brush is used very lightly to dust off any carbon buildup inside the pellet smoker.
Check for any rust formation outside and inside the pellet smoker. If you see rust, you can remove it by using a grill brush and sandpaper and just repaint the surface with a high-heat paint. Prevent rust formation in the future by applying oil in door handles, hinges, and other metal surfaces. You can clean the smoker grates by placing them in your kitchen oven, allowing to initiate a self-cleaning cycle. With the 900-degree Fahrenheit temperature, it will burn the soot and grease in just a few hours, making your grates looking new again!
Preventive Maintenance Tips and Tricks
Always clean the ashes out of your pellet smoker after every use. But make sure they cool down enough for your safety. Water plus ash is a real rust-former for the firebox and of course, you don’t want that. Clean them out into the metal bucket then dump them out and spray the ashes with water so there are no live wood pellets still hiding. Avoid cleaning your pellet smoker using harsh chemicals like bleach which can corrode the painted surface.
Always dedicate a time to clean your pellet grill to ensure healthy and delicious food recipes all year round. Clean it every after use as much as possible and deep cleaning done depending on the frequency of use.