how to clean offset smoker

Last Updated on: 27th May 2023, 04:34 pm

Offset smokers are the best equipment for taking smoking to beyond limits and experiencing traditional smoking flavor.

but they come with some complexities ,one of those is their cleaning.

To solve this for one and forever for our audience , i researched on how to clean an offset smoker for a whole day and came up with this master guide. lets get started

how to clean offset smoker the right way

The offset smoker is a popular type of grill. It has a firebox at one end and a cooking chamber at the other, with a chimney in between to draw smoke and heat evenly.

The two sections work together to cook food and maintain an even temperature. However, this doesn’t mean it can’t get dirty!

All that soot and grease from cooking can leave your smoker looking like it needs a good scrub.

It’s not uncommon for a home offset smoker to be used to make everything from fish and chips, to jerk chicken.

But over time, after cooking many meals, there can be a build up of grease and food residue which is difficult to remove.

Follow these four easy steps to clean your smoker like a pro.

  1. First things first: make sure the smoker is cool, or else you risk burning yourself on the hot metal or accidentally cracking glass parts with the cleaning solution. Trust us–you don’t want to do either of those things!
  2. Use a wire brush and scrubber (or steel wool pads) to remove any burnt-on bits from the grate and walls of your grill, otherwise they will stain and not come off.
  3. Next, you’ll want to scour the inside of the cooking chamber and firebox. To do this, pour 2 tablespoons of liquid Castrol TWS 10W-30 motor oil into a small bowl and heat it in the microwave for about 15 seconds.
  4. You’re now ready to clean! Pour the hot motor oil all over your smoker, where walls meet grate, doors, buttons and dials (avoiding plastic parts).
  5. Carefully wipe away any excess with a paper towel until your smoker is spotless! You should see a dark oily residue left behind–this is what was causing the buildup!

cleaning in an offset smoker is a bit complicated but its way more easier when compared to other traditional smokers like reverse flow smoker.

How to clean a gas offset smoker

Gas smokers are more convenient then the charcoal variety. They require less attention, and provide an easier cleanup.

They get their fuel from either propane or natural gas. You can simply turn the knob to light them up and smoke your food.

1: remove the removeable items

Remove any food or drip trays that may have any residue on it. If you have used wood chips the wood will be stuck to them, so be sure to soak these in hot water before scraping with a wire brush. Don’t forget to remove the wood chip box.

Note: If you are using a gas smoker that has a paint finish, be very careful not to burn or chip it.

If you do chip the paint, take some extra time to fill in the chips with wood putty.

2: wash with water

Once you have cleared all of your food and wood from the smoker, get your garden hose and run hot water through both sides of the smoke box.

Once it is hot enough run cold water through both sides of the smoke box. This will rinse out any remaining grease or food residue left over from your last cook.

Make sure that you are careful while rinsing with a garden hose because hot water can burn or damage your smoker if it splashes up on it!

The cold water should help to neutralize any heat that was created by running hot water through your smoker.

After you have let your smoker cool down thoroughly (at least 30 minutes), clean out and refill your drip pan  with hot water.

3:scrape the grease

Take a steak knife and run it along the inside of each side of the smoke box to scrape off any grease, residue, or food particles.

you should make sure to remove all wood chips from smoke box. You will have to use your wire brush for this part because it is very difficult to clean out without getting your hands wet.

after that you should consider pouring hot water onto the sides of smoker to remove any debris and then rinse it thoroughly to clean it completely.

Once finished cleaning rinse once more with cold water and make sure that everything is dry before proceeding further with your re-seasoning process!

As a reminder, never use a power washer or high pressure sprayer when rinsing off your smoker or cleaning it! The force from these can cause damage if not used properly. 

How to Clean smoker with vinegar?

Clean your smoker with vinegar. Vinegar is an acidic ingredient and will help to remove stubborn rust.

It also acts as a natural, non-toxic cleaner that will not leave behind any chemical residue.

How to clean a BBQ Smoker with vinegar:

Before starting, assemble the necessary equipment and supplies you’ll need for the job.

  1. Wipe your BBQ down with a damp cloth.
  2. take a pot half filled with water and mix it with 1 cup of vinegar. If you’re going to be cleaning more than one smoker, you’ll need more than one pot so make sure you have enough pots available before you fill them up!
  3. Bring the water up to heat level, then turn off the stove top burner but don’t take off the pot from the stove yet. (If using an oven, set the temperature–but don’t put in on yet.)
  4. Place your  barbecue on a sturdy stand and put your pot (or pots) on the floor a few feet away from it.
  5. Position your barbecue hood so that the fumes from the vinegar and water will land directly on one side of your BBQ (the side you want to clean).
  6. Replace any parts of your smoker that can be removed, like racks or grilles. If you’re able to remove all parts, go ahead and do so.
  7. Put the smoker hood up, close any windows or doors in the room–making sure no pets are allowed inside-then light up some charcoal.
  8. While waiting for it to heat up, check if there’s any rust or flaking paint by gently rubbing an area with a piece of sandpaper or steel wool. If rust is present, apply some aluminum foil to areas where rust has formed then leave it untouched while you wait for the next step.
  9. When you notice a change in the temperature of the water, take the temperature of what’s in the pan. If it’s risen to above 200 degrees Fahrenheit, then you’re ready for step 11.
  10. Once your barbecue has heated up, put on any cooking utensils that you’re going to use and coat them with cooking spray. (If using a grill, be sure to coat your grill rack with cooking spray too.) If you only have a single smoker, then this may mean taking turns between smoking and grilling
  11. Take hold of your pot handles then shake them back and forth over the fire until they’ve been stripped clean of any rust or paint.
  12. Stand aside while doing this as vinegar fumes can irritate some people’s eyes and cause coughing or nausea in others who aren’t used to working with strong odors like these .
  13. After washing away all of the residue, check the bottom to make sure that all traces of rust are gone and that nothing remains stubbornly stuck there.
  14. After doing this, run some water over the bottom of your pot then let it dry completely before moving on to step 16.
  15. The final step is to dry your pot off well by wrapping it in a towel and waiting for any moisture to evaporate away before you’re ready to use it again.

As you can see, while a little bit of work may be involved in doing this, it isn’t nearly as difficult as one might think and can be accomplished with just a few easily-found household materials.

frequently asked questions

here are some of the most common questions related to cleaning offset smokers.

How often should I clean my smoker?

If you use your smoker often then I would suggest cleaning it once a month or at least every other month.

If you do not use your smoker very often I would suggest cleaning it at least twice a year.
Yes, this will take time and energy to keep your smoker in good condition but if you plan on using it for many years to come then this is a small price to pay for keeping it in the best condition possible!

is cleaning and seasoning the same?

No, cleaning means removing debris while seasoning means heating the smoker to higher temperature to burn off any grease of other components


It’s important to regularly clean your smoker, whether it’s a charcoal smoker or a gas smoker. Even if you’re using wood chips for smoke, there will be some residue left on the smoker from the wood.

If you don’t clean the smoker regularly, the residue will build up and leave a bad smell behind that you won’t want to be around! We hope that this guide will help you clean your smoker more efficiently. if you have any question then let us know in comments.

Jakob miller