Our faithful smoker, unfortunately, has been slightly neglected over the years, sitting in a corner of the smoke house uncovered. Living in a warm environment, two significant issues we're facing with the smoker are rust and mould, especially the unseen mould on the grates. So our mission today is to degrease, clean, and spruce up the internals, as well as the exterior, to get it looking as good as new. You can either read on or watch our restoration video on youtube
To kickstart our restoration project, we've prepared some essential tools:
- a couple of bottles of spray degreaser
- a wide wire brush
- a non-scratching scourer and sponge
You should be able to find these at your local BBQ store or online.
Our first step in the cleaning process involves mixing soapy dishwashing liquid into warm water. We start by generously spraying the grates with degreaser, covering all surfaces and letting it work its magic. The water pan gets the same treatment. Meanwhile, the interior of the smoker barrel is sprayed with degreaser and gently scrubbed with the non-scratching scourer, paying attention to thicker buildup areas. Then, it's time for the lid and the inside of it, focusing around the temperature gauge and the vent.
Cleaning the grates might require a bit of elbow grease, but the difference it makes is worth it. The water pan and the ash bowl from previous cook get a thorough washing as well, revealing a much cleaner and less greasy surface.
Putting the Smoker Back Together
Once the individual parts are sparkling clean, it's time to assemble the smoker again. The transformation at this stage is remarkable, with the once-filthy smoker grates looking almost brand new. Everything is given a good wash and left to dry.
Seasoning the Smoker
Now that the smoker is back together and spotless, we move on to seasoning it. For this, we coat all the parts with a thin layer of oil, which can be sprayed or applied with a rag, covering everything inside and out. This process not only enhances the look of the smoker but also protects it.
We've given the entire smoker a good coating of oil, which dramatically improves its appearance. We've also sprayed the grates, the bowls, and the inside of the barrel and lid. To finish it off, we heat it up by throwing in some coals. This step helps cure the exterior with oil and dries out any leftover moisture, preventing mold growth.
Before and After
The transformation of the smoker is impressive, from a neglected, rusting, and moldy piece of equipment to something that almost looks brand new.
Conclusion and Tips
By the end of this restoration process, our once-rundown smoker looks great, almost brand new. It's an exciting prospect to cook on this rejuvenated smoker again. Remember to put a cover on your smoker if it's in an outdoor environment, and occasionally oiling it helps too. If you have an old smoker lying around, don't throw it out. Instead, try restoring it, and you'd be surprised at how well it can turn out.
- What type of degreaser should I use? Any general-purpose degreaser should work well.
- Can I use any type of oil for the final coating? Yes, any cooking or vegetable oil will do.
- How often should I clean and oil my smoker? Regular cleaning after each use and a thorough deep clean at least once a year is recommended.
- Can this restoration process be used for any type of smoker? Yes, although some details might vary depending on your smoker model.
- What should I do if there's significant rust damage? If there's severe rust damage, you might need to consider professional restoration or replacement of certain parts.