Considerations and Maintenance of a Commercial Smoker

Smoked Pulled Pork Barbecue

By – The Editor

There are two schools of thought when it comes to cleaning smokers. The first considers deposits of charred build-up on the grills and smokers to be an asset contributing to the flavor of the smoking process. The second, which we feel is correct, is that the gathering of grease, soot, and charred deposits on your smoker will not only taint the flavor of the food but also increase the risk of fire.

Let our commercial smoker pros explain the considerations and maintenance of commercial smokers to help keep your smoker delivering that smoky flavor while reducing the risk of fire.

How Frequently Should a Commercial Smoker Be Cleaned?

Ideally, commercial smokers should be cleaned at the end of the day to remove built-up residue and ensure the water/wood chip tray is filled properly. If you have a solid-fuel electric smoker with removable cooking racks and trays, they should be removed and washed in the sink.

Protect Against Rust

If your smoker has an exterior coating to protect from damage such as rust, it is crucial to reapply this coating based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you aren’t sure, have a commercial smoker maintenance technician inspect your smoker so you understand whether the coating is required and how often it should be applied.

Perform Monthly Deep Cleanings

Use the following steps to perform a monthly deep cleaning inside your smoker:

  • Unplug your smoker and let it cool down
  • Turn off the system that controls the water and wood chips if your smoker has one
  • Once cooled, line the bottom of the smoker with a small piece of tarp or a large heavy- duty garbage bag to catch drips and debris
  • Remove the racks and any other removable parts, and use a barbecue cleaner to thoroughly wash away grease and debris
  • Carefully remove the garbage bag and avoid drips
  • Let everything dry completely, and then put your racks and trays back in place
  • Test the temperature control knob to make sure it’s working properly

Reset the Smoker Chamber

If the food begins to taste too smoky, it’s time to reset the smoke chamber. Remove the water/wood chip tray, close the lid, and leave the smoker door open. Turn the temperature knob to the right to reset it, and then add more wood chips and/or fuel to the smoker fire to start smoking. This is also a good time to check the temperature control to see if the water is evaporating as expected. If the water level seems to be dropping quickly, add more water.

Look for Vent Clogs

Check the vents weekly (or at least monthly) for clogs. Vacuum dry dust with a cleaner, and use a soft brush and vent cleaning product to remove caked-on food or grease.

Monthly Dry Run

A monthly dry run using the following steps helps ensure the temperature controls and vents are functioning correctly:

  • Make sure there are a few pieces of wood chips in the smoker, and set the temperature to the highest level
  • Open the vents and run the smoker until it automatically turns off
  • Check to make sure everything is functioning properly
  • Call for commercial smoker repair if you notice issues

These general maintenance tips will help prolong the life of your smoker, improve performance, reduce fire risks, and ensure the flavor of your food is optimized.

Because there are so many different types of smokers, it’s important to arrange for professional commercial smoker maintenance to avoid damage. Click here to book a maintenance call with one of our General Parts professionals or call (888) 498-1238 to reach our customer service team to learn more about our commercial smoker repair service.