How To Season an Offset Smoker

I'm quite often asked by customers considering buying an offset smoker, "how and why do you season an offset smoker The principle behind seasoning an offset smoker is the same as seasoning cast iron grills, camp ovens etc and is essentially the process of creating a thin protective coat of oil that is polymerized to the surface after it is baked on from the fire.


Step 1 - Coat With Cooking Oil

You will need either spray-on cooking oil in a can, or a bottle of cooking oil and a rag.

The quickest and easiest way is to use a spray-on cooking oil.

Using the oil, coat all the internal parts of the offset smoker, excluding the stainless steel cooking grills as there’s no need to season those. Make sure you apply the oil to both sides of the heat management plates as well as the charcoal grates. Once you have coated the inside of the cooking chamber, repeat exactly the same process inside the firebox.  Do not apply the oil to the outside of the smoker, only the inside.  


Step 2 - Light the fire

If you’re using an aerosol can, there might be some fumes hanging around the smoker, so before lighting a fire in your offset smoker, keep all the doors open and wait 15 minutes until the fumes are gone.

While you’re waiting for the fumes to disperse, light your charcoal in a charcoal chimney fire starter separately and give it about 20 minutes to catch alight. Once the charcoal is lit, pour the charcoal into the fire box and close the 3 doors on your offset smoker. Keep the flue and vents half open.


To season your smoker correctly, you need to aim for is a consistent temperature of 150° degrees for two hours or more. What you will find during the burning in process is that the oil you applied will get baked onto the internal surfaces and form a shiny coating. It is this coating that will provide a protective layer to your offset smoker moving forward.


Step 3 - Monitor the temperature

Monitor the temperature gauges until the gauges reach 150 degrees. Once the gauges reach 150 degrees, you need to maintain a steady temperature for at least 2 hours. You will notice a shiny resin forming on the inside of your smoker. The resin will help seal the inside of the smoker for many cooks ahead and you should repeat this seasoning process annually. Continue to top up the charcoal as necessary to keep the temperature of the smoker at 150 degrees.



Step 4- Waiting/drinking time

After 2 hours of burning at 150 degrees, the seasoning process is completed. You’ll notice that there will be a shiny surface on all of the internal surfaces of the smoker and that’s what’s going to maintain it throughout the year as you continue to use it. Just be mindful each time you clean your smoker to be careful not to scratch or remove any of this protective layer.


Step 5- Cleaning After Cooking

It is important not to clean the inside of your oven otherwise you will find that you will remove the protective coating. If you want to clean the inside of your oven, remove the stainless steel grills and wash those in the sink. To clean the surface of the cooking chamber and the heat management plates, use paper towel to wipe out any oil or fat that has dripped. it is imperative that you do not use anything abrasive that may scratch or remove the coating.


Now that your smoker is seasoned and ready to use, you might be interested in some of our smoking recipes that we have for you here.

Not sure what type of wood is good for which meats? Our previous blog post will assist you to choose the appropriate smoking sood for your BBQ smoker. Check it out here.

You can also check out our blog post about learning how to maintain temps in an offset firebox.


Check out more delicious smoking recipes and How to guides
Want to take your barbecuing to the next level? Why not consider attending one of our BBQ Masterclasses It's an action packed day including all you can eat BBQ. 






by: Rhiannon Peterson