How to Clean an Offset Meat Smoker

Cleaning an Offset Meat Smoker

A question we are quite often asked is how to clean a Flaming Coals Texas Offset Meat Smoker. I mean you've spent quite a bit of money on this beast, so it's only natural that you'd want to take care of it. Firstly, if you haven't purchased one already, I strongly suggest you invest in a cover, especially if you're planning on leaving it outside.

The day after a good cook, you'll be left with a few things. Hopefully some left over meat, possibly a hangover (touch wood) but most definitely fat and grease on the bottom of the cooking chamber and ash inside the fire box and bits of food on the grills. If you don't feel like cleaning the meat smoker the morning after, don't worry about it. I've been known to leave mine for a week before I got around to cleaning it. In fact, although they think I don't notice, I know for a fact that that the boys in our office don't always clean out the fat/grease in the cooking chamber after each cook. What I'm going to go through is best practice and how to get the absolute best out of the smoker. If you choose to take shortcuts, then that's up to you.

Empty The Firebox (1 minute)

Firstly, remove the grate from the firebox and let the ash and remaining wood fall into the base of the firebox. Grab a small brush and sweep the ash into the ashtray. If there are large pieces of charcoal or wood it’s best to remove these so they don’t get stuck in the ashtray when you open it. Open the ashtray and tip the ashes in the garden or tip them in the bin. When emptied, slide the draw back into the firebox and then put the grate back. Note: Different types of charcoal produce more/less ash than others. Depending on the amount of ash inside the firebox, you may need to scoop some out before removing the ash draw as it might be over full.

Wipe Out Cooking Chamber (2 minutes)

Remove the stainless steel grills and heat deflection plates from the cooking chamber so you can access the bottom of the cooking chamber. After any good cook, you'll notice that the bottom of the chamber will have quite a bit of solidified fat stuck to it. Simply wipe out the fat using a paper towel. Be careful not to use anything abrasive as this may damage the protective coating baked onto the meat smoker during the seasoning process. Note: if you choose not to wipe out the fat, be mindful that next time you cook, this fat will heat up again and potentially cause your fat pot to overflow.....your dog will love you, but your timber decking is not so much.

Wipe Down Heat Deflection Plates (2 minutes)

Similar to the cooking chamber, use a paper towel to wipe down the fat. For any stubborn parts, you can carefully use a scraper or spatula to help lift the baked-on food. Your food won’t touch any of these parts of the smoker so they don’t have to be perfectly clean.

Stainless Steel Grills (7 minutes)

The grills used on the Flaming Coals Texas Offset Smoker are 304 food-grade stainless steel making them extremely easy to clean. You could let them soak in hot water if your sink is large enough, however, I spray them with a BBQ degreaser which I allow to sit for around 5 minutes, then I scrape them with a wire brush followed by a normal scourer. In the cleaning video, you'll see that in just a few minutes, I clean them quite well, however, I know some of the guys in the office give them just a 30-second scrub with the wire brush to remove any big bits of food and then get cooking.

Cleaning your smoker doesn’t take long. A good clean takes 12 minutes, and a "man clean" takes about 2 minutes.

Happy smoking!

Just purchased a smoker? Learn how to season it.

Learn how to maintain the temperature in your meat smoker.

Not sure which wood suits which meat, read our previous post.

Built up the courage to try to smoke brisket? Learn how to smoke a brisket.

Check out more delicious smoking recipes and How to guides.
Want to get hands-on experience on how to prepare awesome BBQs from experienced pitmasters? Check out our BBQ Masterclasses.


This is a picture of the smoker buying guide banner that links to a page where you can download the free guide to help you with your BBQ smoker purchase





by: Rhiannon Peterson