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Masterbuilt electric smokers are becoming popular, due to the fact that they take the guesswork out of smoking meats and they come in several choices of both fuel and features.
However, like any cooking appliance, they need to be cleaned regularly and thoroughly. If you clean it after each smoking session, you'll avoid buildup and the chance of mold growing inside.
At the very least, clean it every three to five uses. If you can't clean it after each use, use a wire brush to scrub each rack to remove grease and food residue.
Cleaning the smoker right after it's cooled is the easiest time, before the food residues have a chance to really stick. Here's what you need:
Your owner's manual may also list approved cleaning agents, but dish soap and water or the cider vinegar mixture is usually all that's needed as long as the grill is cleaned after each use. Don't be tempted to use oven cleaner unless your owner's manual allows it. If you haven't used the smoker in a while or if it's been used several times between cleanings, you can first run it at maximum heat for about an hour to loosen grease and debris.
with a soft bristle brush or a plastic scraper. You don't want to use metal utensils to scrape the inside chamber.
If you use the cider vinegar, spray it on and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping to let the mild acid in the vinegar loosen up the residue.
Start at the top and leave the bottom for last, in case any crumbs fall down while you're wiping. Remove those crumbs and wipe down the bottom.
Use the brush to take off any stubborn debris while washing, then rinse and dry.
Any residue that is left, especially on the racks, this will only leave a place for more residue to stick and build-up, making for a larger cleaning job later.
If your racks, tray and pan are dishwasher safe, you can use that after scraping off the debris and grease with a scraper or scouring sponge.
If you can't use the dishwasher just wash with soapy water
If you have a problem getting everything off the racks, you can try putting them inside a large garbage bag. Make sure the bag has no holes or rips.
Pour in one cup of ammonia, then seal the bag tightly. Leave it overnight for the ammonia fumes to loosen anything stuck. Be sure to keep your face away from the bag when you open it the next day.
Scrub off anything still there and rinse them thoroughly. Once clean and dry, it's a good idea to coat the racks with vegetable oil and also before each use to prevent sticking and prevent rust.
The exterior can be cleaned with soapy water.
If your smoker model has a glass window, this will need to be cleaned with soapy water, a glass cleaner or a half-and-half mix of cider vinegar and water.
Your owner's manual may have instructions on what to use for this.
If built-up grease gets under the controls it may even interfere with the grill's operation.
Mold tends to grow in dark, moist places, so it just loves smokers. If you put off cleaning your smoker for a long time, not only will gunk build up inside but you may well have mold growing inside. To clean it out, first:
Another method is to fill a metal bowl with boiling water, put it inside the smoker, and run it at its highest setting for an hour.
You may want to put on a face mask while cleaning to make sure you don't inhale any leftover mold spores, as they may affect your health.
Once you have everything clean, put it back together in the reverse order of taking the parts out.
Between uses, cover it with a protective cover. It will protect the smoker from the elements and prolong its life.