How to Cure or Preseason Your New Smoker

61-rLwTILoL._SY450_It’s understandable that you may be anxious to start using a smoker right out of the box. However, it’s generally advisable to “cure” or “preseason” your smoker before using it on real food. Why? Well, the three most important reasons are:

(1) to avoid the often metallic-taste that a new smoker can impart to meat;

(2) to burn off/remove any residues that may remain from the manufacturing process; and

(3) to reduce the likelihood of rusting.

As far as how to cure the smoker, it’s pretty quick and painless, and will give you a chance to practice-run the unit before actual use.

First off, give the smoker a good wash with a dilute dish washing detergent, rinse well, and then let it air dry. Now coat the interior with a vegetable oil. Olive oil is often mentioned but in reality any vegetable oil that can be used for frying is fine. A spray oil is probably the easiest to apply, but a clean paintbrush or sponge also works for more viscous oils. Cover all interior cooking surfaces, including any shelves, the doors, and the inner walls of the smoker unit, but take care to spare the burner, any electrical wiring or heating element, the wood tray and water pan. The idea here is to apply a thin layer of oil, without so much that the surfaces are dripping wet.

Now that you anointed the smoker with a fine coat of oil, simply add some wood and fuel, fire it up or turn on (if it’s electric), and dry smoke (no water in the pan) for three to four hours at a temperature in the neighborhood of 250 degrees Fahrenheit. A nice and steady production white smoke is best. This is also a good opportunity to check the smoker for excessive smoke leakage, which should be curbed to the extent practicable.

After your done and everything has cooled enough to touch, look inside and, if necessary, use a damp towel to gently wipe up any particularly gummy-looking/charred areas. Don’t scrub. Besides that, just leave it be and it’s ready to use. This smokey oil layer will only improve with time and additional smoking. You shouldn’t need to repeat this procedure unless you go in and wash the interior surfaces with detergent soap again, which will strip off the oily/smoke layer you’ve created and essentially make the smoker “new” again.


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