If you’re new to smoking meat you might’ve heard about customizing and season your new smoker. The task might seem daunting, but fear not because Aaron Franklin has got you covered. The modification tips found below are focused mainly on stick burning (wood and charcoal fueled) offset smokers. If you’re a gas or electric cooker owner, you can jump straight to seasoning your pit…
How To Modify & Season a New Smoker
The Most Important Smoker Mod:
One thing you’ll want to do with your new offset smoker straight out of the box, is making sure you can monitor how hot you’re cooking. Time to install a thermometer!
To do this, grab a sharpie and make a dot on the lid about 2 inches above grate level, approximately halfway between the firebox and the lid handle.
Next up, get your trusty drill with a hole saw bit attached, and make a hole at the exact spot marked earlier. Depending on the thermometer you will be installing (you can find one for as low as $20 in hardware stores but I wouldn’t trust those go for high-quality thermometers) you might need to drill a different size hole, so take that into account. Secure the thermometer on the lid, and voila! You’re set to go.
PRO tip: An even better option than a pre-installed thermometer is to get a high quality external thermometer that will simultaneously measure your heat and your meat. Be sure to buy a thermometer that includes an ambient temperature probe that can connect directly to your grates with a grate clip and get the most accurate measurement of the heat hitting your meat. You’ll find the most highly recommended meat smoking thermometer here.
Seasoning a Brand New Smoker:
When you first get your stick burner, it might be all shiny, but it also comes with oils and paints and other chemicals from the manufacturing process. That’s why you need to season a new smoker, or burn it out. During this process the smoker will be cleansed of anything that will compromise on the taste or safety of the food you cook.
The old school, purist way to do this is by shoveling out coals from an existing fire into your firebox. You can of course use a charcoal chimney. Throw some wood on the lit coal and close the firebox.
Let the temp inside the smoker rise to ~300ºF (check on the thermometer you just installed!), and let it run until you can’t smell burning paint anymore!
Your smoker is now ready to use for cooking tasty ribs and juicy pork butts, or even a beef brisket. Have fun!