Just recently a great topic was brought up within our I Love Grilling Meat VIP Private Facebook Group Forum about how to season a smoker or grill. Special thanks to VIP member Eric Walker for asking this question and getting these eight veteran Pitmasters to chime in and share their techniques and secrets for seasoning a brand new smoker.
The following is a transcript of the conversation between these fine gentlemen Pitmasters…
How To Season A Smoker?
Tony McHale: When I purchased my smoke hollow vertical smoker, I used pecan wood, because that’s what I had the most of at the time, and I ran it up to about 400 and smoked for about 5 hours, I didn’t wipe the inside out, and I think I should have, but that did the trick for me. I also seasoned the grates with lard.
Leroy Bee: When I bought my Char Broil side box smoker I sprayed everything inside with an organic red palm sunflower oil that my company makes and sales at Nutiva.com. I sprayed the fire-box also then burnt it in with some misquote logs for three hours. Since then I have also seasoned my stainless steel gas grill and my weber with the same stuff.
Cleaning Your Smoker Before Seasoning
Danny McTurnan: A lot of times you will find factory solvents on the inside of new grills and smokers. It could be oil or other types I find it best to wipe with soap and water to remove any foreign chemicals left by factory, then add you some charcoal and wood chunks and bring up to temp slow cause metal will expand when heated to hot to quick and warp so gradually bring temp up slowly for roughly 4 hours adding wood chunks as needed. Try to use non creosote wood such as maple, hickory, pecan, or other fruit wood. After it is seasoned wipe grates down with lard bacon grease or Pam.
Leroy Bee: Ya Danny Mcturnan, I left that part out I did wash mine while I was putting it together so it was clean before I seasoned it.
Allan D.Woodworth: I like a very high heat on the grill and rub it with suet (raw beef fat) and smoker burn it out and start some fruit woods.
What Type of Wood To Season With?
Donald M. Smith: When I brought my new smoker home I cleaned the racks filled the water pan with 50/50 mix of water and apple juice, added a couple of tablespoons of liquid smoke. I heated it up and smoked it with Apple, hickory, and peach wood chips for about 3 hours. Once it was done I washed the water pan and emptied the ashes, but did not wipe away any of that goodness from the inside of the smoker…. Not after all that hard work! Lol!
Tony McHale: That was the one thing I didn’t do Danny Mcturnan, was clean my smoker before I seasoned it. I wish I would have. I did clean the grates before I put food in it, but I will definitely remember that when I get another smoker, hoping to get a horizontal Brinkman Trailmaster limited pretty soon.
The Post Seasoning Rub Down
Donald J. Fox: I seasoned mine just last week with hickory. After cleaning it and rubbing it down with olive oil.
Then I smoked the best turkey I’ve ever had!
Donny Collins: I concur with my friend Danny Mcturnan. After owning an auto detailing business and learning the in’s and out’s, I learned that dish detergents are one of the worst things to use on your car because it not only cuts grease, it eats wax off your car. So when I bought this Chargriller I used those principles and washed down EVERYTHING inside and out with dish detergent. Then I sprayed it down with a lite coat of olive oil inside and out, wiped it down and started a small fire and added to it from there.
Once I got it to about 250 I started adding apple chunks. Once the smoke was rollin real nice I started adding more fuel and apple chunks slowly increasing the heat till I got to about 400. Then I maintained that for about 2 hrs, it took a couple of hours to get to that point anyway. But as Danny said, we’re talking about an 8th inch of metal. I let it cool on its own, and when it was done the outside was smooth and had a water-resistant surface.
Not like I don’t cover my love up anyway, but you never know when mother nature might decide to show up when you’re in the middle of some butt wink emoticon the most important thing though was the inside had the same finish and was darkened and seasoned with apple smoke and ready to produce what I bought her for. The next step… 2 beautiful butts!
Donny Collins: Sorry I ran my fingers so much… LOL!
Season Your Smoker Low and Slow
Derrick Blackwell Sr: To season my trailer pit upon purchase, I took the following steps. First, I thoroughly coated the entire inside of the pit with vegetable oil. Secondly, I burned about 10 lbs of lump coal, 3 pounds of hickory wood and 3 lbs of cherry wood and kept the temperature at 250 degrees for 4 hours. After the 4th hour, I added 20 lbs of lump coal, 6 lbs of hickory wood and 6 lbs of cherry wood and let it go at 350 for 6 hours.
Donny Collins: Like that low and slow method Derrick Blackwell Sr!
Derrick Blackwell Sr: Brother Donny Collins, I simply LOVE the low and slow method. It gets the job done and gets it done a little thoroughly. Mama always told us to “Do it right the first time and get it over with! Otherwise, you will slow yourself and production with constant redo’s…”
Donny Collins: I concur my friend.. like I said, like that low and slow method, even when seasoning a smoker. I simply hate to do things over… except smokin meat, I can do that over and over! Well maybe some other things too but that’s another post smile emoticon LOL!
Donny Collins: One last thing then maybe I’ll be quite… ALWAYS CLEAN FIRST!
Special thanks to ILGM VIP Pitmasters Tony McHale, Leroy Bee, Danny McTurnan, Allan D.Woodworth, Donald M. Smith, Donny Collins, Donald J. Fox, and Derrick Blackwell Sr. for sharing their wisdom on how to season a smoker and grill.
Hear more from many of these expert Pitmasters here: 3-2-1 Method For Smoking Ribs: Secret Conversation Between Veteran Pitmasters
If you want in on the forum that houses these knowledgeable pitmasters in this conversation, then feel free to join the ILGM VIP T-Shirt of the Month Club so that you can get exclusive access to the private VIP group forum where conversations like this take place every day!
If you learned something new from these guys today, please show these awesome gentlemen some appreciation by liking and sharing this article with friends on Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media channels as I’m sure there are people out there looking for answers on with how to season a smoker and grill.
Is there anything else you could add to this? Any secret method you use to season your smoker or grill? We’d love to hear more from you so feel free to let us know in the comments below…
Photo cred: Special thanks to the students who built the bada** smoker you see in the feature image at the top of the page, learn more about these brilliant young pitmasters here.
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