How To Season a Smoker – Easy Tips

Seasoning or pre seasoning is a method where you coat the inside of the smoker with oil and then heat it at the high temperature to get the desired effect. We are sure that when you buy a smoker, you are excited to test it out with the help of the fresh cut of meats. However, you need to season it properly before you can start cooking on it. This is very crucial when you have bought a new smoker. Let's take a look at how you can do so. 

The Basics of Seasoning

There are two main purpose of seasoning. The first one is the process of cleaning away contaminants that has been present in the unit because of the manufacturing process and the other one is to prevent rusting. It is important because it will increase the life of your smoker. Here are the three steps that you need to follow if you want to smoke using the smoker for a long time 

Give the smoker a good cleaning with soap and water even of it always seems to be clean.

Coat the entire interior of the smoker with a cooking spray. 

Heat the smoker and let it cook for 2 to 4 hours. 

Step by Step Guide To Seasoning a Smoker

Now that you have bought your smoker and spent time to put it together by following the instruction manual, we have to get started with the seasoning process. Take a look at the steps. 


There might still be some left-over oils, solvents, metal shavings, or uncured paint inside the smoker from the manufacturing process. This can contaminate the food and give it some unwanted flavors. So you have to clean the smoker to get rid of it all. Just follow these steps and you are going to be fine 

You have to take out all the racks, grates, and pans from the smoker.

Take some dish soap and water and use it to wash all the racks, grates, and pans.

Try to wash the entire portion of the interior including the fire box and then let it air dry. 

Coating with Oil

Next you are going to coat the interior of the smoker with oil. This can be any boil but make sure that it has a high burning point. If you are confused and do not know what to choose then you should go with canola or grapeseed oil as they are the standard and safe options. The oil will leave a nice hard protective surface after it had been heated up in the smoker. This process is popularly known as polymerization. Take a look at the steps that you need to follow - 

Take the smoker and coat the interior of the smoker with oil. Do not forget the inside walls and door or lid. You can do with the help of a cloth or a cooking spray. You also have to coat the racks and grates. 

Many people ask to not coat the water pan but we recommend coating the outside of the pan too. 

Let the oil soak for some time around 10 minutes before you turn up the heat. 


Slowly start heating the smoker to a high temperature for 2 to 4 hours. You should know that the temperature should be higher than the normal cooking temperature that you usually choose so that there can be a nice layer of seasoning. Then you need to let the smoker come down to the actual room temperature. Let's take a better look at the steps that you need to follow - 

Gather enough charcoal and wood to smoke for 4 hours. Use the same kind that you are going to use later on with the smoking process. 

Fill one chimney starter with charcoal and allow it to heat for 10 minutes.

Open all the vents and exhausts of the smoker so that it can get the maximum air supply to reach high temperature. 

Add the charcoal to the firebox and add wood to bring the temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. You have to maintain this temperature for 4 hours. 

After the time period you can see the layer on the smoker. It would appear to be of a dark brown color. Allow the smoker to cool down. 

Tips For Seasoning a Smoker

Here are some tips and tricks that you might find to be handy when you are seasoning a smoker. Take a look at them 

When you are starting to season a smoker, make sure that the smoker is on a level surface. You do not want the oil to run on one side of the smoker. 

If you have a big smoker then you can add the oil to a spray bottle and spray the inside of the smoker. It will save you a lot of time. 

Mop the extra oil that can be present at the bottom of the smoker because it is going to leave an uneven coating and we do not want that to happen. 

If you have a gas or electric smoker then do not get any oil on the heating element. 

Types of Oils and Substitutes

We have said that it is preferable to use a high burning point like canola or grapeseed oil. However, if you want to spice things up a little then you can try some of the other substitutes that we have. They are for the people who like to experiment. You can try to use -

Bacon Fat

 Red Palm Sunflower Oil

 Flaxseed Oil

 Suet (Raw Beef Fat)

Lard or Tallow 


Thank you so much for giving this article a read. We made it as simple as possible for you. We hope that now you know how to season your smoker. A seasoned smoker is going to last you for a long time. That's the end of the article. Have a good day. Take care of yourself and make sure that you cook a lot of good smoked food in your newly seasoned smoker!