For anyone who hasn’t bought a propane smoker yet, then allow us to recommend them to you. From the moment we bought ours and had assembled it into our backyard, we knew that this BBQ tool was going to revolutionize how we cooked outdoors. And do you know what? It did, it really did. We thought it was possibly the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Of course, if you do plan on purchasing one, then you should be ready for a fair amount of work. Although the best propane smokers are some of the easiest smokers to maintain, they still require a fair amount of due diligence and elbow grease in order to keep them in good working condition.

We don’t want you to worry, however. Using and maintaining a propane smoker does require a little bit of extra care, but it is very doable for the average person if they know what to do. With that in mind, we’ve decided to give all of our readers the information they need to not only use their propane smoker more effectively but also keep it in the best condition possible for as long as possible.

Part One: Before We Begin

The first thing we would like to cover in this article is properly using the propane smoker to get the best results. Although these smokers come in a variety of different styles, we can give our readers the basics that cover most models. Before we start, however, we would like to say that you should thoroughly read your smoker’s instructions before using it. If we contradict any of your smoker’s instructions, then you should disregard our instructions and follow what the smoker’s manual recommends.

Part Two: Setting Up & Using

The next thing you’re going to want to do before using your propane smoker is to set it up properly. This means that the propane tank is attached to the smoker—according to the manufacturer’s instructions—and that everything has been set up to be ready to smoke.

When the smoker is prepared, line the water pan with aluminum foil and then fill it with water. Open up the valve on the smoker and check for leaks. Now, light the burner according to the instructions of the manufacturer.

When the fire has been lit, it’s time to set the controller on the smoker to the desired temperature. This is usually between 225 to 250-degrees Fahrenheit. Once the temperature has been set, allow the smoker to preheat for approximately 15-minutes. During this time, make sure the vents and/or chimney damper are properly set.

Now it’s time to add the sawdust, wood chips, or wood chunks to the pan above the burner. Continue on with the heating process until smoke begins to billow up and out through the damper of the smoker. When it begins smoking, arrange the food on the racks or hooks.

Make sure to regularly check the wood and water pans to make sure they don’t need to be refilled. It’s also important to make sure that the flame hasn’t gone out every once in a while, too. This could result in a dangerous buildup of propane gas in the chamber.

After you have smoked the food according to your needs, remove the food from the smoker. Now, turn off the flame and shut off the propane tank. Once the smoker has cooled, disconnect the propane tank from the smoker and then clean it.

Part Three: Keeping Your Propane Smoker In Good Condition

Okay, let’s do a brief overview of what you should do to keep your propane smoker nice and clean. As we said with the setup part of our guide, it’s always important to refer to the instructions provided by the smokers’ manufacturer before you consider our advice. With that said, let’s get started and find out how a propane smoker should be cleaned.

As we stated earlier, it’s important to make sure that the propane smoker is cool and that the propane tank has been removed before the smoker is cleaned. Once that’s done, put on rubber gloves and remove all of the cooking racks, drip trays, smoke baskets, and water/wood pans that might exist in the smoker. Use a grill brush to remove stuck-on gunk and then finish cleaning them in your sink.

Cover the burner with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent it from becoming covered in drippings while you begin to scrape the sides of the smoker. Once that’s done, use hot water filled with soapy dishwater and a plastic scrub brush to scrub down the inside of the smoker. Some people use a degreaser, but I’ve found dish soap works just as well.

Don’t forget to clean the racks and other parts that you’ve taken into the house to clean in your kitchen sink. Those should be cleaned with soapy water, rinsed, and dried before they’re returned to the smoker. If you want, you can also line the drip pan with aluminum when you return it to the smoker.

Once the inside of the smoker has been thoroughly cleaned, it’s time to turn to clean the outside of the smoker. Wipe it down thoroughly before you end your cleaning session. Also, make sure to inspect the outside of the smoker and look for any damage that might have sprung up that you haven’t yet noticed. This will ensure that you get a long life out of your propane smoker.