How to Season Your Smoker
So you finally have your new barbecue smoker home but before you can have that big cookout you need to cure your new pit. So how do you season your new barbecue smoker?
The reason we season.
A new BBQ pit should be cured like a new cast iron skillet inside. You may choose to rub the inside of the pit with peanut oil, cooking oils, or even bacon grease left over from bacon cooked on the stove. A pit will cure without oils, but the buildup of the resin base doesn’t hold very well over the years it seems. I have made over 100,000 barbecue pits, noticing the pits seated w/ oils produce better gains in ones cooking abilities.
What not to use.
LIGHTER FLUID IS NEVER RECOMMENDED. This includes matchlight charcoals. Lighter fluid will expand the metal too quickly causing the paint to blister and eventually peel. Be careful not to use green wood or very dry wood in your smoker. These woods will produce very bitter taste. Never use green mesquite wood in a smoker, the bitter taste is almost impossible to get out of the smoker.
The seasoning process.
Using one of the oils described above coat the inside of the smoking chamber. Be sure to coat the meat racks and the inside of the door.
Using about ½-3/4 of a chimney of charcoal (or about two and half handfuls), light the pit with a low fire, around 15O° for the first 3 hours. As you start the fire keep the firebox lid open. If your firebox doesn’t have a lid then leave the door open. Doing this allows negative heat out. Do not stack the wood or charcoal too high. This will help keep paint on the top or lid from being compromised when the flames are high. The flames will die down after 15-20 minutes. Close the lid to start heating the main chamber. Choking the smokestack control to about ½ will let it smoke heavily.
After 3 hours add two half splits of wood at a time until the temperature works up to 220°- 250°. You will need to add wood every 60 to 90 minutes to maintain the temperature. Let the pit smoke for another 4 to 6 hours. A few hours is good, but the longer the better.