Why You Need To Season Your Electric Smoker

Any new electric smoker will include instructions for seasoning your smoker before using it for the first time.

If this is your first time seasoning an electric smoker, you’ll find it’s not as difficult as you might expect, but it is time-consuming. Fortunately, you only need to season your smoker once over its entire lifespan!

Looking for a quality electric smoker to replace your old one? No worries, check this out for a comparison of the top brands. Now let’s get seasoning! All you will need is: 

Estimated Time: 3.5 – 4 hrs

Equipment Required: 

  • LInt-free washcloth
  • Sponge
  • Dishwashing Soap
  • Water
  • 100% Natural Wood Chips (unflavored)

Neglecting to season your smoker will certainly reduce the lifespan of your smoker and expose you to potential risk of food contamination. The 4 key reasons for seasoning your smoker are as follows:

  • Removes harmful manufacturing residue such as petroleum-based oils, resin, and dust
  • Cures the paint or coating inside the cooker
  • Prevents rust
  • Produces a thin coating of smoke that enhances flavor

Part 1: Preparing To Season Your Electric Smoker

  1. Remove all racks, water tray and wood chip tray. Once you’ve assembled your new electric smoker according to the instructions, empty the cooking chamber and give it an inspection. Check for any scratches, knicks, or obstructions that could cause damage when removing the racks or trays. Report these to the manufacturer for a replacement if needed.
  1. Wipe down your smoker. Using a sponge, warm water and ordinary dishwashing soap, gently wash out the interior to remove any residue paint, dust, or oils. Then, wipe the interior completely dry with a lint-free cloth. Don’t use a scrubbing pad or any abrasive surface, which can ruin the interior finish. Avoid washing the heating element as well.
  1. Coat the interior walls with cooking oil.  Apply a thin coating of vegetable oil or cooking spray oil to the interior walls of your smoker. Cover the heating element and avoid directly spraying any oil on it, which will cause unwanted smoke and fumes. 
  1. Return all racks to the smoker. With the smoker interior completely clean and free of any residue, you’re ready for the next stage of seasoning your smoker, preheating!

Part 2: Pre-heating Your Electric Smoker

  1. Plug the electric smoker to a power outlet. Your smoker should plug directly into an outlet instead of a power bar to avoid short circuiting. If you must, however, use a heavy duty extension cord with an earth pin.
  1. Open the top vent or smokestack on your smoker completely. Ventilation prevents overheating inside the smoker during the seasoning process. Keep it open and unobstructed. 
  1. Set the temperature to 275 degrees fahrenheit for a minimum of 3hrs. Your electric smoker will typically have specific instructions for setting the seasoning temperature, but 275°F is standard.

Part 3: Seasoning Your Electric Smoker

  1. Add a handful of natural wood chips to the loader or tray at the 2hr mark. Use natural unscented wood chips. Soaking your wood chips in water is a common practice, but is not necessary. In fact soaking wood chips will increase the amount of moisture inside the smoker due to evaporation.
  1. Wait 20 minutes, then add a second handful of wood chips to the loader or tray. By this point, some ash and smoke will appear. The ash will continue to burn as you add more wood chips, and should produce a mild smoke that is thick but not overwhelming.
  1. Add a third handful of wood chips 20 minutes later. You should have approximately 20mn remaining on your timer, which is enough time for adding a third layer of wood chips. You’ll notice a healthy, thick black smoke developing.


At the end of the 3hrs, you can turn off your electric smoker and unplug it from the outlet. Let it cool down naturally. There will be no need to wipe down the interior, although it doesn’t hurt to review these electric smoker cleaning tips. Your smoker will have a thin layer of smoke on the interior walls which will help to seal in heat and add flavor to your meat!

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