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Old 08-12-2019, 08:53 PM   #1
asully503
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Default Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

I didn’t clean my smoker out well enough after a batch of fish a couple years ago and there is all sorts of nasty stuff going on in there. My main concern was the mold. Does anybody have any short cuts or tips on cleaning these things short of just a scrub brush and dish soap? I would assume they don’t get hot enough to sanitize with heat.


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Old 08-12-2019, 09:42 PM   #2
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Have had it happen years ago. I did what you’re thinking. Scrub brush, dish soap and some elbow grease. Although I did add a touch of security regarding the mold. I pulled the element and started a mini barrel fire with kindling. Crack the lid open for sufficient air flow and let her rip for about 10 minutes or so. Rinse it, air dry it and you should be good to go.
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Old 08-13-2019, 03:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

Add some bleach to your soapy water, rinse with boiling water from a tea kettle and then expose to the sun.

Besides cleaning after use, I used to block the holes with a piece of wood strapped to it to keep the garage mice out. Next time it’s all clean and ready for food-Grade fish.

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Old 08-13-2019, 04:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

I'm able to run the trays through the dishwasher (and the rack too if it's a top load) and that gets them pretty clean.
Add for the box it's self...I simply soak and scrub it in a rubbermaid tote with soap.
Easy peasy.
Just make sure to not get your heating element wet. If you do it'll start blowing your GFIs. If that happens throw it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes or an hour. Let it cool and you're good to go.

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Old 08-13-2019, 05:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

Another vote for bleach.

If you’re having a problem with your fish sweating a lot and dripping gunk, your smoker is getting too hot and cooking the fish. Use a thermometer so you know for sure what the inside temperature really is and keep it below 120. Takes some practice and ingenuity to get them working right.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

I use my pressure washer for cleaning the racks.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

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Originally Posted by fishnhunt13 View Post
I'm able to run the trays through the dishwasher (and the rack too if it's a top load) and that gets them pretty clean.
Add for the box it's self...I simply soak and scrub it in a rubbermaid tote with soap.
Easy peasy.
Just make sure to not get your heating element wet. If you do it'll start blowing your GFIs. If that happens throw it in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes or an hour. Let it cool and you're good to go.

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Funny you bring this up, my GFI is blowing every time I plug in the smoker but I don’t think it got wet, it’s been in a water tight Tuff Shed for years. I thought I may have overloaded the circuit with the Treager and Chest freezer plugged in the the same garage controlled circuit.


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Old 08-13-2019, 08:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

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Another vote for bleach.



If you’re having a problem with your fish sweating a lot and dripping gunk, your smoker is getting too hot and cooking the fish. Use a thermometer so you know for sure what the inside temperature really is and keep it below 120. Takes some practice and ingenuity to get them working right.


Last time I smoked fish it was in the winter and I had a vented plywood box built to put over the top of the smoker to maintain the temp. I’ll have to invest in a thermometer to check the internal temp. Thanks for the heads up.


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Old 08-13-2019, 10:21 AM   #9
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

I spray mine with Greased Lightning. Let it sit a bit and hose out. I haven't tried it on stuff that old but after more recent use it is money. No scrubbing, just spray and rinse. Careful where you do it as all the gunk will run out and stain whatever is beneath it.
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Old 08-17-2019, 11:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

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I use my pressure washer for cleaning the racks.
+1
Works well for me.
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:59 PM   #11
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

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Originally Posted by asully503 View Post
Funny you bring this up, my GFI is blowing every time I plug in the smoker but I don’t think it got wet, it’s been in a water tight Tuff Shed for years. I thought I may have overloaded the circuit with the Treager and Chest freezer plugged in the the same garage controlled circuit.


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GFIs are tripped via the current leakage from hot to ground. As little as .1 amp will cause a trip. Circuit load has nothing to do with a gfi trip. If this just started happening it is likely that your smoker has some poor insulation causing the trip, which would not be unusual with a cheap appliance but it could be as simple as a bad power cord.
Good luck
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:24 PM   #12
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

There once was a time when all the smokers were new. And the fish smoked in them turned out just fine.


Just sayin.
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Old 08-20-2019, 07:07 PM   #13
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Talking Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

Clean your smoker????....NO!!
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Old 08-21-2019, 11:30 AM   #14
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

Clean your racks not the smoker. Racks in soapy water is fine I put fish skin down and they come off fine.
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Old 08-21-2019, 11:43 AM   #15
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

I oil the skin and it leaves nothing on the racks.....except the oil.

Don’t forget to use the drip pan. The smoker its self should never need cleaning.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:07 AM   #16
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I would use my Wagner Heat Gun on a low setting and see if I could burn most of the junk out. Then like others have said, wash it up real good.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:27 AM   #17
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

i typically do not wash my smokers out, just the racks. Always thought the "gunk" added to the end result. having said that I opened up my smokers last weekend and they were full of white mold. I bought some de-greaser and will clean them up this weekend.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:25 PM   #18
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

For the racks my wife puts them in a deep cookie sheet, pours boiling water over them, and sprinkles baking soda on the sticky spots. She then let’s them soak for a long time. They have been coming out nice. If they are moldy bleach is a good idea.


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Old 08-27-2019, 09:33 AM   #19
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

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Originally Posted by chumrunner View Post
i typically do not wash my smokers out, just the racks. Always thought the "gunk" added to the end result. having said that I opened up my smokers last weekend and they were full of white mold. I bought some de-greaser and will clean them up this weekend.


My smoker recipe calls for me to baste my fish with honey, brown sugar, and coarse black pepper (easy on the pepper ) the last couple of hours. TOTAL mess when done and needs some serious cleaning, but great tasting fish !!!!!!!

Last edited by lexie; 08-27-2019 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:07 PM   #20
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

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GFIs are tripped via the current leakage from hot to ground. As little as .1 amp will cause a trip. Circuit load has nothing to do with a gfi trip. If this just started happening it is likely that your smoker has some poor insulation causing the trip, which would not be unusual with a cheap appliance but it could be as simple as a bad power cord.
Good luck
Or a faulty GFCI, but that never happens! (lME Lic.)
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:11 PM   #21
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

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Originally Posted by pinhead2 View Post
GFIs are tripped via the current leakage from hot to ground. As little as .1 amp will cause a trip. Circuit load has nothing to do with a gfi trip. If this just started happening it is likely that your smoker has some poor insulation causing the trip, which would not be unusual with a cheap appliance but it could be as simple as a bad power cord.
Good luck
Freezer on GFCI? asking for trouble!, no warning on power out!
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:17 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by DogZilla15 View Post
I oil the skin and it leaves nothing on the racks.....except the oil.

Don’t forget to use the drip pan. The smoker its self should never need cleaning.



pretty much this. This thread reminds me of threads about how to get egg goo off of the cork on your fishing rod. WHY?



Like Dustin Hoffman said as Bernie Focker. "Well, a lot of the taste comes from this old skillet I've never washed it"
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:23 PM   #23
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Clean your smoker????....NO!!
Wore out at least 4 little chiefs, kept 1 and bought 2 big chiefs and for the past at least 50 years have never had the need to "clean the Smoker"!
Bang the smoke and chip residue out once a year and hand wire brush the racks and "Pam" or olive oil racks once a year and your good to go.
(I smoke "LOTSA" and most goes to Az. friends)
Dave
BTW havn't bought "chips" in almost that long too! Old guy syndrome!
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:26 PM   #24
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pretty much this. This thread reminds me of threads about how to get egg goo off of the cork on your fishing rod. WHY?



Like Dustin Hoffman said as Bernie Focker. "Well, a lot of the taste comes from this old skillet I've never washed it"
LOL, Best of the Best!! Hoffman quote is priceless!! LOLL Dave
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:37 PM   #25
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

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Originally Posted by marys netter View Post
Wore out at least 4 little chiefs, kept 1 and bought 2 big chiefs and for the past at least 50 years have never had the need to "clean the Smoker"!
Bang the smoke and chip residue out once a year and hand wire brush the racks and "Pam" or olive oil racks once a year and your good to go.
(I smoke "LOTSA" and most goes to Az. friends)
Dave
BTW havn't bought "chips" in almost that long too! Old guy syndrome!
I haven't bought chips for years either. I use a combination of vine maple, alder, and cedar that I cut down, dry, debark, and chop. Tastes way better.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinhead2 View Post
GFIs are tripped via the current leakage from hot to ground. As little as .1 amp will cause a trip. Circuit load has nothing to do with a gfi trip. If this just started happening it is likely that your smoker has some poor insulation causing the trip, which would not be unusual with a cheap appliance but it could be as simple as a bad power cord.
Good luck
The resistance from the water in the coil will trip them too. Cooking will dry them out.
Just because they're stored inside doesn't make them immune to water absorption.

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Old 08-29-2019, 05:45 AM   #26
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Default Re: Big Chief Smoker Cleaning

I was just "gifted" an ol big chief and evicted the rodent residents, so it needed cleaning. After the shop vac and some soapy water, I fired up my propane weed burner on low and slowly went over the whole inside. The thick buildup of old sugars and fish oil burned/bubbled up like a marshmallow in a fire and easily brushed off with a wire brush. racks soaked in the sink and through the dishwasher turned out good. The torch sterylized the smoker too,....any smoker stored in a garage or shed is a mouse magnet so I feel it was a great idea. Start to finish, took about an hour. A couple pans of chips run through it will season it well.
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