How to get rid of Creosote in Smoker? April(2024) Easy Ways.

An Image showing steps on How to remove creosotes from smoker
Image of Creosote Removal Steps.

I have explained here step by step on How to get rid of Creosote in Smoker.

Also I have added few common queries such as-

  • Reason for Creosote in smokers
  • What harm can Creosotes do
  • What if I don’t have the equipment and more on.

Knowing these will certainly help when you are dealing with creosote next time…;

Recommended Reading:

-My Guide on Cleaning the Masterbuilt Gravity 560, 800,1050

How Do I Clean a Vertical Smoker?

My Tips for Cleaning the Pit Boss Pro Series

-Steps to Clean a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker

-Cleaning the Pit Boss Vertical Smoker: Simple Method

How to get rid of Creosote in Smoker

What is Creosote ? 

Have you experienced the leftover oily black stuff  after cooking?  These dead oils are called Creosote. 

Let’s have a more technical definition..

Creosote is a category of carbonaceous chemicals formed by the distillation of various tars and pyrolysis of plant-derived material, such as wood or fossil fuel [source].

Images shwoing Creosote
Image showing Creosote.

Recommended Reading : Full list of different smoker types modifications..
Learn how to clean electric smoker.
Cleaning a Pit Boss vertical smoker.
Cleaning a Gravity series smoker.

Reason for Creosote in smokers?/Why does creosote form?

There are various reasons for which creosotes can occur. Knowing these can help you to avoid them in the future…

They are : 

#1) Insufficient Fuel :

This is very common among beginners.

You are preparing for a big meal and if you don’t care for the fuel then you are welcoming creosote to your smoker. 

Irrespective of any fuel used eg: wood, charcoal, pellet etc. 

# 2) Incomplete burn of fuel :

You inserted the pellets into your smoker..

And after some hours of cooking, you realize that the pellets have stopped burning. 

I have experienced this multiple times. Just be sure to fuel up properly.

# 3) Insufficient Air flow: 

What I have found is that many people still don’t understand this issue.

You need to provide sufficient air flow to your smoker. 

Yes, we all know that oxygen is required for burning. But still we make mistakes. 

It’s simple the fuels get to burn properly with proper air supply.

Fuel completely burns and hence less creosote..

What harm can Cresotes  do? 

Some of the harms you can’t really ignore. Please get rid of cresotes as soon as possible. 

I never faced any issue with it as I clean it regularly. 

However, one of my friends, John, had a nice experience burning the chamber up.

He cant use it any more.

Here are the issues you might experience with cresotes..

#1) Problem of Chamber getting burned 

This might also make the smoker unusable. So you should keep an eye.

There are many cases of chimney fires too.. 

#2) Thick black layer damage to food 

Not only can it destroy the food. You will find your food not coming upto your expectations.

More than that I would never take a chance on the effects it can cause to my health .   

What equipment is needed to get rid of Creosote  in a smoker? 

To remove Creosote can be hard sometimes. It also depends on the time creosotes have accumulated. 

People have come up with multiple ways to clean the creosote.

But here are the tools that I use.

  1. Torch , also known as Propane Torch 
Multi Purpose Mapp & Propane Torch
Multi Purpose Mapp & Propane Torch.

We need to heat up or burn the creosote first. Propane torch can help in this case. 
It is very effective to burn up the creosotes.

And most of the cases I prefer using Propane weed burner torch which completely burns it into ash.

  1. Brush 

Using Chimney brush is one of the best ways to clean creosotes.

However It also depends on the degree of hardness. Usually it works best for first degree creasotes.

If it is too hard then you might want to try other methods like the propane torch which I already mentioned.

Also there are some flat wire brushes that are effective.
However I won’t recommend wire brushes as they tends to leave tiny wire pieces.
Study suggests that wire brush bristles can easily displace and subsequently lodge in the upper aerodigestive tract.

  1. Creosote Remover
Creosote Remover
Creosote Remover.

It is a special product designed to clean the creosote..

So How does Creosote Remover Work?
In simple words, Creosote remover are special chemicals that turns creosotes from tar like substance and converts it into ash.

It is pretty strong and effective in most cases.

Converted ashes almost looks like a thin paper.
These ashes can be easily cleaned out later.

  1. Vegetable Oil.

After removing the creosotes. It is good to re-season it.
You may use vegetable oil for the re-seasoning.

However be careful not to over use it.

It can really spoil your food. I have had bad experiences doing so.

Quick Guide : How to get rid of Creosote in Smoker? 

An Image showing steps on How to remove creosotes from smoker
Image of Creosote Removal Steps.

Step by Step : The Torch Method

You can follow these steps to get rid of Creosote 

Step 1 : Burn or Heat the Creosote. 

Burn the Creosote present areas with the propane torch . You need to heat it till it forms a bubble or crystallizes.

Step 2 : Rubbing the Creosote

After it crystallizes, you need to rub the areas with the help of a hard brush.

This should lead to the Creosote to fall off.

Since the Creosote pieces fall off and gather. You need to clear this before proceeding to the next step.

You can use any soft brush for clearing.

Step 3: Apply Remover 

After rubbing  the walls of the chamber you can now apply the Creosote Remover by spraying it in the rubbed areas.

Step  4: Wiping

After applying the remover we need to wipe the walls with any clean cloth or a towel.

Step 5 : Seasoning

After the wiping seasoning is required to ensure its protection. This also helps to reduce the smell from applying the remover. 

Step 6 : Final Step  

The final step is to let the smoker burn empty for 2 to 3 hours. This is done to normalize and make it ready food for the next cook. 

What if I don’t have the equipment ? 

In case you don’t have the equipment you can try this. Although this may not be as effective as previous steps..

It is also known as.

Warm water therapy 

#Step 1 : Boil water 

Get ready with really warm water. It is better to take a boiled water..
Because heat is the key here.
You can also try adding some lemon or some salts. Just a add on(Optional).

#Step 2 : Wet the Creosote area :

Pour the warm water into the creosote areas to soak it.

This will loosen the creosote. 
Keep for sometime.

Till you feel that the creasotes have loosen up abit and is ready to be cleaned.

#Step 3 : Wiping

Wipe the areas with any  cloth.
If possible don’t take slip cloths. Look for cloths that can provide better friction.

It will help somehow..

#Step 4 : Burn Up 

Burn up empty for about an hour or two.
This is really important as it can prepare your smoker well for the next cook.

More importantly avoid using any kind of materials that can be a health hazards.
If it still doesn’t work for you.

Then the only option can be to try out the propane torch methods which I already mentioned.

Once all cleaning is done, You are ready for your next cook..


# How do you avoid creosote when smoking meat? 

Four ways to avoid creosote :

  • Provide sufficient heat flow during smoking
  • Proper airflow for the fuel is a must
  • Cleaning the smoker at intervals. 
  • Try smoking meat with blue smoke to avoid creosote.

# How do you clean creosote from a pellet grill?

The steps to follow are : 
1) Heat up the chamber with Propane Torch until.
2) Crystals occur.
3) Brush the creosote crystals from step 1.
4) Apply Creosote remover.
5) Wipe the creosote applied areas with a cloth. 
6) Season with a vegetable oil.
7) Burn up empty for an hour or two.

# How to clean creosote from electric smoker?

Heating up your smoker is the most effective way of removing creosote.

Any residue, such as creosote and mold, can be removed by heating an empty smoker, making it as clean as new.

After the smoker cools down, you can clean it thoroughly with vinegar. Also you can use Creosote remover.

# How to avoid creosote when smoking meat?

One of the causes of creosote accumulation is a filthy and rusted smoker. So begin with a clean smoker.
You should build a thin blue smoke. As a result, the thin blue smoke will keep you safe from creosote.

Build a Fire with a Small Amount of Wood. You will obtain white and heavy smoke if you use too much wood. So this is another method to avoid creosote when smoking meat.

Selecting the Correct Wood. It means choose wood that gives good flavor and gives thin blue smoke.
As a reference, use this “Meat Smoking Food Magnet Sheet with Wood Temperature Chart and Flavor Profile.”

A good smoke requires adequate ventilation. So, control the smoker’s air flow and thus the presence of creosote smell will not dominate the  meat..

Adjust the vents on your smoker, keep the exhaust open, and adjust the intake vents to achieve a good amount of smoke.

Therefore select the right charcoal smoker which allows you to control airflow and temperature.
To keep track of the temperature, you can use a meat thermometer.

# Conclusion

Finally, creosote accumulation in a smoker can degrade the flavor and texture of your smoked food.

You can ensure a clean and effective smoking experience by following to the suggested creosote removal procedures, such as routine cleaning, using the appropriate fuel, and keeping optimal airflow.

Get rid of creosote and enjoy mouthwatering, flavorful smoked food each time you light up your smoker.