How To Get Rid Of Creosote In A Smoker?


When using a smoker, one thing that I have noticed over time is that the inside of my smoker tends to get coated with a black, tarry substance called creosote. This substance not only looks unappealing, but it can also affect the flavor of my food and even be a fire hazard.

If you are experiencing the same issue with your electric smoker, don’t worry, there are ways to get rid of it. In this article, I will share some tips and tricks to remove creosote from a smoker.

What is Creosote and Why is it a Problem?

Creosote is a byproduct of burning wood or charcoal. It is a tar-like substance that can build up inside your smoker, particularly in the smoke box or chimney. Over time, this build-up can become quite thick and difficult to remove.

Not only does creosote affect the flavor of your food, but it can also be a fire hazard.

How to Prevent Creosote Build-up?

The best way to deal with creosote is to prevent it from building up in the first place. Here are a few tips on how to do that:

  • Use dry wood or charcoal: Moisture in the wood or charcoal can lead to more creosote build-up. Make sure to use dry wood or charcoal to minimize this issue.
  • Keep the smoker clean: Regularly cleaning the inside of your smoker will help prevent creosote build-up. This includes wiping down the walls, cleaning the smoke box, and removing any ash or debris.
  • Use a water pan: Adding a water pan to your smoker can help keep the temperature inside more consistent and prevent creosote build-up.

How to Remove Creosote from an Electric Smoker?

If you have already noticed some creosote build-up in your smoker, don’t worry. There are several ways to remove it.

Method 1: Scraping

One of the simplest ways to remove creosote is to scrape it off. You can use a stiff-bristled brush or a scraper designed explicitly for cleaning smokers. Be sure to wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.

Scrape as much of the creosote off as possible, and then wipe down the inside of the smoker with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.

Method 2: Boiling

Another way to remove creosote is to boil it off. This method works well for removing creosote from the smoke box or chimney. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Carefully place the smoke box or chimney in the pot and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

Use a scraper to remove any remaining creosote, and then wipe down the inside of the smoker with a damp cloth.

Method 3: Using a Creosote Remover

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of scraping or boiling, you can use a creosote remover specifically designed for smokers. These products are available at most hardware or outdoor stores.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use, and be sure to wear gloves.


Creosote build-up in an electric smoker can be a nuisance and even a potential hazard, but it doesn’t have to be. Following the tips and tricks discussed in this article, you can prevent creosote build-up, remove it if it occurs, and keep your electric smoker in top condition.

Remember to use dry wood or charcoal, clean your smoker, use a water pan and do regular cleaning at least once a month. Additionally, if creosote does build up, you have several options for removing it, such as scraping, boiling, or using a creosote remover.

With regular maintenance and cleaning, you can ensure that your electric smoker will be safe to use and your food will have the best flavor. Happy smoking!

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my electric smoker to prevent creosote build-up?

It’s a good idea to give your electric smoker a thorough cleaning at least once a month or more often if you use it frequently. Additionally, ensure to wipe down the walls and clean out the ash or debris after each use.

Can I use a wire brush to scrape off creosote?

A wire brush can be effective for scraping off creosote, but be careful not to scratch the walls of your smoker. It’s best to use a stiff-bristled brush or a scraper designed to clean smokers.

Can I use a chemical cleaner to remove creosote?

While some chemical cleaners can effectively remove creosote, it’s best to use products specifically designed for smokers. These products are often made with natural ingredients and are safe to use inside your smoker.

Is it safe to eat food that has been cooked in a smoker with creosote build-up?

No, it is not safe to eat food cooked in a smoker with creosote build-up. The creosote can affect the flavor of the food and may even be harmful to ingest. Removing all creosote buildup before using your smoker to cook food is important.

Can creosote build-up be a fire hazard?

Yes, creosote build-up can be a fire hazard. It’s important to remove all creosote build-up and keep your smoker clean to prevent fire risk.

Bobby Johnson

When he's not writing about barbecue, you can find Bobby smoking meat for friends and family. He's been a backyard pitmaster for roughly half his life, and has worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands-on guide to teach them BBQ, but that's what Bobby hopes to do with Electric Smoker HQ. He wants to help people create amazing food that they can be proud of.