How to Fight Mold in Your Smoker or Grill

It's pretty shocking when you rip off the cover of your cooker in spring to discover the interior is covered in white fuzz. Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) owners are especially vulnerable to this jolt.

 

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That's because mold loves moisture and grease. To prevent it, when you are done with a cook, superheat your cooker. Add fresh coal if necessary, and burn off all that food residue. Scrape grease off the interior with a plastic putty knife regularly, especially if you don't plan to use the cooker for a while. Store your cooker with the vents open and in a dry place so moist air is not trapped inside. On the WSM, remove the side door.

One of the major causes of mold is your cover! It traps moisture that causes mold and rust. If your grill or smoker is tight and well painted or stainless steel, don't use a cover! If you have a cheap unit with spraypaint, or a unit that leaks like the lid on the Weber Smokey Mountain, then you must use a cover. Otherwise, leave your cooker nekkid. I will not fall apart.

If you do get mold, and you have a ceramic cooker, do not use chlorine or solvents, do not powerwash, and do not use a metal scraper or a wire brush on the ceramic parts. Heat is your only tool. If you have a grill or smoker made of metal and you have a mold infestation, here's what to do:

1) Discard any charcoal, lava rocks, ceramic briquets, or other porous materials.

2) Fire it up as hot as possible to burn off all grease and kill the mold. Use a double load of charcoal. If you try to scrape off the mold or powerwash first, you might inhale a lot of spores and have an allergic reaction, and you will still have a lot of mold on the floor.

3) Let the cooker cool down and then scrape and scrub everything in sight with a wire brush or a pressure washer. Remove parts and scrape or pressure wash them. The only desirable grease is elbow grease.

4) Wash everything down with soapy water. Then rinse thoroughly.

5) Finally, fire it up one last time to burn off any residual mold, grease, and soap. You're now ready to cook. Click here to learn more about setting up your Weber Smokey Mountain, setting up your charcoal grill, and setting up your gas grill.

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Meathead Goldwyn

Meathead is the founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.

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