How to Clean and Maintain Your Pit Barrel Smoker Grill

New to Pit Barrel Cooker Co.? Whether you just bought your first barrel smoker or want to learn what it takes to set up, clean, and maintain the best smoker grill in the biz, you’ve come to the right place.

First, know this: It’s easy. You don’t have to be a drum smoker pro to take make mouthwatering smoked meat. You can bake, roast, smoke, and grill to perfection even if it’s you’re very first time wielding a set of tongs. But like any tool, our drum smokers require a little TLC to keep functioning optimally session after session.

So, before you look up smoker recipes and don your favorite apron, check out these tips on how you can give your grill/smoker the love it deserves so it’ll love you (and your taste buds) back.

Setting Up Your Pit Barrel Smoker Grill


The first step to proper grill cleaning and maintenance is to make sure you’re setting your grill up properly in the first place. Luckily, PBCs are ready to go straight out of the box. That’s right — no tedious assembly or complicated seasoning process that’ll prevent you from slapping that slab of bacon or platter of veggie kabobs on the grate ASAP.

Each smoker includes a brand-new drum sealed with a porcelain enamel finish. No residue, no porous spots that could absorb off-flavors and transmit them to your food — just expertly prepared surfaces that are ready to turn your fresh ingredients into delicious dishes.

The only thing you need to think about is where you’re going to put your Pit Barrel. For the safest performance, remember these tips:

  • Pit Barrels work so well because they run hot! Think carefully about placement and put your Pit Barrel on a surface that’s heat resistant, such as paver stones, a concrete patio, or bricks. 
  • If you only have a flammable surface such as a wood deck or dry grass, build a platform out of pavers or bricks to protect both your surface and your Pit Barrel grill.
  • Keep your Pit Barrel away from walls, furniture, and flammable objects like your garage, play structures, wooden railings, etc. 

For more thorough set-up instructions, check out our step-by-step guide.

How to Clean Your Pit Barrel Cooker


Most cooks will agree that cleaning up after a meal is not nearly as fun as creating the mess — that’s why most couples agree that whoever cooks gets to skip the cleanup, right? Right. But Pit Barrel cookers clean up surprisingly easily. 

Start by letting your barrel and the charcoal basket cool down completely. This is a passive step, meaning you don’t have to do anything but wait. Typically, the cool-down phase happens while you’re off digging into a Salami & Pepper Jack Puff Pastry or snacking on some Smoked Cajun Nuts. If you happen to gobble down your food quicker than your smoker cools, just pour yourself a cold cocktail and take a rest in your hammock. You’ve earned it.

Once the components are cool, dump the ash out by inverting the barrel over a trash can. Using the optional Ash Pan accessory will make this process even easier. In a pinch, you can also use tinfoil to line the bottom of your PBC before you put the coal basket in place. Then, after cooking and cooling down, just lift out the sheet of tinfoil, fold the sides in to contain the ashes, and discard. Pit Barrel’s signature porcelain coating is smooth and easy to wipe down — use a soft cloth to wipe out any lingering debris and make a simple soap-and-water solution to tackle any stubborn spots.

As for other Pit Barrel grill accessories like our stainless-steel meat hooks, most can go into the dishwasher, but be sure to check the packaging before loading everything up — a few select pieces might be better suited for a quick hand wash with soap and water.

Maintenance Tips for Your Pit Barrel Cooker


There are two keys to a long-lasting grill or smoker: choose a high-quality model like Pit Barrel Cooker and take the time to maintain it regularly. Your Pit Barrel Cooker is designed to last for years and years. All you need to do to help it along is adhere to a simple checklist that helps prevent damage and preserve your new favorite BBQ cooker so it’s always ready to go.

  • Clean your hanging grill and accessories after each use. We get it. You came, you cooked, you ate, and now it’s time for relaxation and conversation. But really, PBCs only take a few minutes to clean up, and doing so immediately could save you a lot of time down the road. Plus, the longer you leave debris in your cooker, the harder it can be to remove — we’ve all seen what happens when you leave pork fat to harden on the side of a smoker, right? Our sleek porcelain finish does a lot to deter those sticky bits from hanging on, but a quick wipe down will work wonders too.
  • Keep your grill covered when not in use. Shield your PBC from the elements using a Pit Barrel cover. These covers are designed especially for our barrel smokers and ward off wind, rain, and other environmental factors that can lead to rust or erosion.
  • Know when to stop. Cleaning is good. Cleaning too much is not. After several rounds of use, you may notice that your barrel is starting to attract some build up. No, that’s not peeling paint (phew!), it’s a layer of seasoning and it’s perfectly normal! It’s not harmful, so feel free to leave it be unless it’s causing problems.

While those fancy grills with all the bells and whistles may seem exciting, the more gadgets you add to a BBQ smoker, the more difficult it is to keep it clean and well-maintained. If it can break, it will. Pit Barrel Cookers are easy to set up, clean, and maintain, and that’s why they continue to be the best drum smoker available today.

Browse our blog for more pro tips, including the best rubs for smoking, what you can make with the best drum smoker on the market, and why a charcoal grill is the gift every host or hostess needs.