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When I first got my Weber Smokey Mountain, I assembled it and jumped right into smoking on it. I had heard of seasoning cast iron skillets and grills, but never thought to season my new Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM for short). As I got further involved into smoking meat, reading forums and articles, watching YouTube videos, and joining BBQ groups, I noticed one of the most spread around topics was seasoning your smoker. It became common knowledge that you should always season a new smoker, or so I thought. It was not until I did more research into the topic that I discovered this was not the case.
You do not need to season your new Weber Smokey Mountain before using it. Your Weber Smokey Mountain has a porcelain enameled coating on it protecting it from corrosion and rusting making it ready to use from the factory. You will only need to season it if that enamel coating is damaged in any way.
With that being said, seasoning your new Weber Smokey Mountain is incredibly easy and does offer some benefits. It surely wouldn’t hurt to season your smoker before using it; however, if you are itching to get some meat on it, do not worry about seasoning.
What Is Seasoning Your Smoker
According to the USDA, meat is comprised of nearly 75% water. When we cook or smoke this meat, the water is released, and as most of you know, water and metal do not mix well. Over time, as unprotected metal comes in contact with water, it will start to corrode and eventually rust. This is where seasoning comes into play. Seasoning your new smoker involves spraying a layer of oil on the walls of the smoker, the cooking grates, any other metal in the smoker, and running the smoker as hot as it can go for an hour. As the smoker runs at that high temperature, the oil will go through a process known as polymerization, creating a strong protective barrier on the surface of the metal.
Why Season Your Smoker
There are two main reasons that people season their new smoker. The first being is the added protection mentioned above. Seasoning your smoker will prevent corrosion and rusting, thus prolonging its lifespan. Afterall, you spent good money on that smoker so you should want it to last longer. The second main reason people season their smokers, is to remove any post processing material or gunk inside the smoker. This helps to ensure you have a clean interior when you go to smoke your first meat.
Now as I mentioned above, if you read articles, forums, social groups, or watch YouTube videos, you will see so many people telling you to season your new smoker; however, there is a big misconception being thrown around the meat smoking community, that all smokers need seasoned. I am here to tell you not all smokers are the same and not all need to be seasoned. And the smokers that do need to be seasoned, even have different methods to seasoning them. For example, most pellet grills do not need to be seasoned with oil, but they do need to be primed before use.
There are a lot of smokers that already have a protective coating over the metal so when trying to determine how to prepare your smoker for your first cook, it is best to look at the owner’s manual. This is where the manufacturer will detail everything including initial set up and cleaning procedures. There is no one better to listen to than the people who made the product. For your convenience, the Weber Smokey Mountain owner’s manual makes no mention of seasoning or preparing your smoker. Its porcelain enameled coating makes it incredibly durable and offers great protection against corrosion and rusting. This is part of the reason WSM’s last so dang long.
Why You Would Want To Season Your Weber Smokey Mountain.
While seasoning your Weber Smokey Mountain is not necessary, there are some instances where you might want to season it before you throw some meat on there.
- Getting To Know Your Smoker: Charcoal smokers require you to manage a fire. This can be tricky, especially for beginners. Learning how to control your fire and temperatures through moving the vents can take some time. By seasoning you smoker, it allows you a trial run where you can practice fire management, learn to control your smoker’s temperature, and get used to your new smoker. Meat can be expensive so It is helpful to learn how to operate your Weber Smokey Mountain before ruining a good piece of meat.
- First Smoke Runs Hot: A common issue with the Weber Smokey Mountain, is that it can run hot on the first smoke, sometimes up to 50° hotter. This is due to the shiny enameled coating on the smoker. Heat reflects off the shiny surface which can cause your temperature to rise. Seasoning your smoker will create a layer of build up that will dull that shine and absorb the radiating heat. While this is not a huge deal, it can make it a little difficult for beginners to achieve those low temps needed for smoking meat.
- The Enamel Coating Is Damage: The enamel coating on your smoker is the only thing protecting your smoker from corrosion and rust. If it gets scrapped, dented, or damaged in any way, you are exposing bare metal. In these instances, seasoning that spot will reestablish a protective barrier.
How to Season Your Weber Smokey Mountain
Should you decide to season your Weber Smokey Mountain, you can do so following these simple steps:
- Clean the interior surfaces and grates with warm soapy water.
- Using canola oil, spray a layer of oil on the inside of your smoker covering the walls and the cooking grates.
- Add charcoal and Run your WSM as hot as it can go for a couple hours. You can add a few wood chunks of your choice for added flavor.
If you are like most of us, and just a backyard barbecuer, there is really no need to season your Weber Smokey Mountain. The enamel coating is incredibly durable and is more than enough to protect your smoker. I would recommend getting some cheaper pieces of meat such as chicken or pork shoulders and get to smoking right away. The smoker is ready to go so jump on in.