How many times have you walked out to your smoker with meat in hand, only to be let down as you lift the lid and see that your cooking grates are covered in a sticky mess from your last cook. At that moment you realize that you closed the door after your last cook and decided to clean it later and right now just became "Later".
In this article we'll share how to prevent this moment and how to protect the quality workmanship of your Yoder Smokers grill so it can continue to serve you and your family for a lifetime. Many of these tips will work whether you have YS480 or a YS640 smoker built-in, or on a standard cart or competition cart, or any other smoker in the Yoder Smokers Family.
Better Grill Care Begins at the End of Every Cook
Whether you are cooking a chicken breast or a pork shoulder, there will always be some cleanup afterward. Some of this cleaning is easier to take care of while the grill is still hot after you have turned it off, and other work will require cooling down first.
Using Heat Retention To Help Clean
Starting cleanup while the grill is still hot only takes a minute or two and keeps grease from damaging the cooker surfaces over time. Sometimes all this takes is a wipe with a wet paper towel.
Heat retention becomes one of the best cleaners available for your grill because once grease cools, it will harden and becomes much harder to clean. Hardened grease can also require the use of other harmful substances to remove which we try to avoid.
Brush Grates While They Are Still Hot
Use your brush to knock off any food left on the cooking area while the grill is still hot. You can also use gloves to flip your upper shelves and cooking grates over to get to any to pieces left underneath.
Pro Tip: If you can't find your brush, you won't clean your grill. It's that simple. Grill tools such as brushes have loops for hanging them so you can keep them close to the grill. If your grill doesn't have hooks, check out ATBBQ for some Magnetic Hooks.
Once The Grill Has Cooled
After your grill has cooled, it is now time to finish cleaning up and set your grill up for your next cook. A little work here goes a long way toward making your next cooking session as enjoyable as possible.
Finish Cleaning and Setting Up
Start by unplugging and storing your cord. Wipe any dust from the control system and the outside of the cooking body. Remove any grease or food that you may have missed while the grill was still warm.
Next, go under your grates and diffuser to pull out your burn grate from inside of the fire box. This is much easier with a two-piece heat diffuser. Dump any ash that's left from your last cook and replace while making sure that you can see the tip of the igniter.
Having a clean igniter tip will help the igniter last longer and will ensure that your grill lights up quickly the next time you need it. If you live in an environment where pellets can be stored in the hopper, you can refill the pellets at this time as well.
The Yoder Smokers Pellet grills are a very versatile cooking system, so if you have your next cook planned out, now is a good time to set up for that as well.
Wrap It Up
Now that the grill has been cleaned and set up for the next cook, it is a good time cover everything to protect it. If your smoker sits outside, we recommend the Yoder Smokers cover. Check out the Yoder Smokers YS480/YS640 Pellet Grill Cover Product Roundup for more information. By cleaning and setting up the grill, we have removed frustration, sped up startup, and protected the grill which should provide even more years of service and enjoyment.
Later we'll discuss performing a deeper clean and more in-depth maintenance items as well as how to perform a minor or full restoration on the smoker. All are important to preserving the quality and cooking enjoyment of your Yoder Smoker.
If you would like more information, you can also check out the video below.