Clean out your BBQ Smoker Fire Box for a Long Lasting Smoker

November 24, 2013


Shout out to “Gizmo” for this awesome little thread!
I thought it deserved a blog post :)

Some thoughts on clean out ….

Unread postby Gizmo » November 17th, 2013, 9:21 am

The one thing we all keep hearing is that “The bottom rusted out of the old cooker/grill/etc so I had to scrap it”. As one who haunts scrap-iron piles in search of “jewels” to weld into something – I’ve seen this in the bottom of nearly every salvaged unit I’ve come across. :(

Ash is hygroscopic (def below). It attracts moisture from the air and holds it up against the metal which promotes rust. End of FB or grill floor. Maybe everyone knows this but when you see an old piece of bbq equipment it becomes painfully apparent how important this is.

I recommend that anyone that’s built a fire in a steel box clean it out as soon as possible when you’re done – for most of us that usually means the next night after it’s cold. Personally I scoop mine out into the ash bucket that’s metal and has a tight lid. A few days later it can safely be dumped into the big trash dumpster with the household trash – without melting the rolling dumpster. Or sprinkle it over your garden – I’ve heard it might be good for the soil. If you have a full size ash pan that covers the FB floor then just dumping it out when you choke off the cooker may be all it takes. But brush out any leftover ash from the FB floor too. A flat FB floor that is smooth over the door frame is invaluable to make this easy. The more ash you can remove the longer the life of the FB. Your great grandkids will thank you.


When I design a cooker I figure an ash pan as a sacrificial item – should be easy to re-fabricate/replace in a few years.

In all my years of outdoor cooking I haven’t seen any degradation in the FB floors by doing this. I donated my last 30-year-old Weber to the scout troop …. :D

Def.: Hygroscopy is the ability of a substance to attract and hold water molecules from the surrounding environment. This is achieved through either absorption or adsorption with the absorbing or adsorbing material becoming physically “changed” somewhat, by an increase in volume, stickiness, or other physical characteristic of the material, as water molecules become “suspended” between the material’s molecules in the process.

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Frank Cox

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