How to season and light your smoker

Charcoal stacked high on the chimney starter

Here i'll talk you through using your new smoker and give you a rundown using a cook to provide an example...

First, these are items we recommend when using a smoker :-

The first step in using your new smoker is to season it and set the paint...

( WHY?! )

We do not recommend cooking food to eat on the first use!! We are burning off any manufacturing oils and baking the paint on which can release fumes!!


Remove the internals and using a clean cloth or kitchen towel wipe all of the internal surfaces with a light coating of oil, canola oil is usually recommended as it has a high burning temp but i usually just use a light spray of sunflower oil i've pinched out of the kitchen cupboard!

Replace the internal parts and complete a burn, slowly raise the temp over a couple of hours before closing both vents down and allowing it to cool, this will create a black coating over time like Nans old cast iron pan while setting the paint correctly and preventing it from rusting easily...

Re-season regularly and after every clean and the BeardSmoke Mini-Un Steel Kamado should last a lifetime!

(As you can see from my smoker in the pics it is seasoned well, this is the original BeardSmoke Mini-Un and the first one i built at the beginning of 2020. It's my ultimate test weapon and i will be testing it to destruction so you can see it run its life in real-time!!

I have never cleaned it ( ALWAYS CLEAN YOURS!! ) every grease splatter, mark or scuff is a memory and tells a story of a different campsite or cook. I have cooked with it in rain and snow but i always store it away in a dry place after it has cooled down...)

Although it is quite ok to cook in all weathers these smokers are made out of mild steel and will rust if left out in the elements, especially if un-seasoned and before you bake on the paint!

  • Always clean your smoker regularly and re-season!!

Use soapy water and a soft cloth to clean, immediately dry then wipe all internal surfaces with a light coating of cooking oil.

The Stainless Steel grill is safe to scrub and put in the dishwasher

The Stainless Steel diffuser plate in the BeardSmoke Deluxe smoker is safe to scrub and put in the dishwasher

The Mild Steel diffuser plate in the BeardSmoke Original smoker is not dishwasher safe, treat as cast iron, you can clean in soapy water but immediately dry and re-season to prevent rust

    The seasoning in the smoker is animal grease, it will go rancid if left for too long in between cooks. After the smoker has cooled store in a dry place with the vents open to allow airflow.

    If it goes mouldy you can run a hot burn with both vents open to burn off any nasties, after cooling clean with hot soapy water then immediately dry and re-season!!



    Filling the smoker with charcoal

    Next fill your chimney starter ( MY WHAT?! ) around 2/3 full of the same and place on a fireproof surface ( the grill works fine )

    • Put 2-3 eco firelighters ( ECO WHAT?! ) underneath the chimney starter and light them...

    Lighting a chimney starter of charcoalAfter 10 - 15 minutes the coals should be turning white and ready to use!

    Charcoal lit in the chimney starter is white and ready to use

    • Now pour the lit coals carefully onto the unlit ones in the bottom of the smoker... Always use heatproof gloves!!

    Spread the lit coals evenly in the bottom of the smoker

    Spread the coals evenly and make sure the vent isn't blocked...

    • Place the diffuser plate onto its mounts

    Diffuser plate fitted in the bottom of the smoker

    • Put the grill in place

    Put the grill in place

    • Close the lid and open top vent/exhaust fully

    Close lid and open top vent/exhaust fully

    • Open bottom vent very slightly

    open bottom vent very slightly

    • Wait around 20 minutes, smoker temperature should be around 110c/ 225f for low n slow cooking

    Smoker temp should be around 110c/ 225f for low n slow cooking

    If the temp is too high for your cook then close the bottom vent more, too low then simply open it up a little more. Allow 5 - 10 mins after each adjustment for temp to settle and bare in mind the temp will drop slightly when you add the meat...


    For your first cook i recommend using shoulder, its a cut that's very hard to ruin and perfect for a practice as the longer you leave it cooking once wrapped the softer it should be...

    Lamb Tikka Shoulder

    Lamb tikka shoulder cooked on the BeardSmoke Mini-Un

    This example is a simple lamb shoulder coated in tikka paste, we used a 1.5kg piece of lamb shoulder. Ask your butcher to remove the skin, the bone is optional as there's an argument that it can affect the cook times and flavour but be aware you pay for the extra weight, for now we're using boned...


    Lamb tikka shoulder cooked on the BeardSmoke Mini-Un

    We marinaded this overnight in a zip-lock bag with a simple jarred Tikka paste.

    Simply drop onto the grill, we didn't use any wood chippings, you can experiment with adding different woods later when you're confident and familiar with cooking on this smoker...


    1 hour in

    • After about 1 hour turn the shoulder over to prevent the paste burning...

    The aim is to get a nice colour all over the outside of the lamb...


    Around 2 hours in theres a nice colour allover..

    2 hours into lamb cook

    And the internal temp is measuring around 75c using the Thermapen classic instant read thermometer...

    •  Time to wrap

    Wrap tightly in foil and put back on the smoker, this is when the meat softens...

    Foil wrapped lamb


    We left the lamb on for around another 4.5 hours, the internal temp was around 103c and the probe went through the meat like butter...

    lamb temp 103c

    • Time to rest now 

    Wrap in a Tea - Towel and leave to rest for around half an hour while you prepare the sides

    rested lamb

    • Shred and serve

    Shred the lamb using a couple of forks or some Bear Claws...

    Shredded lamb

    We served them with lettuce, onion and mint yogurt on shop bought wraps...

    ready to serve

    Simple but tasty, good food doesn't have to be fancy!...

    lamb wraps


    I left the smoker running empty to test how long it would run the temp rose slightly after removing the meat, i left the vents as they were...

    BeardSmoke temp gauge


    The food and wine had done its trick and i was falling asleep in my chair!! The temp had started to drop slightly but it was still holding steady. I closed both vents and went to bed!...

    closing the smoker down

    The Day After -

    This was what was left in the bottom of the smoker the morning after...

    remaining charcoal in the smoker

    When i pulled this out there was around half a chimney of unused charcoal  leftover to use on the next cook!!

    unused charcoal

    All in all the smoker ran for around 10 hours and only used approximately 1.5 chimneys of lumpwood charcoal..

    Not bad for a mini camping smoker!

    Hope this post helps you, please feel free to give us feedback on our Facebook Group!

    The BeardSmoke Mini-Un, Steel Kamado, portable camping smoker....


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