Cleaning the WSM properly

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by graphicsman, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. I realized I made a huge mistake..  Some bad communication between the family and I that when I went to check on my WSM 22" the crates are dirty and the water pan is filled from the last smoke.  Its been several (4 months) since my last smoke I am fumed at myself for it.  The smoker has been covered up though but I am wondering how can I properly clean the smoker grates and water pan after making this mistake?  Would it be better to replace the parts?  What is a way I can clean it without destroying the smoker?  What should I use to scrub the sides?  [​IMG]
  2. hotnspicy

    hotnspicy Meat Mopper

    Haha I have done that a few times but with a crappy smoker.  Why not just throw your grates on your regular grill & turn up the flame for a few then brush off?  Should kill anything.  If you had water from last smoke that shouldn't be too hard to clean outta the pan with soap & hot water.  As far as the inside I doubt you need to clean it & your next pre-heat should take care of anything living.
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Simple green is a great cleaner, handles grease, but is non-toxic. A little scrubbing followed by high heat works well - after you clean it, fire it up with no water in the pan and leave all the vents open to kick the temps up. Let it burn for an hour or two.
  4. Get some MatchLight, fill the charcoal pan and put a match to it. Leave all the vents open and let it burns for a couple few hours. Take a wore brush to the grates and reseason it.

    And we've all been there.
  5. hotnspicy

    hotnspicy Meat Mopper

    Are you serious?

    Just light a fire in the charcoal ring and place the grill on the fire.

    If you have mold in the interior Chris at TVWBBrecommends you may want to "burn out" your cooker.

    "Clean out any debris inside the cooker. Light at least 2 chimneys of charcoal and pour them into the charcoal chamber, spreading them evenly over the charcoal grate. Assemble the cooker and open all the vents top and bottom. Let the cooker run as hot as possible until the fire goes out and the ashes are cold.

    Brush down the interior surfaces with a stiff bristle brush and discard the ashes. Any remaining "stuff" can be cleaned out with hot, soapy water (or a very mild bleach solution), a stiff bristle brush and some good old-fashioned elbow grease. Rinse, let dry thoroughly, and you should be good to go."
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Personally I haven't used lighter fluid or anything containing lighter fluid for over 20 years! Leaves a nasty flavor [​IMG]

    Bama has you covered, just burn it, scrub it, and some soapy water (I use diluted Simple Green - it's non-toxic and works well). Rinse it good let it dry and your off and running!
  8. jerseydrew

    jerseydrew Smoking Fanatic

    I did that once and had mold built up inside. I took both grates and water pan inside and put them in utility sink, sprayed them down with ez off. Then went outside and with wadded up foil rubbed down all interior of smoker and got all the gunk out. Hosed everything off and immediately started a fire. Left all vents open and let burn till got over 250 and let it go for two hours. While wsm was burning went back and cleaned the grates and water pan with dish soap and steel wool. The grates and pan looked brand new when I was done.

    No issues at all.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  9. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Why not? Match light is cheap and easy. You're not cooking anything , you're burning the crud off your grates. If you let the fire get nice and hot before you put the smoker together , the accelerant is all gone already. Anyone who has watched Myron mixon pour a gallon of lighter fluid on the wood in his smoker before he wins a comp should have no problem burning a little match light for maintenance reasons.
  10. hotnspicy

    hotnspicy Meat Mopper

    Hambone is clearly not trying to help.  Not even funny either.
  11. hambone1950

    hambone1950 Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Are YOU serious?
  12. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I personally find that the lighter fluid does leave a flavor residue behind - so I prefer not to introduce it to my smoker in any way shape or form. I went to a local BBQ stand a while back and the owner used lighter fluid to light his smoker, all the meat had a slight lighter fluid flavor. So I choose not to risk it personally - especially since I can light a chimney of charcoal with just some paper and a match.
  13. i used to be a catering equipment engineer and when we needed to clean up 2nd hand stuff we used to soak the parts we needed to clean in hot caustic soda solution, it will eat off all carbon and grease build ups with no effort on chrome and stainless steel and they will look like new, but i am not sure what it will do to painted surfaces but we used to put in enamelled parts without problems just use a container large enough to immerse the parts and be careful and use rubber gloves as it will remove all the oils from your skin and crack up your hands
  14. hotnspicy

    hotnspicy Meat Mopper

    I tasted all of the entries for the competition that I won this weekend.  One of them had a petroleum taste that caused me & others to discard that meat.  I asked the guy who made it & yes he used lighter fluid.  I am not trying to be some BQ snob but I have a very good pallet & all of the food I eat is unprocessed & made from scratch.  I can taste lighter fluid that was used on a grill for a previous cook out.  If you want to listen to people who suggest burning off your smoker with some match light just use diesel fuel instead cause it costs a lot less.  Also don't listen to any of the advice other non-matchlight people gave.  If you do your BBQ won't taste like 10w 40. 
  15. I have no intentions on ever introducing lighter fluid in my smoker.   I think I will use simple green, buy a large storage bin, fill it with water and simple green, let it sit, scrub after it has sat for awhile and then fire up the smoker and open all the ports to get rid of anything inside of it.  
  16. I followed the advice of throwing the grills into the BBQ for cleaning.  Afterward, in the following week, they rusted up so bad as to be non usable forevermore.   so If you own a Masterbuilt product do not use the BBQ to clean your grills, use soap and water or a dishwasher.  Thank God, my smoker was still under warranty, Masterbuilt, after phoning them, sent me new racks.

    [​IMG]       [​IMG]        [​IMG]
  17. hotnspicy

    hotnspicy Meat Mopper

    Good to know.  I have been tossing my crappy $39 dollar Brinkman smoker grates on my iQue to burn off & brush & never had a problem with rust.  I didn't leave em on for 30 minutes though.  I guess sometimes I use good judgement.
  18. Hambone,

    Did anyone answer the question about the grand poo-bah of BBQ using lighter fluid? 

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