A couple weeks back there was a thread about cleaning grates. Lots of good methods, many that sounded good enough that I would try. Here's the method that I've always used with good results, and I'm posting to maybe help folks who aren't quite sure how to do it. I've got an SnP that can be used as either a smoker or a grill, so this method may not work for everyone. First off, set up a nice pile of charcoal. I use starter fluid to get it going. No worries on a lighter-fluid residue or taste, there is none left after this. Using the starter will get you going fast. Once you got the charcoal going well, put the grates over top of it so they can get hot and start burning off the leftover rubs and stuff from your last smoke- Once the charcoal is covered in grey ash, the grates are hot, then take half an onion and rub it along the grates to release the onion juices. It'll take a lot of the stuff off to start with. This is a better pic from a different cleaning, but you get the idea. After that, slap down a couple pieces of fatty bacon on the grates, like this With the tongs, run that bacon over the grates, letting it melt and the fat burn off, taking the buildup with it. The bacon grease will burn off the buildup, while the piece itself turns black. No worries, it's cleaning that gunk off. I do this before I grill or smoke, since fiddling around with the smoker is half the fun on a lazy day. (Mrs. Rivet says I just like building fires). Course the smell is great and lets everyone know you are cooking outdoors! If your buildup is really heavy, hit the grates with the wire brush before you do the onion. The next steps will remove any potential wire bits that may be stuck to your grates. This is just one way of doing it~ always worked for me. Hope it helps you all!