Originally Posted by KathrynN
If they are cast iron the grease will help keep them seasoned and don't let them start rusting. IF they are like the ones in the oven....I always soak mine and clean with an SOS pad to get the "meat boogers" off. Don't want to cook with my "last smoke" and get someone sick with the bacterias and junk that can grow on moist things. Especially in the Summer months. The "jibbles" of left over meats also can attract flies....and they leave wiggly little white things....don't ask how I know that. Super Yuck!
Cast Iron Grates = Really Hot Water and a Brush...Period. If you want, remove food residue but the grease that is there is the seasoning that keeps them from rusting.
Kat...There are no Safety reasons to clean your Grates...Since every time you get ready to smoke another whatever, you Pre-heat your smoker. At smoking temp, " All " the Bacteria, Molds, Yeasts, Flying, Crawling and Wiggling Critters that have feasted all week can be covered by this statement...They're not only merely dead, they're really most sincerely dead!...JJ