Merry Christmas to all on this site and my thanks again for all the great insight and perspective over the past months. One of these days I hope to shed the "newbie" label.
Santa was good enough to bring me a new smoker this Christmas. After much toil and consideration he decided to bring me a vertical/horizontal offset manufactured by JJ's Pits here in Houston.
Santa chose JJ's for 2 primary reasons. First, he thought I would really like the adjustable baffle between the firebox and the horizontal (he was soooo right!!). Second, the price-value point. JJ's seemed to provide was more pit for the bucks (no reindeer pun intended). That value included adjustable baffle, slide out racks (6), tuning plates that can secured via wing nuts, dual locking handles on vertical cooking chamber, drain valve, griddle over the firebox, in-stock showroom (17 different pits to choose from), and immediate delivery into my backyard outdoor pit area (as opposed to a 4 month wait to fabricate and NO delivery from another local fabricator). Custom pit cover $200 (currently being made).
All-in JJ's was 27% less expensive than ANY other equivalent provider since I bought off the showroom floor. Used the pit 4 times already - latest time XMAS Eve/Day with 45 lbs of various meats. The pit is as air tight as I could ever imagine. Even did a cold-smoke of 3 lbs of cheese in 75 degree weather with 98% humidity at 7pm on Xmas Eve. .... held 90 degrees like a champ in those conditions - including light rain. I couldn't believe it.
With that said, we performed the standard seasoning process upon delivery, including a ceremonial cool refreshing adult beverage (or 6), etc. I oiled the inside and outside after, and thus far all seems be perfect. I am blown away by the fuel efficiency vs. my (low budget) offset and the flavor it produces with identical recipes is far, far superior to the old lower budget offset. And, I am very surprised at the small temp differential between the main (horizontal) chamber and vertical - less than 10 degrees for 18 hours of smoke on Xmas Eve and Xmas Day.
So, now that I love her I want to pamper her (my girlfriend is already envious of the attention the "new girl" is getting). I have read dozens of threads and articles on cleaning her up ...... much sage advise received. In the end, I decided to foil the bottom before each smoke, but then clean the tuning plates and racks with my weed burner - heated them up good, scraped with a stainless steel brush, and then sprayed them with Pam cooking oil when completed. Not having to remove racks, soak, scrub, etc., is appealing.
Finally, to my question. Any cause for concern heating those racks and plates up with the weed burner? I can control the general heat it puts out but not the specific heat level so it is a guess as to how hot I am getting them. Potential damage to the racks? Potential damage to the unit itself? Note: 1/4" cast iron all the way around, including firebox. Stainless steel framed slide out racks.
Insight and perspective appreciated. Thank you in advance.
P.S. The adjustable baffle feature between the firebox and horizontal cooking chamber is VERY handy.