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UGGHHH, big surprise inside my MES...HELP!

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I'm planning on smoking 2 turkey breasts for Thanksgiving. I haven't used my smoker in a while, and took off work early today to check it out. I took the cover off of it, and icon_eek.gificon_eek.gificon_eek.gif...I have "growth" inside!

I usually clean my smoker out after every use, but I remember the last time I used it, I smoked some ribs and it came a tsunami. This was Labor Day weekend. I took my ribs out, covered my MES...and forgot to clean it.

I have pulled the water pan, drip pan, and the box where the chips go, and will clean them up. I have it cranked to 275, as high as it will go, to try to burn the stuff off inside the box itself.

Should I spray it with some oven cleaner? 50/50 mixture of bleach and water? Or do you think it will burn off?

The last thing I want to do is get my family sick, and they are all looking forward to the smoked turkey.

HELP!!! What should I do, and surely I'm not the only moron that has done this. Am I? icon_redface.gif
post #2 of 25
Recent thread on exactly that:

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks, didn't think to look in general discussion section.
post #4 of 25
If you have mold in there you really need to use some bleach to kill the spores - that is nasty stuff - you may have to clean it and run it to temp a couple of times but it is better to be safe than sorry
post #5 of 25
You may want to try clorox bleach then was it with hot soapy water.
post #6 of 25
Travconman has a solution for this.... I don't recall exact mix, but chlorine bleach, unscented mixed with water in a spray bottle. You'll have to apply and wash several times.

I would follow with some serious heat applications and a reseason. Should be able to get it all done tomorrow.
post #7 of 25
I know the feeling! A couple of months ago, I went out to fire up the smoker and was met with last smoke's leftovers - some ribs and chicken COMPLETE WITH MAGGOTS!!! I freaked out because the little suckers started scrambling and I couldn't find my gloves.

Luckily, my neighbor had just trimmed a couple of his trees and had a pile of branches. I stuffed the smoker half-full of the branches and leaves, poured some acetone on it and lit the sucker. I thought the fire dept. was going to be called out! biggrin.gif

I've also left the inlet open and had bees feasting on the sweet baste that was left over in the smoker - NOT GOOD!

275 isn't hot enough for peace of mind in my opinion. If you have an old skillet or metal box of some sort, you should get some red-hot embers and set them in the smoker. I'm not too crazy about using oven cleaner and/or bleach in there either. After the embers burn out, just take a stiff brush to the inside and grills. Soapy water is much more inert on metal than bleach if you want to wash/wipe it off afterwards.

Good luck,

post #8 of 25
I happened to open my Stumps up today and noticed I had some mold starting. What about taking the weed burner to it??
post #9 of 25
Bleach won't get it clean if it is greasy.
Old fashioned oven cleaner works great and it's easy.
Get the one with lye in it, wear gloves, and don't breathe the fumes or get it in your eyes.
Power washers, roaring wood fires, and weed burners would be fine for a UDS, but if you've got a double-wall setup and insulation etc - you don't want to overheat the metal or drive moisture in the seams and joints.
Some insulation will decompose or worse at wood fire and torch temperatures.
post #10 of 25
Although bleach will kill and decolorize mold, it does not remove mold. Good soap and water scrub will do more to remove mold and it's spores. Also bleach will leave a chlorine odor.

Also mold is temperature sensitive so as far as killing it you could also run your smoker at a high temp for a few hours then clean it out with soap and water to remove the dead mold and spores.
post #11 of 25
I had the same problem forgetting to clean after a smoke, I asked my son to get the smoker ready, and I hear him YELLING "DAD" over and over. He's in his 20s and freaked, there was mold in the water tray and some stuff on the racks, a little on the wall. Well the water tray was no problem it was covered in alum foil, same for the drip tray and racks I simply washed em and scrubbed with a brillo pads, then threw em in the dish washer. The inside of the cabinet I washed with hot soap and water with a little ammonia in it, I used plastic broad blade (like a real wide putty knife) to get to anything that was tough. I wasn't worried about cleaning the whole inside cabinet. I then ran as hot as it can get 275 for 3 hours, I used smoke chips too, as I wanted to over come any possible residual chemical favor that might occur.

It isn't fun having to clean up, but it will help prevent future similar lapses.
post #12 of 25
I don't think my smoker get that much of a rest to grow mold. Yea it does and then I just hit it with the torch and then wipe down the scaps off the grates and it smoke on from there.
post #13 of 25
I fired my Stumps up to "burn" it out do to a mold issue and took it straight to 550, backed it down to 500 hundred for a couple of hours. Used a weed burned on every inch of the inside and grates and then scrubbed it down. Gonna throw a couple of butts on today to re-season it.

I used Pam to coat everything initially wonder if this contributed to the mold growth?
post #14 of 25
50/50 bleach is ineffective. Always use a 10 percent solution for maximum effectiveness. And don't have the water over 102 F when you make it.

Spray it on until it runs a little and let is sit til dry. Then mop it out, and burn it up to 145 F or higher for 4 minutes. Then wipe out again and use as you want. You can wipe it out hot and get on with the smoking at hand.
post #15 of 25
Just wondering why a 50% bleach soln. would be less effective than a 10% soln.
post #16 of 25
Mobility of the sodium hypochlorite, Sterilization takes place by oxidization of the offending pathogens, spores, etc. Unscientifically they need room to move around and attack things. Combined at to heavy a concentration and they like to stick to each other and not attack cellular membranes and spore casings.

One of the most common errors in sanitation even in the commercial environment is to use a concentration to high to work. Second is to use water to hot to allow it to work. Above 130 F the solution is rendered useless.

I also use a lot of peroxide. Which is an oxygen oxidizer. Works on glass, and much nicer in home brewing and distilling.
post #17 of 25
Interesting. Thanks for the explanation.

From a little online research other chemicals besides bleach would be a better alternative to killing mold than bleach. Borax is ideal
post #18 of 25
ummm don't they use that to kill rats and rodents?
post #19 of 25
Borax or sodium borate is used as a laundry degergent, hand soap, insecticide, food additive (not in the US) and has many other uses and is not acutely toxic but don't go drinking the stuff.

Per wiki
post #20 of 25
A borax agent must be rated D-2 or higher for food surfaces to be able to be used under the US Food Code.
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