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Smoke is done. Now cleaning up $^%^&*^

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
What parts of your smoker do most of you clean, especially MES smokers, after you smoke? I mean the entire interior gets all gets grungy and all.

Personally, I cleaned the racks a bit and the water pan only. The bottom drip pan was covered with foil and didn't get much goop on it. Is that about the extent to what you clean up as well??

And for those with MES's with windows, have you ever used a blade to just scrape off that gunk? Do you have any other way to clean that stuff off? Do ya' just leave it blackened??

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 28
Clean? I usually don't.

Not very often anyway.

With the glass, get some alcohol and a few drops of Dawn in a spray bottle.
post #3 of 28
Most people don't clean anything other than the racks. As for the window there are several posts here on how to clean them.

Check this one:
post #4 of 28
Yep so far I have been cleaning only the water pan and the rack
post #5 of 28

cleaning MES

I put all my meats in foil pans. Mess stays in the pan and does not effect the meat at all. When done you can throw the foil pans in the dishwasher or just throw them away.
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Great info and I am now going to check out the archive link that Paul posted. Racks and waterpans.....and glass...sounds reasonable! Thanks. You guys smoke the competition!
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
....but are you truly getting a thorough smoke all around the meat? I also did read if you cover a rack completely with foil...or use a huge pan, the air flow will be blocked and could cause problems. Just sayin'
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Another glass cleaning thread...and a guy using the razor blade technique.

post #9 of 28


Yes I clean my racks and rails after each smoke. My water pan is always foiled. I like a clean smoker, but the inside is pure seasoning; never touch that. Wipe the glass window while still warm and it cleans up fine.
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Wait up here....foil in the waterpan? Doesn't the grease and grime get on the other side of the submersed foil anyway? What am I missing here?
post #11 of 28
I was gonna put the racks and water pan in the dishwasher, as someone suggested, but not a big deal to soak in the sink and wash up.

If you spray your racks with PAM first, they seem to clean up a little easier.

To clean our glass doors on the fireplace, we used to dip a damp rag in ashes and the creosote would come off the glass, then finish it up with glass cleaner. I have no idea if this trick would work on MES glass after smoking.


No Creosote! A-Maze-N Smokers

post #12 of 28
Always foil the water pan, best to have to just clean up a little than to have to clean up a alot. icon_confused.gif
Otherwise, just the grates.
post #13 of 28
AFAIK, the simplest way to loosen up grime in an electric smoker would be to fill the water pan, close the vent, and fire it up. Just leave it for an hour or so, however long it takes a noticeable amount of water to evaporate from the pan. That's a trick adapted from cleaning commercial microwaves; you get some nasty burnt crud from 2200w of radiation.

I tend to use the blue "no scratch" Scotch-Brite pads. They won't dig into thick build-up, but they're good for getting fresh stuff off.
post #14 of 28
Yup yup

The biggest thing it helps prevent is nasty blackened crud on the horizontal lips/handles around the top edge of the pan. The water and grease that gets under the foil in the major area of the pan itself basically rinses right off with minimal scrubbing after the foil is removed.

You may also want to encase the pan *entirely* in foil, including the bottom. Mine gets lots of charred (smoke) buildup on the bottom; covering the bottom of the pan helps clean this up too. However, I'm not too worried about staining and whatnot on the bottom of the pan. I clean the bottom with some moderate effort but not to "as new" condition.
post #15 of 28
Oh - there is one other specific thing that I've gone to cleaning on my MES.

Like others, I don't mess with wiping down the interior (seasoning!), but I do give the door seal a wipe down.

Anyway, I'm not sure which nub in the back of the smoker is the heat probe for the thermostat and controller (there's two on mine: One like a little chromed peg in the center of the back wall and one to the left of it, more like a nut of some sort.) I try to clean the grime off of those to increase my confidence in the accuracy of the readings/control.
post #16 of 28
I do the racks, coat the bottom with foil too. I scrape around the drain port where the grease goes out periodically. The ash pan seems to get build up on the edge so i scrape it clean sometimes to make it easier to remove & replace. I wash the outside grease catcher pan in the sink, heard on here it isn't dish-washer safe and can rust. wipe the seal-mine is the non-window model. If I get a lot of meat stuck on the racks I soak in the sink with hot soapy water and a shot of bleach to loosen it up, then a small wire brush. I use vegetable Pam-type spray which does help some. Based on advice on here I foil the whole water pan as it catches a lot of drippings and gets black on the bottom.
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
Great suggestions all! Much appreciated! You guys rock.....I mean SMOKE!

post #18 of 28
With the amount that I smoke I don't clean the inside of the smoker once maybe twice a year. I do however clean off the grates and the water pan after every smoke but that pretty much it and all my grilles smokers all get a good going thur every spring time with changing of the lava rocks and the smoker will get a good going thou.
post #19 of 28
I have been using the 40" MES for almost 20 months, and pretty much do what most here do, I have posted on cleaning before, but here goes...

• Racks, get sprayed with PAM prior to a smoke.
• Water Pan, drip pan, get alum foil, the water pan completely foiled, the drip pan just the inside.
• The ash pan gets dumped, and a quick brush with wire brush.
• The door gasket gets a swab with hot wrung out wash rag, plus the cabinet door frame gets the same.
• Any excessive gunk gets wiped out of the cabinet, the floor of the cabinet gets a clean up with the hot wrung out wash rag. Plus the drain hole gets some hot water dumped through it.
• After smoke, racks are scrubbed in sink with hot water & soap and tough stuff comes off with a Brillo pad. Racks then go into dishwasher.
• Water pan and drip pan are given quick scrub and go into dishwasher. So far no rust on drip pan spot welds (however I do squirt some PAM on paper towel and rub the weld area with the paper towel. I don't spray the whole pan because if its over a month before I use it the PAM will go rancid).
• I now only use enough racks to smoke whatever is getting cooked empty racks stay out of smoker, and are clean and ready for the next smoke.

The reason I foil the whole waterpan, is to prevent the bottom from getting the black char. My wife likes things clean and she is usually paying attention to what I'm doing.
post #20 of 28
Not to hijack a thread but I have tried to foil the whole water pan and for whatever reason I get water build up then in the foil on the bottom of the water pan. When I move the pan the water comes out. How does one keep this from happening?
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