Tips for MES Owners

Discussion in 'Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) Owners' started by rabbithutch, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've found that the simplest and easiest way to clean racks and water pan - anything removable - is with oven cleaner.  It works a treat.  I wipe things down and get rid of the easy crud then spray down racks and pans - OUTSIDE - and let 'em sit for several hours.  They wash up with almost no effort.  Let me hasten to add that I DO NOT use oven cleaner in the smoker (at least, I haven't yet).  The only thing I've done is to wash the door glass inside.  I've found that Dawn and warm water will get that done weeks after the last use.

    I found that the casters on the unit as delivered weren't very user friendly.  I bought a cheap Harbor Freight furniture dolly and use that instead of the casters.  It works much better and cost about $20.  The dolly's wheels don't have brakes but I find I don't need them.  The weight of the smoker keeps everything wherever I put it.  The dolly makes it very easy to roll it around the patio and place it where I want it.

    Hope someone finds this useful. 

    If you've got tips of your own, please add them to this thread or start one of your own.

    sloat and bgolden49 like this.
  2. werdwolf

    werdwolf Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I just pull my racks out while the food is resting and into the dishwasher they go.  the drip pan usually gets foil unless I'm trying to use it for making a side.  I remove the foil and since some grease always gets through some how (I would love an explanation for this), I throw it in the dishwasher also.  Thinks usually clean up with occasional touch up on my part.
  3. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Howdy, ww!

    I found that the smoker would bake on a film of ?? (soot?) that the dw wouldn't remove.  I'm not normally a neat freak, but the ball and chain suggested given oven cleaner a shot to clean up some pans I'd used to catch grease - pans that also got greased and burnt on even though they were wrapped in hd Reynolds.  I used the cleaner after about the 4th smoke thinking that the metal would never release the stains.  I was wrong.  Now I use oc to clean up. 
  4. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    I like the dolly idea since my new MES 30 will be traveling between my backyard and my detached garage where I'll be storing it between uses. I'm in Washington state and we're still very much in the rainy season. But I wonder if a hand truck might be better suited for that? The smoker would probably fall off a furniture dolly since I have some inclines to negotiate.

    As for cleaning the interior of the smoker, rabbithutch and werdwolf, I don't have a glass door to clean.  Should I use dishwashing liquid and water on the walls and inside of the door after every use? Do you leave the door open for the interior to air dry?

    Which cleans the racks better, oven cleaner or the dishwasher method? If using the dishwasher, high temp scrub or pots & pans cycle?

    Should I clean the smoker the next day every time I use it?  The manual states mold and mildew can grow if the unit isn't cleaned after every use.

    Thanks, guys.
  5. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I bought a cheap handtruck and a package of 8 mini bungee cords. It works perfectly for transporting my MES 30 around. Haven't cleaned out the smokehouse yet after my first smoking job--will do it tomorrow.
  6. I clean my MES 40 with a solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP) you can get it at the hardware store.

    You may want to wear gloves because it "de-fats".

    But, it works really well.
  7. smoke king

    smoke king Smoke Blower

    I like the dishwasher method too.  I have also let them soak in soapy water in the sink and then used a soft scrub brush on them.  That usually does the trick.
  8. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    There seems to be a difference of opinion in cleaning the interior. Some guys prefer to leave the inside walls as is because they believe it seasons the smoker. They only clean the racks and the metal stuff.

    Am I right in understanding that both of you clean the whole interior?

    There's dried drip spot on the top of the box that holds the wood chip tray. I tried using a scrub sponge but the spot is now baked on. It's like trying to clean the baked-on spots on a stainless steel skillet that's been on a gas burner--it can't be done. What would you suggest I use to clean it? TSP?
  9.  I spray my racks with Oven Cleaner then into a large garbage bag, close it up and leave sit for 12-24 hrs, then spray them off and they are sparkly shiny! I occasionally wipe down the inside with a wet safe for teflon scrubby. I don't have a dishwasher so that's not an option.

    I picked up some brand of liquid oven rack cleaner and it came with a large plastic bag with instructions to put the racks in the bag and pour the cleaner on it. I now do it with the spray kind and it works really well.
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
    gridflash likes this.
  10. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've used oven cleaner on the racks when they were really caked up and blackened. It worked very well. I'll remember Alesia's trick of putting them in garbage (bag or can?) the next time they need that treatment. Other than grills and water tray, I have not yet cleaned anything other than the glass in the door on my MES40. I now foil my water tray and have a ceramic tile with foil sitting above the heating element.

    After only 6-8 smokes, there is a good deal of smoky, oily, greasy accretion on the walls and door. Given the heat and humidity that can occur here in central Texas - and the fact that I'm must take antibiotics daily for the rest of my life due to an infection in an artificial joint last year - I am probably going to have to clean the smoker insides at some point to avoid contracting another nasty; but I sure don't do it after every smoke. We have a couple of those scunci steam cleaners. I will probably use one when I finally have to break down and do a cleaning. I'll post a thread here at some future date reporting success or failure of that technique after I've tried it. For now, Dawn and warm water have cleaned the door glass for me quite well.
  11. TSP is more of a degreaser than a polish. I don't think it would help that "burnt spot" which is really oxidation from the heat.

    No, do not intend to clean the entire interior. I have only cleaned the racks, water pan, door and window.
  12. Sorry about that. Into a garbage bag and I leave it outside in the shade just to keep the sun from the possibility of drying/baking it on. 
  13. 1beezer

    1beezer Smoke Blower

    I used Purple Power degreaser mixed with water in a spray bottle and a fiber pad the other day and it easily cleaned off like 8 smokes or more of tar from the walls.
    hoity toit likes this.
  14. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    For your sake I hope she won't see this or else  [​IMG]................[​IMG]                 [​IMG]

    Thanks for the tips and for starting this thread! The only interior stationary part I've cleaned so far was the window. 
  15. xutfuzzy

    xutfuzzy Meat Mopper OTBS Member

    I've contemplated cleaning the inside walls...I remember a demonstration Alton Brown did about how heat "bounced" off clean walls well but didn't cook food properly when the walls were dirty.  I was thinking of using one of those steam cleaners to safely (read: chemical free) remove the grease/whateverthatstuffis from the walls.  My concern, however, is where all that grease is going to go.  I can't have it running down onto my lawn or anything.  Any ideas?
  16. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Crank the heat up for 12 hours or so.... it will bake it until it flakes off... at least mine did..... and then it shed all over the cheese....   SS wool pad and it fell off..... Dave
  17. I spray the racks with Pam before I start to smoke. After they cool, I put them in the sink full of dish soap and water and they wash up without issue...I also put aluminum foil on all pans, water drip and they stay clean...I  built a little frame around my AMNPS using a coat hanger. That allows me to put a piece of aluminum foil over the top ot it while smoking. It keeps the food drippings from going into my pellet smoker. Cut the coat hanger wires at an angle and th drippings will run right off. It's pretty simple and works like a charm...

    sloat and gridflash like this.
  18. GREAT idea, i will try it.[​IMG]
  19. carrol rhodes

    carrol rhodes Newbie

    An easy way to clean grill grates or oven racks is to line your bathtub with four used dryer sheets, set the grill or oven racks on top and fill the tub with warm water. Let sit overnight and then wipe clean . The power of the antistatic in dryer sheets helps to separate the food from the grates.

    Go to this web site for more on this.  

    I bought a plastic tub with lid and soaked racks overnight and rubbed them off the next morning they looked like new.

    Check out this web site:
  20. rabbithutch

    rabbithutch Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Because I started this thread about cleaning racks . . . and because I learned something important that I didn't know this week . . . and because it has to do with cleaning and products we probably all use from time to time, I thought I'd better post this.


    I'm not a chemist and I don't have any idea why this is a problem, but a local man died in the ICU where my wife works last week from smelling the fumes from using Dawn dishwasher detergent and Clorox in his kitchen sink. One of the trained chemists here can probably tell us what components combine to create a caustic gas, but it really doesn't matter. I know for a fact that this individual died, and the cause was attributed to lung damage from fumes given off by the combination.

    And, if it turns out I'm full of $h#x, well . . . it won't be the first time and a laxative will fix that but I wouldn't want to live with myself if I knew something that might be important to my friends here and didn't share it.

    I would never have suspected that using these 2 products together could be deadly. I don't know what strengths the ingredients were nor what proportions were used, but I will never have Dawn and Clorox out at the same time when cleaning ever again.

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