Clean smoker grates by heating them on grill?

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by redoctobyr, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. redoctobyr

    redoctobyr Smoke Blower

    I just got my Gen1 MES30. I see there is quite a bit of discussion about how to clean the insides of MES units, including cleaning the grates.

    Putting the grates (racks) in the dishwasher is tempting, of course, for its simplicity. But some people said it can contribute to the chrome plating flaking off. That's not good.

    I've seen people mention cleaning grill grates using crumpled-up aluminum foil, but I'm not sure if scrubbing the smoker grates like that might, again, damage the plating.

    It got me wondering about taking the grates out of the smoker, putting them on my gas grill's grates, and blasting the grill for 10 minutes or so, to try and burn off some of the stuff that's stuck to the MES grates. Has anyone tried that? I don't care about making the grates look like new, but I don't want the old grease, etc, just sitting on them getting funky.
  2. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If they can hold up to high heat then the foil should be fine as well.
  3. old sarge

    old sarge Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I generally clean my smoker racks (stainless steel) right after smoking since I wrap and hold the meat in a cooler till time to eat. I use plain old hot soap and water and a 'white' 3M scrub pad (less abrasive than the green pads).  Only takes a few minutes per rack and a little elbow grease.
  4. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Smoking Fanatic

    I clean mine in my ultrasonic cleaner. For anything that doesn't come off, I use 0000 steel wool.

    If you were going to use heat to clean them, I would think a self-cleaning oven would give you better control. You will, of course, permanently lose the nice shiny appearance.
  5. redoctobyr

    redoctobyr Smoke Blower

    Thank you all for the suggestions.

    I washed them in the sink with a sponge/scrubber. It made a bit of a mess around the sink.

    I do have an ultrasonic cleaner (which is awesome for small-engine parts!). It's a 6L unit, I haven't measured yet, but I don't think I'd fit much of the grates in there (if they fit in at all). At best, I'd have to do one end, then flip them to try for the other end.

    The oven on self-cleaning is a good idea. We'll see, maybe I'll try heat next time.

    I got some aluminum pans to put under the grates, but putting the meat *in* the aluminum pan, on a separate wire rack, might reduce the amount of mess created in the first place.
  6. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Smoking Fanatic

    I also have a 6L unit, and you are absolutely correct that you cannot fit the entire grate into it. However, my MES 30" grates can be placed, on end, if you put them in diagonally. I can get about 1/3 of the grate into the cleaner. I then invert it after 1-2 minutes and do the other side. I then tilt it slightly sideways and can almost the entire long edge (you have to put it in four different ways to get the entire edge. The middle still must be done by hand.

    This may seem like it is not worth the effort, but what I have found is that most of the time cleaning an oven or smoker grate is involved in getting the gunk out of the corners where the the metal rods are spot-welded. The long length of rod usually cleans up pretty quickly if you first soak for an hour in something strong, and then use a simple scouring pad or brush.
  7. gamblinman

    gamblinman Newbie

    Drop them in the dishwasher..come out looking brand new!

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