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First time poster/new to the forum. Have two cookshacks. The 55 and an Amerique. I need some advice.

I have owned a Model 55 for about four years and recently bought an Amerique. The interior of the Amerique is SS and the whole smoker is easier to clean. How do you guys clean your racks and do you completely clean out the interior of the smoker over time??? I have put my racks into my dishwasher but never again. The grease it left in the washer came off onto dishes for more than a week. I am using cascade for washing detergent. Is there a better one for grease? In the past I have taken them to a car wash to bust the junk off of them. Not easy to do there either. I have soaked them in ammonia water etc. Not happy with the technique I use at all. I spray all cleaned racks with pam prior to cooking and this goes for the cold smoke baffle also.
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I have the 55 and the only cleaning I do to the inside is to scrape the walls with something like an old credit card when I see a heavy build up. You really don't want to do much more since it's the seasoning that makes Q so good.

I bought a concrete tub from Home Depot that I use to clean my racks. It's big enough for my FEC racks as well. I buy Simple Green by the gallon at Wally World and it does a great job on the grease. Let your racks soak in the tub for a few hours with water and Simple Green and they'll clean right up.

Oh...and welcome to the forum!
Originally posted by lb404:
...I have owned a Model 55 for about four years and recently bought an Amerique. The interior of the Amerique is SS and the whole smoker is easier to clean

Since they're both stainless, not sure what you mean easier.

Keep the racks clean and the side wides wiped down, scrap off any chunks and that should be good.

For the racks, Trucky uses my methods for racks. A one day soak and the gunk melts off.
I use Greased Lightening. They sell it at Lowes and it just melts the grease away. I spray some on the grates, let it soak for about 15mins, and brush off. I do that about 4 times and they are clean. I have also used it to clean out the inside of a Smokette that I sold. It looked like brand new.
As for cleaning the racks ,all I do is soak them overnight in a rubermaid tub with a little Dawn dish detergent, and in the morning everything wipes right off.The inside depends on how often I use it but usually once a year I just use a plastic scraper and go over the sides and top and wipe out with hot water on a rag and thats it. I do clean out and around the vent hole before every smoke,if you dont when you feed the probe wires through it you will get small black specks on the meat.
I've found the main factor in cleaning the racks & grills is the hotter the water the better. I use both dishwasher (Cascade) & dish soap (Joy) together with hot tap water & a kettle of boiling water to soak the racks in. When I add the boiling water into the soapy water, you can see gunk on the racks start to melt away. I first soak the racks while wiping-down/cleaning out the smoker, and by time that's done the soak water has cooled down enough for me to simply brush-off the racks, rinse them, and they are good-to-go for the next time.
I'm sorry, but this much attention to clean racks is ridiculous. Have any of you checked to see if you still have a pair?

Scrape off any big chunks of meat between cooks, then clean once a year when you clean the smoker. That's how mountain men do it. If you find yourself engaging in an activity that you couldn't imagine Jeremiah Johnson doing, then stop at once. Smiler
What a waste of lemon juice (just kidding) But, have you ever been to a BBQ joint? Their smokers are BLACK inside.. never get cleaned or scraped. Same for the most part with the racks. I, however,do clean my racks with the least offensive means I can find.

I messed up my Smokette by being aggressive with the funky racks they provide.. NOT stainless.. but cheap plating (IMO). However, they still work. With my Amerique, I use the dish soap, hot water and the Home Depot tub mentioed above.. works like a charm. The only thing I clean inside the smoker other than the grates is to scrape the "roof" with an old credit card to keep junk from flaking off and falling onto the meat.
The problem with using a dishwasher to clean the grilles isn't the grease, it's the carbon black, which is completely insoluble. It will just gradually flake off and get the rest of your dishes dirty.

A gas grill is your friend. If I leave mine on high for 15 minutes it gets to over 750F, which is the same temperature as a self-cleaning oven. This vaporizes everything, including the carbon black, which just oxidizes to CO2. When my grill gets really crusty I just run it on high for 45 minutes and all that's left is a coating of ash that blows right off.

The only caveat is that my grill racks are thick, high-quality stainless (Weber Summit). I don't know how the CS plated racks would handle the 750F treatment. Has anyone tried?

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