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After many years of briskets, butts and salmon -- after which I wasn't always super-diligent in my cleanup routine -- my SM025 became so "seasoned" that nobody wanted to look at it, much less eat anything out of it, and it sat unused in the back of the garage for two years.

The boss eventually said I had to use it or lose it, so, back against the wall, in a fit of desperation, I gathered several cans of oven cleaner, a jumbo pack of paper towels, a plastic scraper, a garden hose, a 3M scour pad, surface cleaner, stainless steel cleaner, automotive plastic restorer and a new control surface from Cookshack and set to work.

Twelve hours later ... well, I'll let the photos do the talking (warning: these images are unedited and may cause blindness in those who'd rather eat at Jamba Juice than de-season their smoker).  It is gleaming inside and out, except for a few baked-in spots on the door near the wood box that I finally gave up on and left in respect for the years of smoke and meat that passed through it.

Yeah, I lost 99.9% of the seasoning (though there's still a faint smoky aroma, and it's actually appetizing now); yeah, I'm worried about any oven cleaner residue; yeah, I spent a full day cleaning it; yeah, I had to confess my cardinal sin here on the Cookshack forum.

But it's re-curing right now with a big chunk of hickory and that's perfuming the whole yard, and I'm prepping a brisket smoke for an eager group of family and friends for the first time in years.

It's good to be back.




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Looks like a great job! I haven't gotten to that point yet with my 066, but it was made clear to me from the start (2013) that I had to at least keep the cooking grates clean. So I do that semi-religiously (so much so that I just had to replace two of the original grates with stainless ones since I pretty much scrubbed off the chrome on the old ones). For the rest, so far I've gotten away with tossing the floor, heat shield, and drip pan foil liners each cook, and wiping the inside down with a damp rag. So far, so good. Good thing these CS electrics are built like tanks.

BTW, you have the same setup I do with the storage box below. Pricey but a fantastic convenience - worth every penny to me. Did you get bigger casters for it?

I have had to do the deep clean before because of a rodent problem.  Crawled up through the drip hole. After the oven cleaner, I wiped it down with vinegar, then loaded up the wood box and reasoned.  I got a bolt that was pretty close to the diameter of the drip hole, and a washer which I bent slightly to match the contour of the smoker floor.  JB Weld to hold bolt and washer together. When the smoker is not in use, the bolt plugs the hole.  No more uninvited guests.

I broke down and cleaned up my SMO66.  I didn't get it as clean as ralphie did but it is a lot cleaner than what it was before I started.  I used Dawn Platinum dish soap.  I did discover that the drip pan is what is called a 1/2 chaffing dish size.  I found some disposable aluminum pans that fit it perfectly.  I just need to see if the smoker will draft correctly with the pans in place.


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I would say your 066 needed a cleaning; the gray looks really ashy..  Mine is coated in a nice brown color; smells great.  I just brush off all the scaling/alligator stuff when it needs it.  Stripped it to bare metal once; rodent issue.  Otherwise, I let the patina go with the flow.  Nicely done.  As for the drip pan, if you have problems, put dents into the rim in several areas to improve air flow.

Last edited by oldsarge

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