My smoker is a Diamond Plate Products Fat 50. I think the guy that built these smokers isn't in business any more but I could be wrong. I couldn't be happier with my smoker. To give you an idea how big it is, I can lay 60 racks of St. Louis cut ribs flat on my beast.
Question for you BBQ'rs... no one talks about it, but it has to be done sometime - cleaning and rust repair
Any tips? I use Krud Kutter for the grease and a pressure washer or the quarter car wash. I haven't found a high temp paint that I feel works real well on the rust
I attended a bbq class for pulled pork and brisket about two years ago. I asked the instructor about cleaning smokers after every use. He stated that you don't need to clean your smoker after every cook. He stated that you should empty the grease from the bottom after every cook and use a wire brush to knock off any larger pieces of meat from the cooking surface that were left behind. When you use your smoker for the next cook, any bacteria/germs that may be left behind will be killed when you bring your smoker over 140 degrees. I have always been skittish about that fact - so I always begin each cook by taking my smoker up to 300+ degrees before I place any meat on it. I have prepped my smoker like this every time since the instructor shared this knowledge. No one has ever fallen ill by food from my smoker.
For a little validation regarding this info, think about those old school bbq joints. I'll bet some of those places haven't cleaned their cooking surfaces in years.
Rust repair is no longer an issue now that I do not clean my grates after every cook. It use to be a big pain in the rear to get a wire brush and clean the rust off, then use soap and water to clean the grates. Shoot, no wonder the grates would get rusty all the time. Once clean, any slightest bit of moisture get on the cooking surface and voila, there's your rust.
I now clean my grates once at the beginning of each spring. My cooking grates are huge so I take them down to the local car wash and power spray them off with soap and water. That will get a lot, but not all, of the crap off. I then take the cooking grates home and place them back in my smoker. Finally, I get some Pam and spray it all over the inside of the smoker, including the cooking grates. I then take the heat up in my smoker to 400+ degrees for a few hours to season the smoker. I try to have my first cook of the year be shortly after I season the smoker so that the drippings from the meat will adhere to my grates and prevent rust buildup.
At any rate, that is what I do and it works for me. If you try any off these techniques, let me know what you think.