RE: Should I clean my smoker?
Usually, after I take all the meat out of the smoke chamber, I'll spray off the grills and rinse out the water pan while the meat rests. This way I don't have to clean up the science experiment that grows in there after a week.
Also, when you rinse/sweep out the ashes in the fire box, spray it down with some vinegar or lemon juice. Wood Ash = High Alkali....Alkali neutralized by Acid.....Lemon Juice/Vinegar = Acid. Won't stop all the rusting, but it will slow it down.
And don't worry about the rust on top of the fire box. I've tried painting and it doesn't work for me. I just spray vegetable oil on the whole smoker while it's going and let it soak in. Be careful because depending on how hot it is, you might have a flameup. That serves as my "paint" though.
Perfect Smoke BBQ Team
Pork Me Baby BBQ Team
Coldwater, MS (just south of Memphis)
KCBS CBJ #7595
NB Bandera Mod E
Custom Drum Smoker
18" Weber Smoky Mountain
Weber Kettle One Touch Silver