We were the recent beneficiaries of a great deal on Craigslist where we were able to purchase a brand new, in the box, 22.5" WSM for the bargain basement price of just $225. Brought it home, put it together and then looked at the older and much used 22.5" WSM that was sitting on the back patio. Needless to say, one of these things was not like the other!
So, today I have the older WSM scheduled for some deep cleaning. Here's the plan...
First thing I've done is purchase some 55 gallon contractors plastic bags
which ran about $10 for a package of 18 at Walmart. I also have one of those plastic water heater drip pans
. The pans are readily available at Lowe's or HD and are also about $10.
I have taken the center section of the WSM and placed it inside one of the plastic bags and made sure it was all the way down into the bag being careful not to tear or puncture the bag. I then placed the bagged center section inside the water heater drip pan just in case I wasn't as careful as I thought I was. Next, I placed the cooking grates and door into the bag. These are placed inside the center section of the cooker.
The next step was to add the liquid. This is a concoction that a friend of mine uses to keep his WSM cooker grates clean and he agreed that it should work on the cooker as well since much of the cleaning power is from the fumes rather then the liquid being in contact with the surfaces. It consists of about a quart of ammonia, a couple of good squirts of dishwashing liquid and about 2 quarts of water. That was all poured into the bag with the cooker parts. I then placed the lid on top of the center section, drew the bag up and over the dome, twisted the bag closed and secured it with a twist tie. A cable tie would also have worked but there wasn't enough material to tie a knot in the bag.
I plan to leave the cooker parts in the bag to "marinate" overnight.
Tomorrow, I'll hook up my pressure washer and start blasting the softened goop off of the cooker parts. My buddy has told me that when he does this with just his grates, all he ever has to do is give them a good blast with the garden hose but I think the material on the inside of the center section and dome will offer a bit more resistance. We'll see.
So, that's the story thus far. I'll post about the results tomorrow once I see how well it works. If it works as well as my friend says it does on his grates, this will be the all-time easiest way to deep clean a WSM or kettle grill!