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Introduction and request for help and advice

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    Introduction and request for help and advice

    Hi all,


    My name is John. No, really, it is!

    I am retired and now live in a small town near Traverse City in northern Michigan. I grew up in the BBQ capital of the world - Kansas City - home to Arthur Bryant's, (Oklahoma) Joe's, Jack Stacks, Heywards, and Gates and more than a hundred more. (Apologies to Memphis, Texas, and the Carolinas). During my working life, I lived in Naperville, a large suburb of Chciago, which has a huge, juried Ribfest every year that invites 20-30 select BBQ enterprises from around the country to come and vie for various prizes (Best Ribs, Best Sauce, and so on.) But some of the best 'Que I ever had from an amateur was from the Hank, a man who owned a hand-washed car and detailing shop. Hank was from Clarksdale, MS, home of Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Juke Joint and birthplace of the Delta Blues. Hank's creations came off a 55 gal. barrel cooker out back and his secret rub was so good, you didn't want or need to put sauce it. Like everyone else, he loved my wife's chocolate chip cookies and so there were many even trades.

    Alas, I never learned to do much more than cook steaks, burgers, chicken, and the occasional slab of babybacks. The boss wants me to RE-EARN my manhood and pick up more of the load. My policy WAS "never do something that someone else does better." She's an excellent cook, despite having a father whose idea of BBQ was chicken slathered in Open Pit (which should be on the EPA's list of banned substances). Hence, I have come here to learn and observe from the finest pit masters.

    I could only invest in one cooker for now, and because we like to grill and eat, I studied the advice here and settled on a Broil King Regal S490 Pro gasser about three years ago. It's stainless steel and it came with thick stainless grates and burners, and a ten year warranty.. Eventually I might want to get a smoker as well.


    The specific advice I am looking for now concerns cleaning and a possible change in grates. The Broil King cost about $1,000 or so. I seasoned it when I first got it, but not since. I have kept it covered with a Broil King cover, kept the grates clean, done regular burn-offs, and emptied the grease tray. I keep the grill outside all winter and am now doing first-of-the-season cleaning. Alas, the grates and burners are covered with a hard, reddish-brown coating that I can't scrub off. I have soakedovernight in them in Simple Green, tried Dawn, a commercial degreaser, and Barkeeper's friend. Regular grease splatter on the outside is easy to remove, but the inside of the cookbox is another matter. Citrus cleaner seems to have to have some effect on the aluminum and other parts of the cookbox, but doesn't totally remove the black burned on spots and has little to no effect on the grates and burners. Despite the those parts being stainless, I began to suspect rust and contacted the manufacturer - Onward Mfg. (who apparently have taken over a bunch of the name brands). I sent them pictures and - surprise! - they honored the warranty and new grates and burners are on their way! THE BURNING QUESTIONS: How clean should I get the cook box? Should it be restored to "like new" and what happens if I don't (besides saving lots of hours and elbow grease) and if I can ignore my OCD tendencies? How do I keep the new grates and burners from ending up looking like the old ones? Should I make a warranty claim on other parts? I am also thinking of investing in the aluminum grill grates. Are they that much better? I've included a some pictures to illustrate what I am facing.

    I appreciate any and all help and advice from any and all. Thanks.

    John Volk

    ​ ​​​​​​​

    Wow. Welcome to the Pit! Not sure I can help but someone will be along......


      No really John, nice to have ya aboard. It’s really cool the “they” replaced Yer grates & stuff. As far as the box goes, I get mine (I have a similar Napoleon) as clean as I can get it without bein nerdy about it. There are some on this site, bless em, that will sterilize it. I think mebbee there is no correct answer. The important things are covered with yer replacements. Travers City, beautiful area, love it. Think about gettin a smoker like a PBC. You’ll never regret it & it’s cheap! Eat good and have fun!


        Great intro! Welcome from south Texas! Some here have posted on cleaning a gasser. Help is on the way I’m sure.

        heres a start https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...s-steel-gasser
        Last edited by Texas Larry; May 19, 2020, 05:01 PM.


          Welcome to the Pit from Dallas!


            Howdy from Kansas Territory, Welcome to Th Pit!
            Lookin forward to learnin along with, an from ya!

            My cookers live outside all winter too, most of em...

            Pro Tip: Th grates don't haveta live out there, as well ...
            I tuck, or hang mine in my motour garage.


              Welcome from Virginia!


                Welcome to The Pit John.


                  For your old grates, get them hot then go at them with balled up aluminum foil.
                  Depending on condition they will never be pristine but do this prior to and after cooking it will help little by little they will clean up.
                  As for the fire box, agree with FireMan, smoking isn't an OCD sport.
                  Sometimes ya gotta live with a bitta dirt.
                  Don't get me wrong from time to time I do take a wire brush to the fire box.
                  When you smoke something do you want the residue from all those chemicals on your food.


                    If the grates are stained black that’s fine. You don’t want any grease or residue on them. If you burn hot after your cooks and clean well before your cooks you should be okay.

                    It is critical that the firebox doesn’t have any chunks in it or anything that could break off into your food or block grease drainage. Scrape until nothing more will come off. Wire brush occasionally.


                      Agree with most of the comments. I like the grates pretty clean but don’t fuss too much with the firebox as long as nothing is dropping off.


                        Welcome to the pit from Southern Illinois!


                          Welcome from Minnesota. Enjoy the Pit!


                            Welcome! Thanks for the support!

                            One great way to clean stainless is with oven cleaner. Make sure it is the Heavy-Duty version. You want caustic in the mix to eat the protein away from the metal when you are done cooking. Then you can rinse with water and the stainless should clean up like new.

                            As for the burners, you will have trouble getting those back to their original shine, the heat changes the chemistry and the stainless will blue after a cook or too. I would not worry to much about that. It really will not effect how the burners run.

                            If you want to go the Aluminum Grate route, I would replace the stock grates with them. The Aluminum grates are easy to clean, and you get a reversible fire griddle on the other side of the grates, a huge bonus! (Rail side and Griddle Side) I like them, but they will not blow your mind. Again the griddle side of the grates is what I really like. And the holes in the grates allow for drippings to hit the fire below, adding flavor to the meat that you would not normally get from a griddle. They also save you from flare ups, which I think is a major perk that is often over looked.


                              Could you re-post the photos? They're not showing.




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