All the videos I've seen online say "you should do this about twice a year". I just bought a used Big Joe 2 for $850 from a dude that never did a high temp cook (or clean) and had it for 3 or 4 years. There's layers of grease built up inside. The first "clean" I tried to do I couldn't even get it above 400*F because the air holes in the firebox were nonexistent (completely filled with ash/grease buildup into a solid layer). There's probably a good 3/4 centimeter of buildup on some parts of the firebox.
I've gone through two high temp cycles and the inside of the lid still looks a grease trap. The cleaning videos I watched had it nice and burnt off / white after a good clean. Should I just overfill the basket and light it up and let it do a long high temp burn?
Also any recommendations for how to give a really good clean to the control tower? This dude had it basically encased in one solid piece of grease. I was able to finally rotate the top after letting the heat build up a bit, and finally able to get the top off. He had broken one of the wings on the top spinner by using pliers and trying to turn it (probably with little to no heat). But the "lid" is still pretty thick with grease. Similarly the control tower basically spins freely in place on top of the grill--how do I fix that. That being said, once it's cleaned up, it should be completely fine to use. He included a smokeware chimney replacement with the grill--can I just use the "tape" that it came with to reattach the original?
The lid of the grill is also slightly askew. It seems to still seal well enough, but how much heat should I feel around the seal? What can I do to verify that the seal is still completely functional?
Soapstone should be safe to clean with soap water / nonabrasive brush right? What about the heat deflectors-the dude used them as drip pans. How can I safely clean the heat deflectors?