Sorry for the late response, I saw this today.. I have a set of long needle nose pliers that I had from work that I use. I don't use the needle nose for any special reason other than they're an old work set I don't care about. I usually run the pliers about and make sure I get the majority of the ash out, and then I sweep the ash out with an ash tool. For longer cooks, such as a pork butt, brisket, etc, take the inside guts out and clean all the ash out. I have only done longer cooks twice though hehe.