Thanks everyone. Good to know there are many options. Homercidal, I do vaguely recall hearing about the molasses trick somewhere. Not laughing. I believe it has to do with the acidity in molasses.
I have considered using some "rust converter" type product to stop it from rusting more once it s clean but I am not sure these will hold up or work with high heat application. Essentially these converters transform chemically the iron oxide (rust) into a more stable compound. I cannot recall what exactly it becomes, but it stops the oxidation, bonds to the iron underneath and forms a protective layer. I turns it black. I have used the stuff on old cast iron printing presses I have restored. Course, then I painted them so I am not sure if it would have continued to protect.