Slow’n Sear Review: **A Must Have for Vintage Grillers**

The Slow'n Sear - Makes smoking and grilling easier and more fun.

The Slow’n Sear – Makes smoking and grilling easier and more fun.
Available NOW on Amazon!

UPDATE: It’s been 18 months. My TWO Slow’N Sears are always in use. The SNS improves the performance of a Weber kettle and I consider it a must-have accessory. It’s available on Amazon as well as ABC Barbecue website.

I’ve long been a subscriber to Alton Brown’s “Death to the Unitasker” philosophy. I don’t want clutter without a cause. Single use kitchen gadgets like mango-slicers and pineapple corers and strawberry stem removers are a waste of space and money. There are multi-tasking kitchen essentials that serve me just fine. I apply that same kitchen rule to backyard bbq equipment. I don’t want to deal with storing gimmicky gadgets like chicken roasters, pepper racks, and burger presses – especially if they consume precious grill collecting space! So when the Slow’n’Sear burst onto the bbq scene this last July, I was naturally skeptical. You can already smoke in your Weber kettle without investing in accessories. But the Slow n Sear promises to offer several advantages

The Slow’N Sear is the revolutionary new kettle grill accessory specifically designed to turn your kettle grill into a smoker and a blistering hot sear machine – all in one. From low ‘n slow pulled pork/brisket/ribs, to juicy burgers and chicken, to a perfectly seared steak, the Slow ‘N Sear brings it ALL to your backyard.

That’s a pretty hefty promise. Low-and-slow AND blistering hot sear machine? The BBQ Vortex tried making that promise too.
But The Slow’n’Sear has the legendary Meathead Goldwyn of AmazingRibs.com gold seal of approval! And Meathead wouldn’t pimp a product just to earn advertising dollars paid for every sale, would he?

“I am in love with the Slow ‘N Sear. It makes the Weber Kettle a better grill and a serious smoker. If you own a kettle [grill], this is the single best accessory ever invented for it.” ​
– Meathead Goldwyn, President and founder, AmazingRibs.com

Ok enough of the promises – wtf is this thing?
It’s a charcoal divider that has a built-in water pan, but there’s actually SCIENCE involved. The V-shaped water reservoir provides a thermal barrier between the heat and your meat, which is always a good thing, except for when it’s not. *GIGGITY* It promises to hold one quart of water and last over 5 hours at 225. The other side is a curved and angled charcoal basket that cooks for 8+ hours without refueling. It snugs up perfectly to the inside contour of the kettle.

Here’s the kicker – that outer basket acts as a heat shield too! Using the Slow’n’Sear kept the exterior surface of the kettle 300 degrees lower than the equivalent load of charcoal banked in the same configuration (same pit temp, same color grill, everything). This is a great solution for cooking in our vintage kettles without increasing the likely-hood of porcelain crazing.

Slow’n Sear: Build Quality

This thing is HEAVY. It’s built like a tank. Literally, 5 pounds of 16 gauge 304 Stainless Steel. It’s welded by hand right here in the USA. Some edges are rolled, others sanded – to prevent loss of fingers. (although one forum member DID report cutting himself as he removed the Slow n Sear from the box) The water pan, or trough, is very rigid, secure, and tight. The outer edge of the charcoal basket portion is perfectly tapered to align with the edge of the Weber kettle. It’s so precise that it tucks up perfectly under the cooking grate standoffs – unless you’re using two charcoal grates. It is very obviously well designed and thought out – not a folded piece of metal and a tiny chaffing dish like the Smokenator. It’s impressive. Kudos to the designers.

Slow’n Sear: Test Cooks

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ALL test cooks were done side-by-side, one grill with the Slow’n Sear, one without. Both grills are exactly the same. Vent configurations remained the same. Food weights and placements were the same. I did my best to make sure the ONLY variable involved was the Slow’n Sear vs normal charcoal placement.

I’ve had this unit for several months and was able to run it through nearly a dozen cooks. I smoked several pork butts, several chickens, salmon, burgers, steaks. I left it in the kettle ALL of the time and tried to cook everything with it to see how it would perform. AND IT DID! The Slow’n Sear creates a perfect two-zone setup every single time. In fact, when I did the side-by-side spatchcocked chickens (say that three times fast!), the cooking surface of the NON-Slow’n’Sear grill was no longer hot enough to give the chicken any color. I ended up moving the chicken from one grill over to the Slow’n Sear grill just to sear. The Slow’n Sear maintained plenty of heat and was able to sear both chickens. Both grills had the exact same amount of charcoal and maintained the exact same vent configuration the entire time.

Smoking with the Slow’n Sear

Using the lighting instructions included, the Slow’n Sear managed 9+ hours at ~225 with Kingsford blue bag charcoal and two chunks of peach wood. On my 2nd attempt, I used CoShell Coconut Charcoal and pulled 11 hours at 225. It is worth noting that I did not use water on the CoShell smoke. Smoking with the Slow’n Sear was incredibly easy and straightforward. A first time user can achieve success with this without major obstacles.

Searing and Grilling with the Slow’n Sear

The beautiful thing about this product is its versatility. You can dump a chimney of hot coals into the Slow’n Sear and you’ll have a perfect hot zone and a well protected indirect zone. If you need a bigger hot zone, pour the coals into the open space, leaving the smaller area as a cool zone. You can leave the Slow’n Sear in the kettle at all times unless you need 100% of your grill to be hot (which is rare).
During some direct cooking tests, I found that the Slow’n Sear produced a hotter cooking grate than standard Weber charcoal baskets. However, two baskets together create a more usable hot zone and the temperature difference is too subtle to make a real difference. I did notice, again, that the SNS will maintain the hot zone longer than baskets. I believe this is the result of the steel walls of the charcoal chamber.

Slow’n Sear VS Smokenator

I have never been a big fan of the Smokenator. Apply the same Smokenator method to a grill with banked coals or fire bricks and you’ll get the exact same results. The Slow n Sear not only makes it EASY to smoke in your Weber kettle – it makes your Weber kettle a BETTER smoker and a better grill as well. The Slow’n’Sear water pan holds 1 quart (4 cups) of water, while the Smokenator holds 2 cups. The Smokenator banks coals against the side of your kettle, which WILL eventually damage the porcelain finish. The Slow’n’Sear protects your kettle from the coals and keeps the exterior surface cooler. The Slow’n’Sear can stay in your kettle all the time, which means you don’t need to worry about storing it (or hiding it from the wife.) The Smokenator needs to be removed and hidden because it’s ugly and pathetic.
Slow’n’Sear, 3 – Smokenator, 0.

Slow’n Sear Review: The Verdict

This is a no brainer. It’s a GREAT product. It’s perfectly designed. It’s made in the USA. It’s made with high-quality material.
It works for high heat or low and slow. It helps preserve and protect your Weber’s porcelain finish too!

It’s such a kickass product that I’ve already purchased another one to give to a friend as a gift. Oh, and best of all – it’s affordable. $89 from Amazon. Go buy it and share your results in the forums!

FULL DISCLOSURE: ABC Barbecue provided me with a free product in exchange for an honest review. The opinions presented here are 100% authentic and objective.

 

Purchasing the Slow’n Sear through any of the links provided will also benefit the Weber Kettle Club. Thank you for your support.

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56 comments… add one
  • Bert

    Sounds like something I would enjoy!

  • The Duke

    It sounds good and I’m considering one. A few questions though. How many briquettes will it hold? Could we also see a photo inserted showing the fit? I’m also curious about the bottom. Is it hollow or does it have holes to shake out the ash? Any pictures of the finished products? Thanks,

    • troy

      It seems to hold a perfect chimney’s worth. More if you stack higher than the cooking grate. I’ll get some better pics of the fit. It’s hollow on the bottom, and in reality, a quick jiggle shakes off the ash just fine.

  • Reese

    Been using one since September and it works great. Bottom is hollow and chamber will hold a whole chimney of briquettes. Have used for slow cook pork butts, ribs, and even smoked salmon ( required a lot of fussing to keep temps below 200, but I was able to do it). Also used it to smoke a tri tip, then reverse sear, which turned out fantastic. Well made….I enthusiastically recommend.

  • apt323

    I have one of these and have used it about 5-6 times already and i think it is AWESOME!!!!!!

  • Bob BQ

    Excellent review, Troy. Sounds like a great product.

    When’s drawing? 😉

  • Great review Troy, shame they don’t ship to Australia though

    • Adrenaline Barbecue

      Hogsy (and everyone international) – we are happy to ship to Australia and have quite a few units already Down Under. International orders are processed through our online storefront – http://www.slownsear.com. If you don’t see your country listed, please contact us at abcbarbecue@gmail.com and we’d be happy to get it set up for you.

      P.S. The giveaway also ships internationally at no charge if you’re the lucky winner!

      • I would dearly like to win one of these, and try it for myself thank you

      • Joe Chidiac

        Great read.

  • JDD

    After reading this review I just had to have one! In addition, I received a $30 instant gift card from Amazon by applying for their credit card! What a deal!

  • Robert

    I bought one of these for myself at Christmas and I bought directly from Adrenaline. Found out about the SNS from this web site, so hopefully they can give WKC credit. Haven’t had the chance to fire it up, but hope to this coming weekend. I like the sturdiness of the build and feel it will last a very long time. I will be buying more as gifts to my two son’s and nephew’s.

    • troy

      Love it! Way to spread the BBQ love! Keep the younger generations interested!

  • TGS

    Thanks for the review, hope to win this!

  • John Christensen

    I gotta try this thing.

    jcnaz

    • troy

      You’ll love it!

  • Looks like a great accessory

  • Matt

    Great review. I’ve been eyeing the slow and sear and telling the family that I need more toys for my birthday. Thanks for all the great info.

    • troy

      You’re welcome! Thanks for the comment!

  • Jon R.

    Looks like a great product, thanks!

  • SmokenJoe

    TROY !!! What a great informational article, you have a way with the pen (er, keyboard), thanks. Although I too have the SnS, I find it hard to believe that YOU are BBQ utensil-challenged. You, of all of us, appear to have, at least one, of every utensil (/gadget) ever made for the Weber Kettle 🙂 Good luck in the drawing. SJ

    • troy

      Thanks!! I do have a lot of stuff, but I’m pretty picky about what I actually hold on to.

  • Chad H.

    Nice review. Looks like another thing to add to my list.

  • red kettle rich

    Sounds like a winner 8)

  • jdefran

    Great write up @Troy; very informative. Any chance you tested this in a 26er? Curious how it fits that contour..

    • troy

      I’ll do some test cooks and get some pics ASAP.

  • Gary Olson

    Read with great interest this review. Appears to be the answer to every smokers dream! Gotta have this!!

  • James Hadden

    Looks like a great tool/add-on for kettles. Is it equally effective on a 26er?

    • troy

      It fits very well in the 26″ Weber. It will run a little cooler unless you start with a few additional lit coals, and you’ll need to refuel sooner – but it will work just fine in the 26. I’ll do some documented test cooks soon.

  • I generally use my WSM to smoke, but if I can do 1 or 2 racks of ribs with this, then it’s definitely worth it!!

    • troy

      That’s what I love about it! The time it takes to set up and get smoking is VERY short.

  • RoundRockMike

    Looks pretty solid, very nice finished product. I noticed that some of the videos and pictures had foil on the “cool” side of the charcoal grate, but some did not. I didn’t find any comments specifically about adding the foil, but think that this would be preferred, as most of the fresh air would come through the charcoal side. Thoughts?

    • troy

      I think those people are overthinking it. I’ve done several tests using foil to ‘direct airflow’ – I’m convinced that there’s absolutely ZERO benefit. The foil can come in handy for clean-up though! I personally let everything drip into the bowl, sometimes down into the ash catcher.

  • this looks very interesting..would love to win

  • Chuck

    I got mine around the same time Troy got his for review, and I’ve been putting it through the same paces, trying to find something it doesn’t do well or make the kettle better at/easier to do than without it. Still looking! Steaks, ribs, boston butt, spatchcock chicken, split breasts, smoked salmon, the list goes on.

    I use it on my 26, and it does a very good job, although all of the cook times on equivalent charcoal loads are reduced because of the extra volume it has to heat compared to the 22 kettle.

    Hoping for a 26 version in 2016!

  • tim sullivan

    Awesome review Troy, I’m not usually a fan of single purpose items either, but may add this to my collection.

  • Luke

    Heavy duty, Made in USA, weber accessory that actually works? Sounds like I need me one of these!

  • A-T-S

    Looks interesting. Troy, this part: “two baskets together creates a more usable hot zone” did you mean two baskets creates a LARGER hot zone? I understand why baskets wouldn’t isolate as well.

  • Dustin Kline

    Looks awesome

  • Indy82z

    I have been wanting to get my hands on one of these..looking forward to trying it out sometime.

  • Jim Samuel

    The Slow’n’Sear is perfect. Well thought out and well made. I love a product that just works.
    I’d love one even more if I won it.

  • Jordan Lee

    Can you enter this giveaway every day until it ends??

  • Jordan Lee

    Can you enter this giveaway daily?

  • Landgraftj

    Looks pretty useful, may have to pick one up.

  • NeoTrout

    Thanks for the review.

  • AZRaptor

    If I don’t win one I’m going to order one of these and set up one of my SS Performers as my dedicated Weber smoker. Have to add the propane burner relocation mod from the forums to make it super easy to use.

  • METAL MIKE

    I have to agree with everything said above; as one of the first 100 to order one of these & it hasn’t came out of my grill since. Getting another(s) to protect & enhance my other grills.

  • Maxmbob

    Sounds like a quality product. Plus it’s made in the USA…..thanks for the review.

  • I have had the slow n sear for about 4 months now. I have smoked beef brisket, pork ribs, sausage and salmon, all came out great. I have also grilled the best New Yorker steak that the wife and I have ever had. I love the water troth, it really do last 5 to 6 hours, depend on how hot is your fire. Made with quality gauge steel and welding is outstanding. I would recommend the slow n sear over the smokernator.

  • Daniel J. Perez

    where can I buy one?

  • Matthew "pork addict" Allen

    Troy! Your review is fantastic and insightful. Can you share any thoughts on worthwhile benefits of splurging on the
    “Smoke EZ Grill” vs. the Slow n’ Sear that is not quite half the price? Beyond more capacity, any desirable advantages that even begin to justify price jump? I initially looked at the Good One Open Range, which looks awesome, but for much less, a tricked out Weber 26″ with one of these gadgets seem to give the smoking capability for a fraction of the cost. Here in NYC, space is a premium! Thanks so much..

  • Jeff Wingert

    Very interested in checking this out. I have been using a Smokenator for years and always had great luck with it. Over time it has become bent and out of shape. I was looking at purchasing a second Smokenator when I came across this product and review. I like the idea of having the top open more than trying to shove charcoal briquettes and wood chunks through the openings in the Smokenator. I also like that you can add more water. With the Smokenator I find myself adding wood chunks and water every 30-45 minutes.

  • steve

    Would this fit in an 18 inch grill?

  • David

    Why did you skip the water on the coshell charcoal?

    Also, the SnS website does not mention water used when grilling thick steaks. Is water not needed?

  • Crazy Crow

    I like the review’s -N- put me that drawing…

  • Darin Haddox

    I recently purchased a Slow and Sear. Followed instructions, but my temperature fluctuation was horrible. Minor adjustments sent temp to 50 degree change the other way. I’m certain with all the great reviews it’s me, but don’t know how to fix. Have 22 inch weber kettle.

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