Slow ‘N Sear XL Review

Six months ago I published my review of the Slow ‘N Sear. I ended up falling in love with it.  It functions great as a low’n’slow system while still kicking ass as a hot zone / cool zone divider. Bonus points, the design of the product keeps the exterior of the Weber kettle significantly cooler than normal methods.

Even though the 22″ version works very well in a 26″ kettle – the WKC members were outspoken about needing a bigger version for the 26″ kettle. Several even demanded a piece of expanded metal be attached to make moving and re-using charcoal easier.

I thought they were being ridiculous. The 22″ version, without the bottom, was perfect as is. But David over at Adrenaline Barbecue was listening and WKC feedback has once again turned into new products.

The SNS XL in place.

The SNS XL in place.

The 26″ Slow ‘N Sear arrived about a month ago. It’s a whopping EIGHT POUNDS of stainless steel and it’s been enhanced with a breathable bottom just like the community demanded.

Once again, I’m impressed with the quality of the unit. It’s heavy and precise. It fits perfectly snug against the sidewall of a modern 26″ Weber grill. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit vintage 26″ kettles very well. The charcoal grate sits lower in vintage kettles and the curvature of the bowl doesn’t match the 26″ Slow ‘N Sear. <Insert sad face>
Additionally, it doesn’t fit the Weber Summit Charcoal either.

The device still kicks ass, and I’m not just saying that because they sent me one for free. My opinion remains objective. I’m not being paid to give it a glorious review – the product is simply glorious. You can buy it HERE and earn the WKC a couple of bucks. Or you can buy it HERE without passing any credit to the WKC.

Test Cook #1 – Spatchcocked Chicken on the Vintage Red 26

Slow'n'sear XL in Red 26" Weber

Notice the fit in the vintage 26″ – the 22″ SNS actually fits better. The chicken is awesome though!

I do this cook often, so it’s a perfect way for me to understand how the Slow ‘N Sear performs. Despite the device not fitting perfectly, I still wedged it into my 1964 Red 26″. This grill has been known to NOT get all that hot. A full chimney of coshell will initially bring the grill up to 600, but will settle in around 380 due to the smaller vents and embarrassing ash build up.

With the Slow ‘N Sear in place, I dumped a full chimney of coshell into the charcoal area and watched as the grill temp rose to 550 and eventually settled in around 450. The chicken was huge. I could fit my entire fist in its cavity without lube. I cut out the backbone and cooked the spatchcocked bird indirect.

The results were phenominal. One hour and 15 minutes is what it took to get the breast up to 165.  The chicken cooked VERY evenly, despite the abnormally large breasteses. The hot zone has PLENTY of heat at the end of the cook. Sliding the bird over the hot zone unleashed an eruption of sizzle and smoke, it was as if cooking over a fresh chimney of coals.

I snuffed the coals out, which left about half of the SNS full. The bottom grate allowed me to shake the SNSXL to remove any leftover ash and easily re-use all of that charcoal.

Brilliant.

Test Cook #2 – Pork Butt

SNS-XL-porkbuttI wanted to throw some pulled pork on some woodfired pizzas (Kettle Pizza review coming soon!), so of course I had to make some pulled pork. It was a weeknight, so I was kind of lazy. I wanted to geek out and test the temp in every part of the grill, but #toolazy.

I moved the SNS XL to a modern Weber 26″. I left the Craycort grates in there and reused all of the leftover fuel from the chicken test cook. I topped it off with fresh coal and 3 chunks of peach. I lit the SNS with a spoonfull of bacon grease drizzled over the coals in the corner of the SNS.

I put the meat on at 4pm and literally walked away. I finally checked on it at 11pm. 7 hours later the temp was at 258. I added two handfuls of fresh unlit coshell.

By my estimate, the butt was done around 6am. I woke up around 9 and took it off – internal temp was at 211, whoops.

I never touched the vents. This is like using an electric smoker, but with actual smoke flavor 😉

Test Cook #3 – PIZZA ROLLS

Yes that’s right, those little stoner snacks that you 30-somethings grew up on. Remember how when Mom made them in the oven, they were awesome – but when you made them in the microwave they sucked? Well, make them on the grill and they are AMAZING.

Also amazing is how well pizza rolls work at showing the different heat zones. Arrange the pizza rolls evenly in the indirect zone. The ones that toast and pop first have been given more heat. The lighter colored ones have had LESS heat. SCIENCE.

I’d show you the picture, but I’ve lost temporarily misplaced the memory card with those photos. The card has to turn up. I work from home. I don’t go out. It’s gotta be here, otherwise my wife is going to murder me (or at least, not let me use her camera anymore)

Until the card turns up, here’s what it looked like. Rolls closest to the divider were slightly more toasty and popped than the ones in the middle. The pizza rolls along the outside edge were also slightly darker than the ones in the middle – but not much.

Final Thoughts

The Slow’n’Sear is ALREADY the most versatile and useful accessory available for the Weber kettle.
I’d really like the XL version to fit the vintage kettles – but vintage 26″ kettles are rare and I’m 100% happy using the 22″ version in Big Red.
The SNS XL though, that will be PERMANENTLY in place in my modern 26. I love the way it cooks. It makes indirect and low’n’slow, BBQ/smoking very easy and approachable for any skill level. I absolutely LOVE the additional bottom grate for charcoal re-use, and I hereby admit that I was 100% wrong on it not being a necessity.

You can buy it HERE and earn the WKC a couple of bucks. Or you can buy it HERE without passing any credit to the WKC.

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6 comments… add one
  • Don

    Thanks for the awesomerrevie. I truly want to order the sns+ for my 22″ but man! 115 bucks is tough to swallow! It’s tough for someone who already owns a smoker and several grills to drop this kind of coin.

  • A-T-S

    “without lube” LOL

    Great review!

  • apt323

    Awesome review! Thanks for the information.

  • Smoke'n Joe

    Great review. Just a quick question, though; for us early-adopters, when will the retro-fit kit for the original 22″ SnS be available? The one to fit to the bottom of the original SnS to help filter the coal from the ashes.

  • You said abnormally large breasteses.

  • Chuck

    My results on my 26 have mirrored this review. Completely agree, the XL has not been removed from my 26r since I got it. Was very easy for me to justify the price considering how much I use it.

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