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Author Topic: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks  (Read 13173 times)

BlueKettle

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 11
Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« on: June 04, 2016, 01:20:49 PM »
Howdy Folks,
First post here but I've been lurking for a bit. I love all things Weber. Just an authentic piece of Americana that is still going strong after all these years. I like that.

Anyway, I've been looking for a way to get better results smoking on my 22" kettle. I'd like more steady temps and longer burn times. I've got the Weber branded charcoal baskets and they're okay, but everywhere online I see people raving about the slow n sear. Outside of the integrated water reservoir and having not actually had the chance to see one in person I guess I'm a little unclear as to how this is materially different from just using the baskets on one side or even using fire bricks and loading up one side with a water pan on the bottom grate. If I've already got the baskets is it worth the $90 to splurge on the Slow N Sear?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Troy

  • Statesman
  • Posts: 9267
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2016, 03:25:52 PM »
Yes.
I compared all the options here
http://weberkettleclub.com/blog/2016/01/04/slownsear-review-the-best-way-to-smoke-in-your-weber-kettle/

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk


G19

  • WKC Brave
  • Posts: 282
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2016, 04:49:26 AM »
I do not regret one bit purchasing my Slow N Sear.  I have not had it that long so I cannot give it a full run down.  Ribs is the longest cook I did around 6 hours and it performed as hoped for.  Their lighting instructions have been spot on allowing me to hit the desired temp even on the higher temp for reverse sear steaks.  The temps in the indirect side are much more consistant through out the location and requires less shifting of the meat to balance meat internal temps. 

If I have one negative thing to say about it is that it should have a floor so if/when you extinguish a fire it is easier to pour out the coals.  They do have it now as an option but  in my opinion that takes the price point higher than I would go for a charcoal basket.  I plan on making a floor at some point for mine. 

Jammato

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 537
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2016, 05:33:13 AM »
Do a search. I did a post where I joined 2 baskets together. Cost me 14 bucks and some nuts and bolts. Now I have a basket that does 6 hour cooks low and slow. Heat is easy to control. Saved like 75 bucks over the cost of a 90 dollar device that does nothing more.
It would be easier to let that chicken drink that beer than shoving up his pooper
If we were meant to grill with gas then the garden of Eden would have had a pipeline

jamesnomore

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 993
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2016, 06:09:55 AM »
I use firebricks, there only $2.50 per which fits my budget and you can use them in different configurations. Mostly I use them to bank coals for 300-400 degree cooks, but I'll also use them when I set up a snake cook to shield the meat from any direct heat.
WTB: Yellow - WTB: Simpsons OTG
WTB: 18" blue -WTB: Genesis Jr.

Don_

  • WKC Brave
  • Posts: 132
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2016, 07:48:17 AM »
I'm still happy with my Slow n Sear... I had a successful 14 hour pork picnic cook on Memorial Day weekend using the SnS. That was my largest, and longest cook with it, and it performed really well.
I would/could have just fired up my little 14.5 WSM if the picnic roast would have fit in it, but it was looking to be a bit too tight of a fit...so I went with the SnS in my 22inch kettle.
Temp's in the kettle held pretty solidly between 215-225 degrees at the grate. I did have a couple of spikes to 240 that indicated that I needed to add water to the trough. I refueled twice with a couple of handfuls of KBB, and a couple of chunks of apple wood. I probably would have only refueled once if I had actually filled it to capacity on the first refuel...but not an issue either way.
The result was the best pulled pork cook that I've ever done. No leftovers to be found, and I have been asked when I will be doing one of those again.

I do have a pair of Weber charcoal baskets, and I do still use them for certain circumstances.
For smoking large cuts, that don't easily fit in my baby WSM...the SnS is awesomeness(to me).

DonoBBQ

  • WKC Brave
  • Posts: 363
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2016, 11:47:41 AM »
First of all welcome!  I'm kind of a noob to all of this but I've been using firebricks.  Bought 6 of them from Menards for under 20 bucks and couldn't be happier.  I'm sure the sns is better but at this point in my cooking lifestyle I don't need it!
Too many grills and too little time! Looking for a  BLUE GENESIS GASSER! Will pay a bounty!

Troy

  • Statesman
  • Posts: 9267
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2016, 02:27:59 PM »
Do a search. I did a post where I joined 2 baskets together. Cost me 14 bucks and some nuts and bolts. Now I have a basket that does 6 hour cooks low and slow. Heat is easy to control. Saved like 75 bucks over the cost of a 90 dollar device that does nothing more.

Your basket holds water?

G19

  • WKC Brave
  • Posts: 282
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2016, 07:01:42 AM »
Do a search. I did a post where I joined 2 baskets together. Cost me 14 bucks and some nuts and bolts. Now I have a basket that does 6 hour cooks low and slow. Heat is easy to control. Saved like 75 bucks over the cost of a 90 dollar device that does nothing more.

Your basket holds water?

I was thinking the same thing.  Not just water to add moister but truly isolates temperature from the direct and indirect sides.

Metal Mike

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 624
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Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2016, 12:37:14 PM »
@ 5# of 304 stainless the Slow n Sear really adds a lot of heat retention to your kettle

& insulates the sides of the bowl from banking hot coals.
I've seen too many blown out porcelain spots in my day, I use it to protect my colors...
...BOBBING FOR COALS IN MY KETTLE

Metal Mike

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 624
    • The Best Podcast in the Universe
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2016, 12:40:46 PM »
Cheap charcoal Baskets will rust & deform
The SnS will (likely) outlast your grill

fire bricks are useful but can warp the coal grate
...BOBBING FOR COALS IN MY KETTLE

Metal Mike

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 624
    • The Best Podcast in the Universe
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2016, 01:02:00 PM »
...BOBBING FOR COALS IN MY KETTLE

BlueKettle

  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 11
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2016, 02:58:45 PM »
Thanks for the responses everyone.

So I gather the benefits of the SnS over the baskets or even firebricks are steadier temperatures owing to the fact that it's a more substantial piece of metal than the baskets and it's got the integrated water channel that sort of forms a direct heat barrier which neither the baskets nor the firebricks can offer. And then that's not even getting to the additional protection to your enamel versus banked coals.

I do appreciate that idea  of bolting two baskets together though. I may have to try that before taking the SnS plunge. I admit it appeals to my cheapness. Especially since I've already got the baskets so the additional outlay would literally be the cost of some metal screws. 

Jammato

  • WKC Ranger
  • Posts: 537
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2016, 04:47:00 PM »
Ok. Let me give my long term evaluation of those baskets I have made. Been using them for 2 seasons and they show very little wear. Good metal I guess. I use them for low and slow cooking, in fact they work great with ribs in my masters’ touch. Never used them in an 18 inch kettle so I cannot comment on that.
Now let me give a bit of set up, I will use heavy duty tin foil to cover the grate where those things are not. That way I force the air to move through the baskets, I also put foil on the side of the baskets toward the meat. I have been using Weber’s for decades, I use a big tuna can for water, I am looking for the mass, not the moisture. Believe me that you can lose as much moisture boiling a steak as you can grilling, it is all about knowing what happens with the muscle structure and heat. I like the brick idea, just never found a reason to invest. I guess I am awful cheap and water works for mass, and mass means temperature control.
I usually use about 3/4s of the coals on a 5 ½ hour cook in those baskets at 225 to 250 degrees, bottom vents opened ¼ to 1/3 inch. Top used as a smoke choke.
I like the snake method but that is not as easy to control or clean as the baskets are. Plus I can add wood chunks into the baskets and it stays where put.
I looked at several systems before doing that hack, and they all look good except 1 thing, heay yo close to the porcelain. Guess I am cheap and want the kettle to last.
To each his own, some will swear by the different products out there, I just did not see any reason to blow over 100 clams when I could just spend less than 20.
It would be easier to let that chicken drink that beer than shoving up his pooper
If we were meant to grill with gas then the garden of Eden would have had a pipeline

DarrenC

  • WKC Brave
  • Posts: 217
Re: Question: Slow n Sear vs Charcoal Baskets vs fire bricks
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2016, 11:15:16 AM »
I am admittedly anti-gadget and refuse to buy anything I can hack myself, but I bought a $3.00 section of dryer vent and bent it into a rough   baffle to hold the coals to one side.  I am more than confident in putting my unaccessorized 99 buck OTS kettle with my homemade baffle up against a Slow N Sear, a BBQ Guru, charcoal baskets, an IQ2000, a BGE, a Traeger, or what have you - Bring it on!

I love talking kit as much as anyone, I'm just saying it will cost you nothing to give it a try WITHOUT the gadgetry before deciding if you really need to spend the dough.  I have cooked more than anyone I know on everything from drilled-out coffee cans to $25K+ custom trailer-mounts and if my experience is worth anything let me say the basic Weber kettle is ALL the cooker 90% of pitmasters will ever need.

The BBQ experience is about the fire and the food.  Everything else is for show.
"There are a great many things one can learn to do without actually doing them - Grilling is not one of them" - Alton Brown