Slow ‘N Sear is a kettle grill addon developed by SnS Grills, a subsidiary of the Adrenaline Barbecue Company, founded by retired physicist David Parrish and his wife. The addon is simple but useful–as all simple and useful things are.
There’s no rocket science involved but a bit of physics.
However, despite being simple, it’s so well-thought that you tend to think it is the only best kettle grill accessory that can provide you with two-zone heating, higher temperature, and fuel efficiency. We agree that this is not the case with many alternatives available, from Smokenator to BBQ Vortex to Char-Basket Charcoal Briquet Holders.
Is it really a matchless accessory for your Kettle or Kamado grill?
This article takes an in-depth dive into:
- What is the Slow ‘N Sear?
- How does it work?
- What can it do and what not in a no-nonsense manner?
- And, ultimately, this $100 accessory is really matchless–no, you’ll find it later.
So, here we go without further ado.
What is Weber Slow ‘N Sear Accessory?
Slow ‘N Sear is a half-moon-shaped, stainless steel charcoal basket ring with a water reservoir that runs the entire ring length. There’s a Slow ‘N Sear® Original with an open bottom, and a built-in, welded water reservoir, and a Slow ‘N Sear® Deluxe with a removable reservoir and a ventilated, wire mesh bottom plate.
The latter is the improved-on version of the former with a thicker, more durable stainless steel build. The addon installs snugly on the Slow ‘N Sear Deluxe Kamado Charcoal Grill, Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill 22-Inch, and the Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill. There’s also a 26-inch version available.
This review primarily focuses on the Slow ‘N Sear® Deluxe.
Slow ‘N Sear Deluxe is 7+ pounds of high-quality 16-gauge 430 stainless steel, making it sturdy enough to endure rough handling and extremely high temperatures.
It promises 8+ hours of uninterrupted low ‘n slow cooking.
Why do you need it?
Slow ‘N Sear helps you achieve 2-zone cooking on a Kamado or Weber Kettle grill in a hassle-free manner. That’s it.
But can’t you set up 2-zone cooking on a kettle grill yourself?
Absolutely you can, but not as efficiently as with the Slow ‘N Sear addon. For instance, you can do a snake method setup to smoke briskets, yet the manual work is time-taking, and adding fuel is difficult. Above all, such methods are not fail-safe.
So, if you want to achieve this in a set-up-and-forget-it way, you need the Slow ‘N Sear accessory or some other BBQ accessories.
Traditionally, to set up a 2-zone fire on a kettle grill, you must set up a cool zone with no coals and a hot zone with coals strategically placed in the minion or charcoal snake arrangement.
You can also place the coals haphazardly in one-half of the fire chamber with varying degrees of results.
Here are a number of ways you can use it to cook any food to perfection:
Slow ‘N Sear finds its best use in 2-zone cooking. 2-zone cooking is a technique that even connoisseurs don’t claim to have mastered. But with the Slow ‘N Sear Deluxe, you can rush in where experienced grillers fear to trade. Not saying you don’t need to learn the art and science of controlling airflow and keep flipping over the steaks at regular intervals, only that you’ll need to do so much less often.
All you need to do is lift up the top cooking grate of your kettle, place the Slow ‘N Sear inside on the bottom grate on one side, fill it with charcoal, light up one or two coals, and then place the top grate back. Now you place your steaks above the Slow ‘N Sear on the top grate, adjust the top and bottom vents, and return the grill lid to its place.
You can place veggies on the other side–either on the upper or lower grate– to cook them low and slow over indirect heat. You can also reverse sear your steaks by cooking them in the indirect heat zone and then placing them over direct heat. Slow ‘N Sear is exceptionally good at concentrating heat, so you need to be careful not to turn the meat into charcoal. To prevent this, keep flipping over the steaks after regular intervals.
For smoking on the Slow ‘N Sear, you need a 2-zone setup, as mentioned previously. You can place an aluminum foil or a drip pan under the meat and place it on the upper or lower grate. Now add the coals to the Slow ‘N Sear and light them up. Once fully lit, place 2-3 wood chunks over the coals and add water to the reservoir.
Cold grate sear technique
The Slow ‘N Sear does a great job when you want to charr your steak evenly using the cold grate sear technique. Rotating your Weber grill grates over the high-heat area is pretty easy. You can simply rotate the grates to position the cold area over the burning charcoal before placing your steak.
Getting into the Interesting Parts of Our Review
Here we begin with our actual, eye-opening review of a $100 charcoal basket for Weber Kettle and Kamado grills.
What are the Claimed Benefits of Using a Slow ‘N Sear?
If you go through the claims made by the manufacturers, several pit masters/home chefs/backyard grillers already believe them. A few of these are:
- It’s easy to use–yes, it is!
- It’s fuel-efficient: the charcoal burns for 8 hours without needing to refill the basket–only a test can confirm it!
- The water reservoir is beneficial to keep food moist–but why so overpriced?
- The Slow ‘N Sear allows you to easily switch between high-heat searing and low-and-slow cooking–other accessories like BBQ Vortex and charcoal basket can also do it.
Are these benefits fully justified for the price?
For instance, the water reservoir is the only beneficial part of Slow ‘N Sear’s design compared to other accessories like Weber Charcoal basket. This v-shaped water reservoir acts as a thermal barrier besides supplying steam to keep your meat from drying.
Is it worth paying $100 to get this 1-quart capacity water reservoir as a steam source?
To help you understand how Slow ‘N Sear’s charcoal basket has been pretty misleading, we’ve come up with some research.
Let’s break down our findings about the $100 worth accessory of Slow ‘N Sear that we’ve borrowed from MeatCranium BBQ AND REVIEW. He conducted parallel tests between two charcoal grill accessories for temperature efficiency: Slow ‘N Sear and Weber Charcoal Basket, and then with the snake method as well.
The fuel efficiency of Slow N’ Sear is just bragging.
Slow N’ Sear charcoal kit claims to burn charcoal efficiently. These grill accessories ought to do so.
Does it overdo it?
If you compare the charcoal burn rate as tested in this head-to-head comparison of Slow ‘N sear vs. Charcoal Basket, Slow N’ Sear proves less efficient. The coals burn faster; also, the heat supply is not as long as claimed for 8 hours.
A water reservoir as a thermal barrier is unnecessary.
Yes, it’s unnecessary, especially if you must pay just $60 for the water reservoir. Instead, you can place an aluminum foil container with hot water near the charcoal basket. It’ll only cost you a few cents–you’ve been saved.
The temperature increase rate is significantly slow.
Let’s be scientists for a while!
The charcoal basket has more vents for quick air circulation on opposite sides, allowing more heat production. Likewise, the BBQ vortex also allows direct air from the bottom vents, resulting in high heat.
Conversely, the Slow ‘N Sear basket only gets air vents in the bottom, and the opposite side has no vents from the water container. Besides this, it’s also placed in the kettle at the side. This is why the air coming from the Kettle’s bottom vents doesn’t feed the fire directly. Resultantly the temperature rises much more slowly, as you can see in the test above.
The temperature efficiency is clickbait.
Other charcoal grill accessories can perform better if you want to sear steaks often. And, among them, BBQ Vortex is at the top. Unfortunately, because of the slow temperature increase rate, the Slow ‘N Sear grill basket proves inefficient.
So, what should you do?
Don’t fall victim to affiliate marketers praising this $100 accessory for earning them more commission.
Have it only if you really love to add luxury accessories to your backyard grilling stock.
Go for other cost-effective, half-the-price, equally efficient accessories keeping your needs in view. For example:
- You can better use a Weber Charcoal Basket, which will burn 2X time longer and produce higher heat for your 2-zone cooking. You can opt for Weber Charcoal Basket if you love the delectable taste of slowly smoked large meat cuts like brisket. And as for a thermal barrier, you can simply place your meat away from the charcoal basket.
- And if you want to sear steaks, use BBQ Vortex for high-concentrated heat in a 2-zone setting, or cook your veggies, chicken thighs, and burgers. However, the Vortex can be of no help for smoking large meat cuts.
In a nutshell, before breaking the bank, please assess your needs. Instead of spending $100 on replaceable bbq accessories, it’s better to save half the amount and add other accessories to your Kamado or Kettle grills, like Weber Gourmet BBQ Sear Grate.
Slow ‘N Sear Charcoal Basket is not as amazing as advertised!
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