Low and slow...the myth.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by fatty patty, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Good point.
  2. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I will still be a 'Low 'n Slow' type of guy , why , I'm a  Fat , Old , Lazy type and like to do it "Oldschool" [​IMG]

    I do my "Queing" for leisure and relaxation. It's not a job that I have to worry about , so ...[​IMG]

    Have fun and . . .   
  3. I don't cook anything low and slow (by my definition below 225)...simple reason really, there is no way I could stand cooking a brisket or shoulder 20 hrs ±.  I would get bored to death and cranky and couldn't stay up all night and function the next day and the wife doesn't like it when I get cranky.  I usually smoke between 240 and 275 except for poultry which is in the 275 to 300 area unless it is in with something else.  My pork butts take around 8 hrs and brisket is about 10.  If I hit a bad stall I either crank the heat for a bit to get through it or put it in a pan and cover it.  Why, because this is what works for me and still produces great results and allows me to still enjoy the hobby and have a happy home life.  It also saves me a lot of $$ on wood not having to run the smoker for twice as long.  The argument is really pretty easy...if you enjoy the long smokes at low temps and like the results, then do it that way.  If  you like it shorter with higher temps and like the results, then do it that way.  They are both proven methods that work.

    Multiple choice question:  What is a proper way to smoke food?

    A:  Low and Slow

    B:  Hot and Fast

    C: Both A and B above

    answer:  C.
  4. AMEN !!! Brother... This is truth!
  5. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I say do whatever it takes to get the results you want in the situation at hand. If you love tending a fire for hours on end and have the time, by all means go for it. It's a fun and relaxing way to spend a day. If, however, you have people expecting to be fed at a certain time, or you just don't have the luxury of a full day to spend making dinner, crank up the heat and take the appropriate measures to get that hunk of meat done in far less time. A little flexibility and planning and you can get consistent results no matter what method you use.
  6. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

  7. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My thoughts on the subject.

    I agree with

    Foamheart Post #15 Sounds to me like the thread itself was baiting an argument.

    And I was going to stay clear of this thread since to OP did a hit and Run, but the thread turned into a pretty decent discussion.

     From SQWIB POST #9 Folks always confuse Low and Slow with smoking, they are two entirely different things and therefore should not be used interchangeably.

    @Hickory Butt post #14 I'd be curious to see what the 'official' definitions of the words are. Is there a widely accepted agreement on what these words actually mean?

    It is subjective and to be honest I don't care if these are defined anywhere but for me and as far as temps go, Low and Slow and Smoking are two entirely different things, you can cook Low and Slow in a Crock pot, Sous Vide, Smoker, Oven or in the ground such as a Luau to name a few.

    Smoking can be done at any temperature here's a few, cold smoking, hot smoking, fast and hot. Smoking can be used to cure foods, I do my Buckboard Bacon at 50° for 36 hours.

    I consider Smoking to cure or infuse smoke flavor into food.

    @FWIsmoker Post #13 All HOGWASH lol.

    I'd love to know where smoking stops and cooking begins. Lol

    My opinion is Smoking and Cooking should not be used in place of each other but can be used together.

    @ Diesel post #16 Yes.. I was wrong with when using the word "cooking"

    No you were not wrong, when applying heat you are cooking period!

    noun: cooking

    1. the practice or skill of preparing food by combining, mixing, and heating ingredients.
    @FWIsmoker POST #17 These so called definitions are all subjective and will always be subjective.


    @Timberjet Post#19 Boy, I hate to step into the line of fire here but to me, smoking meat is all about adding smoked flavor to the meat, That is my opinion as well.

    But this is where I say it's Low and Slow...two different beasts... rendering fat into the meat and break down connective tissue while ending up with a quality finished product. That's not to say you cant smoke low and slow but smoking does not always mean low and slow and vice versa.

    @Hickorybutt post # 21

    I should have had the foresight to just stay off of this topic based on how the original poster started the conversation to begin with

    That was my initial intention as well, but since folks are still going back and forth I felt I would add my 2 cents...as usual lol.

    @Nouboundaries post #30 Found this in Wikipedia. Seems to fit this discussion.

    I'd have to agree somewhat especially for the Pit Roasting for me anyhow. That is why I always try to refer to my cooking on the Pit as Pit Cooking at temps around 250° - 450° and when using my GOSM I feel I am HOT Smoking although my temps are usually 200-250° unless of course I am cold smoking.

    @tjs231 post #40 I use the slow-n-low time as an excuse to not do anything else except enjoy beers.

    True, I try to look at the time on my pit as MY TIME.

    I go into every cook with the following in mind.

    You get up before the sun, head out to the pit, it is dark but the darkness is welcome, it makes you feel like you are in your own world.

    You open up the firebox door and start a fire. It is very still and dry out, the fire burns upward.

    It is silent, almost a deafening quiet, no birds, no airplanes or cars, no air conditioners, the only thing that is heard through the silence is the crackling of the fire, you glance at the temperature gauge on the wall and it reads 36°, you think to yourself , "that's cold", but the warmth from the pit is comforting and you are not cold.

    The light from the fire cuts through the dark giving the area a warm soothing glow and the smell from the freshly ignited wood makes you close your eyes and inhale deeply, you loose yourself for a minute, at this point you know its going to be a great day.

    You head upstairs and grab the pork, once at the pit, you unwrap the pork and get hit with another welcomed smell... it's of your rub, as you gaze at the slather that has developed from the rub mixing with the meat juices you are fighting the urge to swipe the gooey goodness with your finger and taste it like you would icing on a birthday cake, the whole time saying to yourself, "life is great".

    The fire settles down, you look over your shoulder and notice the glow of the sun peeking through the trees.

    You set up your pit and place your treasure into the pit, you close the pit and head upstairs to grab a coffee and back out to the pit.
    You then place your favorite chair by your firebox and gaze at the thermometer and it is now 42°.

    As you sip on your coffee you get a faint smell of your rub alongside a bit of smoke smell, now you get anxious... you spring up and take a peek... not much going on but you take a minute to admire your treasure.

    A little while passes and you add some more wood to the fire, as the fire crackles you hear a sizzling sound, you spring up out of your chair and pop open the pit,...whoosh you get plastered in the face with the first signs that your pork is on it's way, you have now just opened Pandora's box, the anticipation weighs heavily on you like a crushing force that can only be lifted by time.

    As you admire your treasure you notice the "pork gold" oozing from the surface, you know everything is as it should be and you have aligned with the universe.

    too be continued.

    Nothing is more relaxing to me than being outside tending the pit on a nice fall morning, kicking back with a fresh cup of coffee taking in all the wonderful aromas from the pit.

    As much as it is relaxing, there is also something primeval about cooking meat over a fire, there is also the satisfaction of producing a product that required so much attention and will be enjoyed by many.

    When I'm cooking on the pit, it's not just cooking, it is more of an event. Now that I look back I remember my Mother In Law would make thanksgiving dinner, I saw her slaving in a kitchen all day, but to her she was enjoying her event, she was in her element and enjoying every minute of it, to me it looked like a lot of hard work.

    When I'm cooking on the pit, folks look at me and say, "man you've been tending that pit all day, that seem like a lot of work", but I'm in my element, so I say, "its only work if you don't enjoy it".

    Here is a post from my website and this is sums up my feelings on the subject.

    I want to point out to the Smoking enthusiasts that, when Pit Cooking, my goal is not to incorporate smoke flavor, this is a welcomed by-product of cooking with hardwood and I subscribe to the belief , "less is more", when cooking on my pit. So I refer to this as "Pit Cooking", but most just call it "Smoking".

    If I want to infuse a smoke flavor I will usually use my GOSM, I usually use the GOSM for my appetizers as well..

    The following is how I approach my cooking, this is not to say that this is everyone thought but rather my opinion.

    1. Smoking, desired outcome, to infuse smoke flavor into food product.

    2. Grilling, cooking over direct heat or higher heat to achieve a Maillard Reaction, searing, charring etc...

    3. Cold Smoking, infuse smoke flavor into a food product without cooking.

    4. Low and Slow, desired outcome, to slowly cook product to render fat and break down connective tissue.

    5. Barbecue, to cook food indirectly with the use of hardwood coals (infusing smoke flavor is not the goal here but is a welcomed by product.
    4 and 5 play well together.

    So in closing this has been an interesting thread and I enjoyed seeing everyones point of view.
  8. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Any guesses on how long it took to cook these spare ribs?   
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  9. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

    Did a brisket last week.

    131F, 72 hours in a super thin TBS PID smoker.

    Moist, pink medium done fork tender beef. 

    Will do this again for sure.

    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  10. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Under two hours using high heat.
  11. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Now how could that be if they aren't burnt or charred, are juicy, had smoke ring,  used no foil and had a very sugary rub ?       
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  12. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    70 [email protected] 450+°


    Rib Rub:

    • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
    • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
    • 2 tablespoons onion powder
    • 1 tablespoons white pepper
    • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon dry mustard, such as Coleman's 
    • 1 tablespoon course black pepper
    • 5 teaspoons seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
    • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
    Mop (The mop is thin, so for three racks 1 cup total should be enough).
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce


    BBQ Sauce:

    • 3 cups ketchup
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 cup rice wine vinegar OK to substitute with Cider Vinegar
    • 1/2 cup stone ground mustard OK to substitute with yellow mustard
    • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
    • 1 tablespoon sea salt

    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  13. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Squib 85 minutes with Simply Marvelous (super sugary) and cooked the last 15 minutes with a sugary homemade apple cider vinegar bbq glaze.  They were probe tender at 1 hour or so but i had to sauce and cook that on a little. 

    It's pretty much inconceivable for people to think you can get smoke ring, tasty juicy non burnt ribs in that time frame.  Ribs that are award winning good.    Ribs just aren't L&S anymore!
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  14. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    Here's a question along the same line that I have asked myself repeatedly;

    It is often said that after 4 hours meat can no longer absorb any additional smoke (personally, not so sure I believe it).  That being true, why would you continue smoking your meat all those long hours?
  15. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LOL I figured under 2 by the looks of the pic...less rendering I lovem like that.

    Most folks here wont believe us but my Fast and Hot have been my favorite to date, plus I can have tasty ribs from fridge to plate in under two hours!!!

    Has more of a steak texture, what was your cook temp?
  16. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The smoke ring stops.

    Smoke flavor will apply as long as you add smoke but in my opinion the quality of smoke flavor at a certain point deteriorates rapidly.
  17. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    There's two things to take into account.:

    One smoke ring technically can form to appx 170* is what scientist now say.  I wouldn't confuse smoke ring with smoke absorption though.  

    Secondly with regard to extended smoking times there is a reason why people will foil their meat after so many hours... Reason is so it doesn't get any more dark/burnt on the outside.    Smoke is supposed to be a seasoning also it isn't really smoke that adds flavor but rather just the combustion gasses.   I'd rather have a cook where i can't really see any smoke vs when i can. 

    Exposed meat in a smoker will continue to get darker and darker in there even when the smoke is thin.   Give me a fraction of the time with the "invisible smoke" than with a low smoldering fire for 10-20 hours.     Too often people show off meteorite black meat and say "GREAT BARK"        Some cookers will produce a little black such as doing a brisket 15 hours on a stick burner but that's not what i'm talking about.  I'm talking about black scorched ribs and thick meteorite black pork butt.    The mahogany color should be the goal and you don't get that with extended smokes unless you are covering it part of the cook but if it's covered for hours then why smoke it for those extra hours.  
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  18. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is why I always say, "Folks always confuse Low and Slow with smoking, they are two entirely different things and therefore should not be used interchangeably. I am not saying you specifically but many use the two interchangeably.

    If you are applying smoke you can stop using wood after you achieve your desired results, it may be one hour or 4 hours...your choice but if using a stickburner you just keep using wood till its done. I have on occasion switched to propane to finish a cook.
  19. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014
  20. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Actually it renders about as much as slow ribs i think.... All i know is they are tender and juicy.     An hour and half including prep time for meat and smoker for imho award winning ribs ...you just can't beat that with a stick! [​IMG]     Temps are hard to explain (I will later) but they average maybe 450-500* but times it's well over 600* 
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2014

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