Low & Slow - Gary Wiviott

Discussion in 'Smoking Books, Videos, Magazines' started by nysmokes, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. nysmokes

    nysmokes Fire Starter

    Just wondering what everyone thinks about this book. I got it over the winter to read, keep my head in the game. Do people like his instructions and method.

    In the next week or so I am hoping to try it out (as long as I can get the WSM approval from the wife). He does have instructions for using the Weber Kettle, which was his least favorite of the three he discusses.

    Let me know your thoughts - I liked the way the book was done, and if it produces good results - thats all you can ask for.

  2. chisoxjim

    chisoxjim Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great book, right up there with Peace, Love and BBQ imho. [​IMG]

    The recipes for sides, etc in back are just a bonus.

    Disclaimer, I know Gary, and have broken bread & bent an elbow with him a few times. He also loaned me a WSM this past summer to help convince me it is the best smoker around.
  3. just got the book.... so far so good
  4. Read it from my local library.  It is a great read.  Ironic thing is that I am writing about it on a 'bbq forum' when he discourages getting advice from forums.  [​IMG]
  5. bbally

    bbally Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I understand him advising to stay away from Forums for advice.

    While the mid level aficionados come to these sites and share ideas and testing and experiments and generally have enough knowledge to sort out the crap from the real stuff.

    The newbie that comes to a forum site and starts looking through the information has no idea how to tell the crap from the real stuff.  Let alone know what is really safe to do or not.

    While some websites do a pretty good job of titling people or somehow qualifying them so a newbie has some idea of who to listen to and who is insane, very few do so.  In fact many are run as a free for all and the only moderation or qualification of the information is how well the poster gets along with the moderators team.  I have repeatedly observed some of the worst and dangerous information available on many many forums.

    While I pick the sites I participate on by the moderation teams willingness to remove crap information, not many site teams are willing to tell people they are wrong.  They live in fear of the dreaded Middle School Post  "I am all done with this site" which to me says you just want attention and think you are so important that no one would want you to take your ball and bat and go home, if you really are done with the site just leave, don't post about it cause I don't care what your narcissistic problem is, I only care about given good information to people trying to find answers.

    So I totally understand the statement in that book.... it is very dangerous for a newbie to take information online if they don't have the experience to sort crap from fact.
  6. coacher72

    coacher72 Smoking Fanatic

    I've enjoyed the book. It along with this forum helped me get started. It also has some pretty good recipes to try.
  7. my cousin swears by it!

    i actually think it's the only book on his night stand.

    he loves his WSM and cringes each time i bring up my gas smoker [​IMG]
  8. erik

    erik Fire Starter

    It's the book I wish I had when I first started. It's got great info in it to get up and running. I still got a lot out of it, but man that book should be the BBQ newbie primer.
  9. coacher72

    coacher72 Smoking Fanatic

    I like the book as well. I really like some of the recipes he has included in the book.
  10. I'm just getting started with my new smoker (WSM) and given that the book is geared toward the WSM, I purchased the book and read it.  I thought it was a good book.  It might be a little too "preachy" for some, but as I usually do, I took what I felt was good information and applied it to my own knowledge and technique.  I am happy to say that I have had great success thus far.  Def worth the read, especially if you are new to smoking and/or the WSM.

  11. sam3

    sam3 Smoking Fanatic

    Bumping an old post because I just got the book myself. My "Q" game is lacking, so I might as well start from scratch. Going to read it front to back first, then give it a go.
  12. I too actually.. just bought the book at the same time as purchasing my new WSM 18.. which I can't wait to use.. I have read through the first chapter and have really enjoyed it so far.. I have no other similar books for comparison but it seems like a good read..
  13. bgray

    bgray Fire Starter

    I know that this is an old thread, but I started smoking with this book, and found it to be pretty beneficial.

    Granted, I found his writing style to be a little off-putting, but he spells it out for a beginner.  He makes way too many absolutes....such as lump is the only way, he says that you absolutely cannot smoke on an electric or gas smoker, among with other things.  There were portions of his book that I took with a grain of salt, for sure.

    I'm using a Napoleon Apollo, which is nearly identical to the WSM, and his methods on the WSM translated perfectly to my Apollo.

    I also like how his recipes are generally simple.  Aimed at beginners.  He basically eliminates unnecessary portions and focuses on the fundamentals, but still gives you a great tasting recipe.  His Mojo Chicken and Brined Chicken were delicious.  And he starts with these recipes because chicken is not a real demanding cook.  Maybe 2-3 hours of temp monitoring, instead of 10-14 with a pork butt.  But he does get to Babybacks, Spares, and then Pork Butt last.  By the time I got to the pork butt recipe, I really felt like I was ready for a 12 hour cook, and I was....and it turned out awesome!

    I will confess that I didn't follow the "program" to a T.  I did use my Maverick to monitor the cooker and meat temps even when he told me not to.  I prefer briquettes over lump (only because I have a very cheap source for briquettes, but not for lump).  However, keep in mind that I was using a different cooker, not a WSM, so I was not sure at all if the methods would have translated to this cooker.  It turned out that they did just fine.

    So yes, if you are new and are wanting to get the fundamentals down, or if you want to refresh your fundamentals, I found this to be a pretty darn good book.  And when it comes to a WSM, or Apollo like mine, I haven't found a better book on cooking methods, maintaining temp, etc, than this book, which is not easy for someone with zero skills.
  14. ok I feel better I like the book too but can't shake the idea of using a Maverick thermomter to get grate temp and meat temp. I probably will use thermometer as well but follow everything else
  15. emon1

    emon1 Newbie

    i am also interested to read this book!  i think i will learn more from this book .!

    thanks for sharing 
  16. brazosbrian

    brazosbrian Smoke Blower

    I thought I'd post since it sounds like I'm the only guy saving his money for the WSM and am doing his best with a good ol' Weber 22" Kettle for now.  So far, I'm pretty happy and am about done with the brining section, about to delve into the ribs section.  My impressions, and questions so far:

    1. The kettle runs hot.   The classic Weber kettle has oblong vents on the bottom that appear to be far too large.  While I continued to keep the top vent wide open and centered over the meat (as instructed), I had to reduce the charcoal load by at least a full third and had to tweak the bottom vents until they are about 80% or more closed in order to get a grill-level temperature of around 275 F ...in 36 degree weather.  I'm using Royal Oak 100% All Natural Hardwood Lump Charcoal (American made) since here in Alaska, our only other lump charcoal choice is some poorly ranked brand using Brazilian wood of some kind.  Maybe the Royal Oak stuff runs hot?  Dunno.  I didn't measure temperatures until doing the brining method, as suggested in the book (I'm trying to be a good little student).  To measure temperature, I bought a Weber brand grill replacement thermometer and drilled a hole in the side of the lid just above the lip, and mounted the thermometer there.  This holds the probe inside at about 1" above the grill ...meat level.  I verified the reading with an oven thermometer and they read within 5 degrees of each other ...close 'nuf to trust.

    2. After successfully cooking chicken halves (5# birds - fairly large) at 275 F until the interior of the breast meat hit at least 175 F, I found that (the extra juicy brined) meat nearest the bone still looked reddish/pinkish and not cooked.  It had the texture of cooked meat, but the color was a little off-putting, and the chicken was literally running with (clear) juice after using Gary's basic brine.  QUESTION: Is this just a matter of cooking the chicken longer?  Like wait until my Instant Read thermometer hits 180 F or a little more?  Could be that my thermometer is not accurate, but I'm just wondering if this is a normal observation or whether I should let the meat heat up a bit longer?

    3. Gary seems to enjoy a lot of smoke ...OR my wood chunks are bigger than his.  We cut the wood chunk recommendation in half and still find it plenty smoky, and the meat still has a substantial smoke ring.  My wife says "the chicken tastes like ham" (she's not a fan of ham), so I'll likely continue to reduce the smoke to something with lighter touch... but this is all personal preference.  Just a heads up to those that like a light touch...


  17. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I can't really help you with number one as I don't have that grill. Try less fuel if you're trying to get lower temps and play with your vent settings. Per the FDA poultry is fully cooked when the meat reaches an IT of 165° either in the thigh or breast. I never take my chicken past this temp. Smoked poultry will have a reddish-pink tinge to it from the smoking process. The brine is probably the main culprit in making your chicken taste like ham, not the smoking process. I would suggest you test your meat therm for accuracy, and for that matter any therm you use including your pit therms. To do this boil water and place the tip of the probe in the water. Depending on your altitude you should be really close to 212°. A few degrees off is okay. 5+ degrees off and you need to note that discrepancy and adjust accordingly when cooking. One more note, you don't need to brine to get juicy moist meat. If your poultry isn't overcooked it will be nice and moist. Always let your meat rest before slicing. For poultry a loose foil wrap for 30-45 mins is all you need. In my opinion chicken benefits from a higher temp quicker smoke. Check out this thread of mine:

    Last edited: Dec 12, 2014
  18. brazosbrian

    brazosbrian Smoke Blower

    Dirt Sailor...

    Thanks for responding!  I'll read your post in a sec ...but here's an update that some may find useful:

    1. Kettle runs hot ...Yes, it does, and I'm not going to blame the charcoal.  I've done a lot of research since my original post, and the charcoal is a very good one ...The real problem is the use of a kettle (any kettle).  BUT it can be 'fixed'.  First thing that I did was to drill a hole in the lid just above the rim and put a Weber grill thermometer through it so I can monitor the temperature in the 'meat zone'.  Second, I can now run my kettle at 225 to 250 F by adding a lot of additional water to the kettle.  I now use TWO aluminum loaf pans above the coals, kind of nudged closer to the meat to help avoid direct radiant heat on the meat, and I have a large aluminum drip pan that I place below the meat and fill 2/3rds with water.  Not sure on the dimensions on the drip pan ...but it is about 90% the width of the kettle in the long direction, and a little less than half the width in the other ...say, about 18" long by 10" wide, and maybe 4" deep.  You have to bend the corners in pretty good to help the drip pan match the curved side of the kettle.  The drip pan also keeps a lot of the chicken grease out of the ashes, and therefore makes the kettle easier to keep clean.  With this set-up, it runs at around 250 F with the bottom vent about half open and the top vent all the way open, using the full charcoal load recommended by Wiviott (2/3rds can unlit with 1/2 can lit on top).  NOW... I do NOT reduce the amount of coals in the kettle ...as it is, it needs a half can refresh with lit coals every hour or so throughout the cook, and 2 chicken halves take about 3 hours to cook ...I will enjoy my WSM when I get it!  The kettle just doesn't allow enough of a charcoal reserve to burn down through.

    2. Chicken temperature issues ...I now measure at the deepest point in the thigh and find it to be superior to the breast for tracking doneness.  I also, about halfway through the cook, rotate the grill around so the bottom of the chicken gets roasted over the coals for 5 to 8 minutes (max) and this helps prevent the 'almost looks like blood' juiciness at the core of the thigh and breast, even though the meat was fully cooked (175 F).  Haven't calibrated the thermometer ...but will soon!

    3. Ham flavored chicken ....Too much smoke was the issue.  I use about 1/3rd what I was using and now it's perfect!  Kind of inexperienced with wood chunks, the pieces that I was putting in were just too large... "When you know better ...you do better!"

    Graduating to ribs next weekend... I passed all the chicken tests!


Share This Page