It’s All About Slow and Low
We Cook Hot and fast, yeah we love fire and want to put metal to the pedal but the food is already dead, no need to kill it again.
Sure, hot and fast is sometimes the best way to go, but most of the time slow and low is better. A combination of both techniques called the reverse sear is the best of all.
The overall goal is to get a rich dark sear on the outside with tender, juicy, moist, meat on the inside with a combination of countless complex flavours caused by the Maillard reaction and caramelization. In order to achieve this it is important to understand the heat from outside the food cooks the exterior, however, the interior of the food is cooked by the exterior sear.
When to use hot and fast
Rule of thumb is the thicker the food the lower the temperature and the thinner the food the hotter the grill should be. Hot and fast works for thin, skinny foods like thin chicken fillets or thinly cut steak. If your meat is 3/4 inch or less hot and fast is the way to go. If you want a good dark brown sear (and you do) you need high heat to make that sear without overcooking the interior.
To cook hot and fast you need to place the meat on the direct zone and crank up the heat , you want the lid open so the radiant heat comes from below. Turn the meat often!
Slow and low is used for thick cuts of meat that need a long grilling process in order to heat the centre at an optimum temperature. First do a quick hot sear to seal the cut then place your meat on the indirect zone, leaving room between them so the smoke can penetrate all angles. You should make sure the temperature stays between 200 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the meat you’re using. Setting your burners to low or medium should help maintain this temperature.
The amount of time it takes to cook your meat depends on what kind and how thick it is. For instance, ribs will likely take between 3 and 4 hours, while a brisket or a pork shoulder may take 12 to 14 hours. Either way, be prepared to be staying close to the barbecue the whole time.