Grilling Tips - Hot & Fast vs Low & Slow
Grill Tip from Pitmaster Ryan
In today's BBQ there have been many debates about the difference between Hot & Fast vs Low & Slow cooking methods. Let’s break it down and talk about the pros and cons.
Hot & Fast Cooking Method
Hot & Fast refers to the technique of taking what traditionally would be a low & slow style cook and running at higher temps to complete the recipe. This method definitely has its benefits, in the fact your physical time spent during the cook is much shorter; however, the protein typically does not take on as much of the smoke adding to less flavor.
A great example of this would be running a full packer Brisket at 350°F vs 225-250°F. The brisket will cook faster, allowing for more predictability in time, but it will definitely not soak up as much smoke flavor. This results in not as much depth of flavor to the meat. You may run into issues with rendering the internal fat properly, as well, not allowing the muscle tissues and fibers to break down over time. This will possibly result in a tough cut of meat due to not as much moisture retention.
The big key in the hot & fast method is the rest. The rest is crucial to ensuring as much moisture retention as possible. Do not slice into the protein until it has had ample time to come backdown in temp to approximately 140°F. This applies to all large cuts of meat.
Low & Slow Cooking Method
Low & Slow is the traditional BBQ method used by most pit-masters and backyard BBQ hero’s today. It maximizes flavor development and allows the meat to maintain the maximum amount of moisture over a long period of time.
Low & Slow methodology does take time, so unless you can set aside at least 13-18 hrs of your day, don’t utilize this method. The process of slowly raising the internal temp of the meat over time, helps to properly render fat and break down muscle tissue to maximize texture and flavor. Rushing this process will moves into the realm of hot & fast, thus the possibility of a tough cut.
Make sure you properly wrap and rest your large cuts of meat to ensure the most moisture retention. Do not slice into the protein until the internal temp comes back down around 140°F.
I will always recommend the low & slow method over hot & fast, as it has produced the best results for me.
If you don’t have the time, hot & fast can be utilized, just take into account a few things to help you be successful.
- Get a high quality cut. Prime would be recommended to ensure high fat marbling.
- Run your grill or smoker between 325-350°F.
- Remove the protein from the grill or smoker once it is probe tender and allow it to sit out at room temp to stop the cooking process is a must, typically 15-20 minutes.
- While still in the wrap or disposable roasting pan, place into a cooler and let the temp slowly come down to the magic 140-145°F internal temp before slicing.
- The rest is probable the most important factor to consider in both methods, ensuring a nice juice slice in each cut.