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Hot and Fast Vs. Low and Slow

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I have always smoked my bbq low and slow…225-250 for long amounts of time. However, I was watching a man in a bbq competition the other day who smokes his bbq at high temps for 6-8 hrs…..we was smoking brisket when I was watching him……he says he does shoulders and butts this way as well….has anyone ever used this method before? Everything I have ever been taught has been low and slow.
post #2 of 19
I have done higher temps alot....From my experience it is the TYPE of smoker you use.Myron Mixon etc.. uses higher temps that he has a huge pan of flavored water/juice under....More direct smokers this technique is not as good IMHO....

Beef takes to the higher heat very well.One of the best brisket i ever cooked was seared and then smoked....
post #3 of 19
I usually get butts done in the 6 to 8 hour area using around 250*, after foiling I raise it up to 300* if and when needed. I've done 8 lb butts in 8 hours this way.
post #4 of 19
I have done it at higher tempetures with decent results when in a pinch. But in my opinon low and slow is the way to go.

post #5 of 19
There was a huge discussion on this topic at another forum that I am a member of and I think you'll find that cooking high and fast is more common than you might think.

But in that context, high and fast was considered 275° to 325°. When you think about oven roasting temps, that's really not that high.

Several members posted some fantastic looking briskets cooked in this range and several others reported routinely smoking butts in the 260° to 280° range.

The people who were adamantly defending low 'n slow could really only offer anecdotal evidence as to why it was preferred. None of them offered any conclusive evidence that it was superior.

One thing I can say is that the smoking process is a lot more relaxing if you let the smoker go where it wants to temp wise -- within reason of course rather than having a kitten if it goes over 230°. Some of my best ever babyback ribs spent most of their time at 245° and above and a goodly portion of the last hour at close to 280°.

Most of the pork shoulders I do I aim for 245° but I don't worry at all if the temps creep up into the 280s. Haven't tried a hot and fast brisky yet but I think the next one I do, I will be aiming for 300+. My drum is a very moist cooking environment because of it's small interior and I have seen others done this way with great results.

Like so many other things involved with cooking I think it comes down to personal preference. Give it a try and see if you like it.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Great Post Thanks!!!
post #7 of 19
I am feeling inspired after reading this post.. I have to do a pork butt tomorrow for some pulled pork sliders I am doing for a Christmas party..

I may just grab a brisket and keep it at 300° F the entire time to see how it turns out.

I just can't decide whether to use my drum smoker or my little brinkmann smoke-n-pit.

I will be using my large smoker for the pulled pork and I am going to go with the method that I KNOW works on that beautyPDT_Armataz_01_05.gif

If I don't chicken out on this, I will keep good notes per hour and what happens temperature wise as well as how long it takes and how it compares to low and slow.

I think we need to get some concrete evidence as to which method works best.
post #8 of 19
I have never tried hot and fast on pork or beef but a couple things that would concern me would be the moistness and the amount of smoke flavor. I know I have done poultry both ways and see different results such as hot and fast gives the crispy skin but not as much smoke flavor vs rubber like skin on the slow method but with a heavier smoke flavor. I think this is going to come down to a matter of personal tastes and expectations
post #9 of 19
On many of my smokes I sear at 600' on all sides and then smoke at 225' till internals are hit. Get a nice flavor on the bark.

Of course I use Yoshida's for color.icon_wink.gif
post #10 of 19
I have never done the hot and fast yet probally because if it's good at the low and slow then I'm good with that too. I have done a couple of things ribs, a small roast, and loins on a regular grill so maybe I have done the high and fast and thats one of the biggest reasons I am doing the low and slow method.
post #11 of 19
Dave....I did a butt yesterday in 30 m.p.h. gusts and the WSM averaged 260 degree with a high of 280 degree....I shoot for 260 last couple dozen...

Everything you wrote IS my experiences....Awesome write-up.

I do not foil alot anymore ,but do watch the 300 degree temps when foiling as you can boil a bit....PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #12 of 19
Do it in the drum and don't lift the lid until you think it's close. At least that's what BBQ Bubba told me to do. Haven't tried it yet though. biggrin.gif Next one though I will have to do that way.

post #13 of 19
Le (helljack6) has a good thread here about a high heat brisket. I was skeptical but gave it a try and it remains the best brisket I have done to date.

post #14 of 19
I've read a lot on the seared brisket, and will definitely try that. Never cooked pork on high heat.
I ALWAYS cook Tri-Tip on high heat. My UDS is not nearly as sophisticated as I've seen on this forum, and yes I'm getting my mileage out of this picture! My "UDS" has one vent for air on the bottom, but I cook Tri-Tip right at 400 for 45 minutes. Let them set for 15 - 20 minutes, and they are perfect.
So... Yes, high and fast does have it's place.
post #15 of 19

I did a search on Google for "low and slow vs hot and fast" and this thread was the first one that popped up.  Kewl!  I thought maybe it needed to be resurrected because there is a lot of good information in it.


I'm a newbie when it comes to smoking meat but I've been cooking for decades.  Cooking that long develops instincts.  Plus I'm an engineer by education, not vocation, so I've got an analytical side that is practically obsessive.  I've completed several low n' slow 225F smokes that all turned out great (SLC ribs, chicken, butts, chuckies).  But in the back of my mind I kept thinking about all those times I turned out great oven roasted meats at temps in the 325F to 350F range.  I started smoking at progressively higher temps up to 325F, monitoring the chamber and meat internal temperatures.  The results continued to turn out juicy and flavorful Q but in less time.  I realized that basically my Weber is just a smoky oven!


I enjoy the smoking process but there are times I don't have all day or night to smoke.  I'm quickly becoming a hot n' fast convert because so far I haven't tasted any difference in the final result.

post #16 of 19

I agree with the above statements....you would be surprised on how many do hot and fast...I really like low and slow but my briskets have never been a knockout that way.

Hot and fast really helped keep the brisket moist and beef really accepts smoke well....so I was sold pretty quickly with that method for my briskets at least.

post #17 of 19

I have gotten to where my Smoke Vault is the happiest when she is running between 260-275* and I let her roll with it.  My meats come out great...good bark and less time too.


Went and helped several Comp teams this year and most do run their cookers around 275* and the stuff is amazing.



post #18 of 19
Thread resurrection!

I'm debating this very topic as I am smoking on a BGE the majority of the time now. The Egg seems to like the 325-350 range so I was interested to read others opinions about this cook temp. I've got a 14 lb packer I have been putting off and I think I'm just going to go for it.

This is certainly a polarizing topic. Does anyone who uses the HnF method tried to no foil anything? I ask because it seems to be used in all the step by steps I have found. I have done 3 shoulders with no foil on my Egg with temps running from 325-350 (kissing 375 towards the end of the last smoke) and I can't tell a difference as long as I give them plenty of rest time. The last shoulder was 10 lbs and it was finished in about 6.5hours if I remember correctly. It pulled great after it had rested and there was almost zero unrendered fat. I'm feeling like I'm a convert and I'm anxious to try it on a brisket.
post #19 of 19
Last 9lb butt I did in my cajun electric smoker I did at max temp of 275 and it was done in about 8 or so hours and I couldn't tell any difference vs 225 and it cooking all night and half the next day
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