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Grilling writers block: too much slow n’ sear/indirect cooking?


Joined May 31, 2018
Odd question that’s been circulating in my head recently, don’t know quite how to phrase it but here goes nothing, you guys always give great advice.

I’ve been grilling or smoking very regularly since buying our house a little better than a year ago when I also treated myself to a 26” Kettle with a slow n’ sear.

Lately I’ve felt my cooking, particularly my grilling, has hit a bit of a brick wall. Grilling writer’s block, if you will. I’m thinking part of the reason for this is because of the pattern of cooking I’ve developed with the slow n’ sear. It makes indirect cooking SO easy that I’ve become a slave to the method, every time whether I’m making steaks, burgers, chicken, whatever, it’s the same pattern. Load up the slow n sear with a chimney of lit charcoal, let the grill warm up for a bit, place food on the indirect side for 15-30 minutes depending on what I’m cooking, quick sear (or not, depending on type of food), serve. Results are consistently pretty good, sometimes great, but I feel like I must be missing out on some of the finer points of grilling, particularly over direct heat. I’m so indoctrinated in this more controlled method that at this point I wouldn’t dare attempt steaks, even thin ones, directly over the coals for the duration of a cook.

Is there such a thing as too much indirect heat grilling? Perhaps I need to ditch the slow n sear for awhile and play with different charcoal arrangements, medium heat zones, etc?

Not knocking the slow n sear at all, I love mine. It’s a fabulous tool and makes smoking on the kettle a breeze. I just feel that I’ve become such a slave to this indirect grilling method and need to experiment a little more.


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jan 27, 2021
Not sure if this will help at all, as I am in the propane smoker and propane grill. But it can be easy to get comfortable to do anything the same way if it works great most of the time .
So like you said just experiment, try new and or old ways . Change it up with the heats and the foods. try it outside the box , just so its not the same

Now , I hope I said that right and nothing I said was out of line.



Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Joined Oct 18, 2016
Funny, I have been thinking the same lately with my smoking. My rotation seems to be ribs, pulled pork, and sometimes chicken. They're all great, but I feel like I need to broaden my horizons a bit. Been doing some reverse seared steaks lately and those have been fantastic, and I've got my burgers down to a great recipe too.

I need to try some new things as well!


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Feb 4, 2009
As the old adage says: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"

If you are happy with the results, why bother?

However, there are other approaches and some give great results as well.

So, if you have the time to tweak and try other techniques, go for it.

But I like sticking with what I'm comfortable with.

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Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Aug 3, 2015
Im of the opinion that if you feel like you want to try something else then you should. I don't see anything wrong with sticking to what works for you, but one of the things I enjoy about smoking/BBQ/Grill/etc is that there is endless things to try. Its also the reason i love this forum, there is a lot of inspiration from ingredients to rigs and gadgets. It really comes down to your time and desire to try something new. If you feel like you want a different challenge go for it!


Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jan 18, 2021
Most of my cooks, whether direct or indirect come out really well so my family keeps requesting it. Beef and pork roasts, ribs, chicken, etc. They don't want me to change it up much and that makes me happy with what I'm doing. I do like to experiment with different side dishes though. Another thing that keeps it interesting is trying different recipes that get posted here. So many great cooks to try by so many great people.


Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Nov 9, 2019
Sometimes easy to get stuck in a rut...not that you're in one but as others have said, switch it up a little. You might ask yourself why did I do that? Ya just never know. Sometimes we forget about tools we have...for instance, I haven't used my sous vide in forever! And I'll probably catch hell for this but not everything needs to be smoked or grilled. I think about a year ago someone made enchiladas and suddenly there was about 10 enchiladas threads (might have been a bit much! Lol) Or step out of your comfort zone and try something new... having to order a pizza isn't always a bad thing.



Fire Starter
Joined Dec 25, 2012
I have the same problem, but it's not the food quality that's the issue. It's the fact that a thirty minute indirect and a quick sear just doesn't allow time enough for proper beveraging (yes, it can be used as a verb). A friend solved the problem by having a separate charcoal starter going. When the inevitable "Honey, is it done yet?" comes from the house, he adds that charcoal and puts the meat on. The first load is just smoke, mirrors and beer.


Master of the Pit
Joined Feb 25, 2016
As the old adage says: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"

If you are happy with the results, why bother?

However, there are other approaches and some give great results as well.

So, if you have the time to tweak and try other techniques, go for it.

But I like sticking with what I'm comfortable with.

Very true and to an extent I agree. Then again if you haven’t tried something new, try it. Try a brisket with a charcoal snake set up? Try something you haven’t done. Expand your horizons.
Primerib, toss out ideas you want try. Everyone here will help it come out great for you.


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Apr 13, 2010
It's easy to get stuck in in the rut of "I'm doing it this way because it always works" . I don't post everything I do here, but I get bored with sameness, and am always looking for different ways to cook.

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