Snake Method vs Slow ‘N Sear Efficiency Test | Epic BBQ Showdown Ep #1

Snake Method vs Slow ‘N Sear Efficiency Test using identical kettles, amounts of charcoal, and thermostatic controllers to scientifically prove whether the Slow ‘N Sear combined with a Kettle Charcoal Grill is more efficient than a Kettle Charcoal Grill set up to smoke meat using the “Snake” method.

Notes for this comparison.

Weather was Sunny and 96 F at 2 PM when test began. Temps maxed at 99 F at 6 PM then slowly drifted down to 75 F by 3 AM, which is when the Snake Method kettle ran out of charcoal. The weather continued to stay in the 73 F to 75 F range while the Slow ’N Sear equipped kettle maintained 225 F until it ran out of charcoal at 6:30 AM. We suspect the efficiency test difference would have been even more dramatic if the temperatures had not cooled off and remained cool after the Snake method kettle ran out of charcoal. We also suspect the difference would be more dramatic in cooler weather.

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Find more info on the Slow ‘N Sear here:

Like the thermometer we used? Find out more here:


SL says:

after seeing this video I went to buy one and found out it’s $255 – $280 Australian dollars…. snake method will do just fine for me

SJ Farrell says:

In my experience, the snake method works as long as you have quality briquettes and a bit of patience. The SnS is quick, clean and you can use less than premium briquettes. I live in the UK and you have to spend good money getting quality charcoal and briquettes. And it is excellent at searing steaks, vegetables etc. I have done longer cooks on my Weber: beef ribs, pulled pork, lamb joints, you name it, and the results are always consistent. If you are using a Weber kettle BBQ, the SnS is a must buy.

Russyl Royer says:

Nice test. I did my own test ( with a brisket and beef ribs) and my 26″ kettle with the SLS and griddle products coupled with Kingsford Long Lasting Charcoal held 225 for 22 hours without a need to add more charcoal. The products are well worth the money.

S Sayre says:

I would like to see the comparison without the use of a temperature controller.

No Way says:

The only part of this I HATE is when you blast the music during your B-roll. Other than that good video.

Calzadafamily6 says:

Really.? The coals against the kettle were ,UCD warmer than the coals insulated in the Slow and Sear? Too funny

Red Cow Entertainment says:

Awesome! Now when people comment on my Slow N Sear videos about how the snake method is better and cheaper, I can link this video as a reply! Great video! -EJ

Daniel Wersing says:

Just to be clear, you didn’t add any coals to the sns, right?

Big Bad'Wolf says:

As far as the “hot spot”, you’re comparing a kettle grill with briquettes burning directly against it’s interior wall versus a kettle grill with briquettes burning inside another container and an air gap between the second container and the interior wall of the grill.

Brett Butler says:

Why are you not using lump charcoal?

Scottys Back Yard BBQ says:

Dave the slow and sear has a 1in airgap between the back and the kettle, creating a cooler spot. the snake method has coals pressed right up against the wall so its going to read way hotter..

Hobo Nichol BBQ Testing Laboratory says:

Dave, you know my opinion on things on the cost side.  That said, I am glad you made the video.   It was nice to see the hours vs hours.  I did some rough math and assume had left in the sns about 14 briquettes after the snake petered out.  I only put that for those wondering how many were left after the snake died.  I assumed consistent burn through out.  I don’t have a math major with a meteorology minor to figure out difference in atmospheric conditions across the cook.  Great job and your assistant needs a raise.

onlychevys Williams says:

I can’t believe all of the bbg sellouts!

Jamel Brown says:

Party Q don’t remember that video. Will one of those be coming soon?

M Ski says:

Bull Poop,
Really a crappy scientific comparison !!!!!!!

ChiTownJerry says:

To which I ask: Who cares?
The external temp of the kettle is a red herring. As long as both methods retain the 220 degrees internally, who cares what the external temp is?
Next – you advertise this piece of equipment as cost savings?
Seriously? You charge well over $100 for this thing!
Almost no one smokes for 16 hours.. the usual top end is 6-8 hours. How much does your $125 piece of equipment save in charcoal when only run for 6 hours? I’m sure the difference is minimal.
So.. to sum up..
Slow ‘N Sear = $125 which will pay for itself in maybe 100-200 smokes in less charcoal.
Snake method = free

However, the sear feature is nice if you need that type of thing. If you often do slow then sear, this looks like a good piece of equipment.. for simple smoking, though, kinda overkill.

Hey.. just my opinion.

Thomas Brown says:

My issue with this video…. it’s meant to be for the average person… but the average person doesn’t have the gu ru and the thermometer set up and all of that jazz. Dumb it down and make it less high tech, the people that done have real smokers…. likely don’t have those gadgets either. And aren’t you trying to cater to that market?

Vincent Lok says:

I’ve smoked brisket both ways, snake and SnS 2.0. With the snake method, I had the issue of not knowing where the “head” of the burning snake was at any given time, and I wanted the brisket to never be above the actively burning coal. I didn’t really know my weber well enough that I could, at hour 4, know where the coals might be lit. So the result was that I had to open the top and rotate the meat (and the lid’s vent) away from the burning snake head about every hour or two. It was actually for this reason I bought the SnS, because at least I know that my brisket was not above the coals. Less of a problem with a pork shoulder, which is smaller and you could contain it, above a water pan, more or less in the “horseshoe” of coals so you knew it wasn’t above it…but a brisket takes up a lot of real estate, and you have to rotate the grill away from the flame because for the meat to not cover the starting of the snake, it pretty much overs the back half of the snake.

iamGomer says:

The “snake” coal is up against the kettle wall, whereas the $170 “save you money” thing has an air space between the kettle wall and the thing holding the coal. Cool air will pass between from below as convection occurs thus giving an huge offset. The IR results show that only.

Steak Williams says:

Not to mention you can’t sear in a stsndard kettle the way you can with the SnS. I got the SnS so I could smoke some things but what really amazed me was the searing ability.

I came for the slow, stayed for the sear. And the slow as well…

Randy N says:

How can an accessory for a grill cost more or almost as much as the grill itself? It’s a small stainless steel basket worth $69 tops. There’s not that much material in it. You can buy charcoal or propane smokers for the price they are selling it. I bought a smoke pro se pellet smoker at my local Wal-Mart in the fall for $97 on clearance and love it. Alot of hype over a over priced basket.

Randy J says:

At 2:45 you tell us it’s physics not magic that works the way it does. Please explain the physics.

Louis at R shack BBQ says:

Nice video but in a true backyard bbq scenario— how many home grillers will have a electric temperature controller fan set up on their kettle? Not saying that effected the outcome but when you start adding gadgets to turn your kettle into a smoker— might be better off just getting a WSM. I have a SnS and do use it because it creates a nice indirect/ direct cooking with zones and also added wall protection for my kettle.

Josh Bodenhamer says:

Why is the longer cook time for one brisket so important to you?

David says:

This is a very convincing argument to me since I’ve been using the snake method with great success. I get 12 hour burns regularly and sometimes find that it’s not enough time. Refilling is a hassle so I can see this is clearly better. I’ll be making my next BBQ equipment purchase to be the SNS.

Hennie Kotze says:

Great video as always Dave. Knew what the result would be from the start! Issue is getting the SNS in South Africa for a decent price. One day I will get my grubby hands on one!

Grey County Grillin' says:

Awesome comparison Dave! Near perfect science with almost all variables accounted for. Couldn’t ask for a better experiment. Slow N’ Sear is at the top of my wish list for my kettle! Great video guys!

RIP662 says:

Been using my SNS for some time now but I’m still skeptical on the 16 hours at 225. My probes at the grill level read 225 but at 6 inches higher I’m around 325 using my ET-732. And the dome thermometer is around 400, which I know is not reliable. I have a 22 WSM but trying to just use the kettle now. When you had 225 with the Q, do you know what your temperature gradients were?

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