Honey Fried Chicken using the Vortex

I think I could ‘fry’ chicken on my grill using the Vortex every day of the week. The possibilities are endless but the results are always fantastic. Crunchy skin and tender, juicy meat. I prefer to use bone-in chicken thighs, with the skin on. They have the most flavor and are the most tender. The coating is simple. This time, for a change, I drizzled the fried chicken with a bit of honey. Honey fried chicken using the Vortex was crazy good.
Honey Fried Chicken using the VortexSince the honey adds a good bit of sweetness to the chicken you might want to offset that a bit by adding a bit of heat. A little cayenne pepper in the dredge will get you that. Or try chipotle powder for a little kick and little smokiness. Just don’t skip the honey. After all, you’re making honey fried chicken using the Vortex.

Honey Fried Chicken using the Vortex

Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 50 minutes
Servings 4 -5 servings
Author Inspired by a recipe from Nancy Fuller

Ingredients

  • 8-10 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (or whatever cuts you prefer)
  • Vegetable oil

For the brine

  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

For the dredge

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder

For serving

  • 1 cup honey warmed (thinned with a splash of water if desired)

Instructions

  • Place the chicken into a large resealable container.
  • Whisk together the brine ingredients and add to the chicken.
  • Refrigerate for 4 hours.
  • Fire up your Vortex. Fill it completely with charcoal and let them get good and hot.
  • Combine the dredge ingredients in a large pie pan or resealable baggie.
  • Working in batches, remove chicken from brine. Shake off the excess then coat in the dredge (if using a bag just put 2-3 pieces in at a time, seal, and shake to coat).
  • Transfer to the grill around the Vortex.
  • Cook for approximately 45 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 F as measured in several places. Optionally, turn the lid every 15 minutes. I've found that on smaller grills turning the lid isn't necessary, but on a 26" grill you might want to turn it.
  • Brush chicken very lightly with the oil and let cook another 5 minutes.
  • Remove and drizzle with the warmed honey. Serve.

Smothered Okra and Tomatoes with Shrimp and Andouille

I normally associate comfort food with cooler days. But when I ran across this recipe for smothered okra and tomatoes with shrimp and andouille in a recent issue of Louisiana Kitchen Culture I had to make it. Even though it was a hot day, it so hit the spot that I found myself unable to stop eating it. The sauce is really the star. It’s a wonderful mix of roasted okra, tomatoes, onions and peppers and my favorite, andouille sausage. Add in shrimp and you’ve got something truly delicious.
Smothered Okra and Tomatoes with Shrimp and Andouille

The key to making smothered okra and tomatoes with shrimp and andouille is the tomatoes. The recipe called for San Marzano tomatoes, and I didn’t stray from the suggestion. They have less seeds than regular plum tomatoes and are far less acidic. The flesh of San Marzano tomatoes is also thicker, making for a sauce that is definitely not runny. It’s perfect.

Smothered Okra and Tomatoes with Shrimp and Andouille

Prep Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 1 pound sliced fresh okra or frozen, defrosted
  • Creole seasoning to taste
  • Olive oil to taste
  • 1 cup sweet onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 4 ounces Andouille sausage diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 28 ounce Whole stewed tomatoes San Marzano are best
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake or more, to taste
  • 1 dash Asian fish sauce
  • 2 green onions sliced, for garnish
  • Hot cooked rice

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Whisk together the water, salt and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour, tossing every 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, toss the okra with a good amount of Creole seasoning and some oil. Spread out onto a baking sheet and roast 30 minutes, turning once, until starting to brown. Remove.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and sausage and cook until the onions and pepper start to soften, about 10 minutes. Note: If using pre-cooked andouille, cook the vegetables for 8 minutes then add the sausage to brown.
  • Add the garlic. .Stir and saute for 2 more minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato paste until it dissolves.
  • Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a large bowl. Squeeze them through your fingers to shred, removing any hard cores. Pour into the saucepan and stir
  • Add the bay leaves, lemon juice, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, and red pepper flake. Stir. If too thick add a bit of water but not too much. You want the sauce to be somewhat thick.
  • Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.
  • Stir in the okra and a splash or two of the fish sauce.
  • Add the shrimp AND the brine it was in and stir. Saute another 5 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and done.
  • Serve hot over rice garnished with green onions.

Notes

Fresh andouille sausage is best but if you cannot find fresh pre-cooked is fine too. If you can't find andouille at all substitute hot Italian sausage instead.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

I’m a big huge fan of making chicken stock at home. It’s the idea of not wasting anything, from keeping vegetable trimmings to freezing chicken parts and pieces that never quite made it into a dish. If I had a bigger freezer I’d probably make a lot more stock because I’d have more room to keep the items (that would normally be discarded) to make stock. Wing tips are something that I always end up with a lot of because I cook a lot of chicken wings. Wing tips are perfect for making slow cooker chicken stock not only because of their size but because they pack a ton of chicken flavor into a small space.
Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

Although the recipe calls for carrots, celery and onion, that doesn’t mean you have to use nice, pretty vegetables. Next time you have the end of a carrot leftover, throw it into a bag or container in the freezer, along with any bits of celery or onion you come across. This recipe isn’t about using perfect looking ingredients, it’s about using up ones you might normally toss into the trash or onto the compost pile.

I don’t add salt to my stock while I’m cooking it. You never know where you might end up using your stock, so you don’t know if you’ll need salt or not. And you sure can’t take it out once you’ve added it!

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 5 minutes
Servings 10 cups
Author Inspired by a recipe from A Southern Soul

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken pieces
  • 3 carrots halved
  • 3 stalks celery halved
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Water

Instructions

  • Place all but the water into your slow cooker. Add enough water to fill the cooker to about 1/2" below the top.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  • Turn off cooker, remove lid and let cool for 30 minutes. Strain liquid into container for later use.