I’m a huge fan of cooking chicken wings using the Vortex BBQ. I’m also a huge fan of ‘frying’ chicken using the Vortex BBQ. And now, I’m a huge fan of making chicken fingers using the Vortex BBQ. Just as easy as wings or fried chicken, these fingers came out tender and super tasty. They have a very nice coating that is light on crunch but heavy on flavor. And nothing could be easier to make, either! Chicken fingers on the Vortex BBQ cook a whole lot quicker than do wings or chicken thighs. Don’t throw them on and ignore them. They’ll be done in no time.
As I mention in the recipe note, I put foil on my grill grates before I added the chicken. I’m not 100% sure if that’s required, but the chicken didn’t stick.
Note: I covered my grill grates in foil and brushed on a light coating of oil because I thought the fingers might stick. I haven't tried to make them yet without foil. You might want to foil yours also, or at least oil them before adding the chicken.
2 pounds chicken tenderloins
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
Hot sauce, optional, to taste
Fire up your charcoal grill with the Vortex BBQ insert. Let the coals get good and hot.
Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a pie plate.
Pour the buttermilk into another pie plate. Whisk in the hot sauce if using.
Working in batches, dip the chicken into the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, and then once again in the flour.
Transfer to your grill and cook for 15-20 minutes or until done. Lightly brush the chicken with the oil the last 5 minutes of cooking.
I use my Vortex BBQ a few times a week, usually for making a quick batch of wings for lunch for myself. For dinner, though, my go-to dish is ‘fried’ chicken using the same cooking technique as I do for wings. Just batter the chicken (I used bone-in thighs) and onto a hot (and I do mean hot) charcoal grill. In an hour or less I’ve got ‘fried’ chicken without the oil and mess. Crunchy, juicy, and tender. This version of buttermilk fried chicken actually began life as a way of making chicken for another of my favorites, chicken and waffles. Hence the hint of maple syrup. But you don’t need waffles. If you do serve them over waffles, drizzle with a bit more maple syrup just before serving.
There’s definitely no wrong way to make ‘fried’ chicken on your charcoal grill using the Vortex. I absolutely love it. For a long time I’ve been making my chicken using batter made from scratch. This time I decided to try an off-the-shelf batter mix usually meant for actual deep frying in oil. The result? Absolutely delicious, crunchy, moist fried chicken with about as little fuss and mess as possible. And no oil. Any good fried chicken batter mix will work. It’s called easy crispy fried chicken for a reason. Just dip and put onto the grill. I prefer to use split bone-in chicken breasts or thighs. I recommend bone-in chicken because it will have more flavor and won’t dry out as easily as boneless. You can use boneless chicken but you might have to adjust the cook time. When I do need boneless ‘fried’ chicken I still cook it bone-on then remove the meat from the bone when done.
Note: I've found that rotating the lid isn't very necessary, specially on smaller grills. You can experiment by not rotating and checking the chicken after 30 minutes. If the pieces are cooking evenly you can skip rotating the lid.
I made seasoned steak fries on my Weber Performer grill using the Vortex BBQ insert the other day. They came out really, really good. Which got me thinking… could I apply much the same technique to thinner cuts of potatoes, giving me crispy skinny fries? Yep, you bet I could and did! These seasoned skinny fries were fantastic. I ‘fry’ chicken using my Vortex on a pretty regular basis. At least on my Performer that leaves me some spare room for other things and by other things I now mean fries. What’s better than ‘fried’ chicken and crispy seasoned fries for lunch? Nothing.
Note: I only used 2 potatoes because I also cooked 2 large pieces of chicken at the same time as the fries. You could fit 4 potatoes worth of fries on a 22" grill if that's all you're cooking. Don't overcrowd them, though, or they won't cook evenly.
2 Russet potatoes, cut into thin sticks
For the seasoning (makes more than you'll need for one recipe)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Fire up your charcoal grill using the Vortex insert. You'll want to use a larger grill, 22" or bigger.
Meanwhile, place the fries into a large bowl of cold water.
Let soak for 5 minutes then drain.
Add water again and soak until you're about ready to start cooking.
Make the seasoning by combining all ingredients.
Drain the fries and pat dry. I like to dump them out onto a large towel and give them a good patting, tossing a few times to make sure I get them all dry.
Transfer fries back to the bowl (wiping it dry first) and add just a splash of oil.
Sprinkle with the seasoning, to taste. I usually use about half of the recipe, but I like mine spicy. You might want to start with 1/4th of the recipe (2 teaspoons or thereabouts). Toss to coat.
Transfer the fries to your grill. Keep them along the edges of the grate and at an angle to the grate so they don't fall in.
Cover (keeping the top vent open) and cook for 45 minutes-1 hour, rotating the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes.
After 30 minutes carefully flip the fries, checking for doneness.
Remove the fries once they are getting golden brown.
Let cool slightly. The fries will crisp more as they cool.
I use a Vortex insert on several of my charcoal grills, usually for making chicken of some variation or another. This time I thought I’d try something new and see if I could make steak fries just as easily and just as tasty. I could not have been happier with the results. Tasty, creamy, seasoned perfectly, with a slight crunch. Perfect fries to go with my ‘fried’ chicken. Steak fries cooked in the Vortex are as easy to make as fries out of a bag from the freezer, really. The only thing you have to watch for is letting the fries slip thru your grill grates. On my smaller grills that’s not a problem since the grates are pretty narrow. The grate on my Weber Performer is a bit bigger, though, so I keep the fries at an angle to the grates so they don’t slip on through.
I absolutely love making ‘fried’ chicken on my charcoal grill using the Vortex insert. Yeah, I know it’s not really fried, but that’s the point. You get that same crunchy exterior and moist tender interior, all without the oil. I use this southern fried chicken recipe the most, sometimes adding a sauce at the end, but often not,. It’s got that perfect crunch, whether you use skin-on or skinless chicken. I usually cook chicken using the Vortex on my 22″ charcoal grill, the Weber Performer or my Weber Kettle. You can buy a smaller Vortex for smaller grills, which works absolutely fantastic for chicken wings, but for bigger pieces like the split chicken breasts I used for southern fried chicken, I use a bigger grill so that the meat isn’t so close to the fire.
My goodness do I ever love cooking ‘fried’ chicken on my charcoal grill using the Vortex. In about an hour I end up with juicy chicken with a crispy coating, just like the real stuff. I find myself making it often, and I’ve now found my perfect base recipe for the chicken. I can then add whatever I want at the end. This time I added a spicy BBQ sauce and a drizzle of Ranch dressing. There were no leftovers. The Vortex produces very high temperatures, so do not put the BBQ sauce on too early or it will char and even burn. Plus, you want the skin on the spicy BBQ fried chicken to crisp up good first.
I usually use split chicken breasts on the Vortex (unless I’m making chicken wings, which I do at least twice a week). Bone-in cuts stay juicier. You do not have to keep the skin on to still get a crunchy crust, though. The batter provides enough crunch without it.
I used split bone-in chicken breasts when I made this Nashville hot chicken. It’s our preferred cut of chicken, but you can use any cut you like. Just keep in mind that if you mix pieces that are greatly different in size some may be done before others. Smaller pieces can be checked for doneness after the 45 minutes cooking time.