Chicken Fingers using the Vortex

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.

Chicken Fingers using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
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.
Ingredients
  • 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
  • Vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Fire up your charcoal grill with the Vortex BBQ insert. Let the coals get good and hot.
  2. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a pie plate.
  3. Pour the buttermilk into another pie plate. Whisk in the hot sauce if using.
  4. Working in batches, dip the chicken into the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, and then once again in the flour.
  5. 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.
  6. Serve hot.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken using the Vortex

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.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
For the chicken marinade
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Buttermilk (enough to cover the thighs)
  • 1/4 cup grade A maple syrup
For the flour dredge
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the egg dredge
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon grade A maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken in a resealable container or bag and add enough buttermilk to cover. Pour in the maple syrup, seal, and shake to combine.
  2. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. Fire up your charcoal grill with the Vortex insert. Once the coals are lit, prepare the chicken.
  4. Prepare two dredging stations. Combine the flour dredge ingredients in a pie plate. In another, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and syrup. Season both with salt and pepper.
  5. Working in batches, remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade and shake off any excess.
  6. Coat the chicken in the flour mixture and shake off any excess.
  7. Next, roll the chicken in the egg mixture. Shake off any excess.
  8. Finally, return the chicken to the flour mixture and coat again. Remove any excess and transfer to your grill, arranging the pieces around the edges.
  9. Place the cover on the grill and cook 45 minutes to an hour, checking for doneness in multiple spots. I rotate the lid every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.

Easy Crispy Fried Chicken using the Vortex

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.

Easy Crispy Fried Chicken using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4 pounds
 
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.
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fire up your charcoal grill with the Vortex insert. Get the coals good and hot.
  2. In a large bowl combine 5 tablespoons of the batter mix with 1/4 cup of cold water.
  3. Place the remaining batter mix in a shallow pie pan.
  4. Working piece-by-piece, dredge the chicken in the wet batter mix. Shake off any excess then roll the chicken in the dry batter mix.
  5. Transfer chicken to the grill, placing along the edges.
  6. Cover and cook for 1 hour, rotating the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes.
  7. Check for doneness (165 F as measured in the thickest pieces of chicken), remove and serve.

Seasoned Skinny Fries using the Vortex

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.

Seasoned Skinny Fries using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
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.
Ingredients
  • 2 Russet potatoes, cut into thin sticks
  • Vegetable oil
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
Instructions
  1. Fire up your charcoal grill using the Vortex insert. You'll want to use a larger grill, 22" or bigger.
  2. Meanwhile, place the fries into a large bowl of cold water.
  3. Let soak for 5 minutes then drain.
  4. Add water again and soak until you're about ready to start cooking.
  5. Make the seasoning by combining all ingredients.
  6. 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.
  7. Transfer fries back to the bowl (wiping it dry first) and add just a splash of oil.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Cover (keeping the top vent open) and cook for 45 minutes-1 hour, rotating the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes.
  11. After 30 minutes carefully flip the fries, checking for doneness.
  12. Remove the fries once they are getting golden brown.
  13. Let cool slightly. The fries will crisp more as they cool.
  14. Sprinkle with a little salt before serving.

Seasoned Steak Fries using the Vortex

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.

Seasoned Steak Fries using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
Note: I cooked my fries on a 22" Performer. The fries were placed along the edges of the grill as far away from the Vortex as possible.
Ingredients
  • 2 large Russet potatoes
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of seasoning mix, from below, to taste
  • Kosher salt, for sprinkling
Fry seasoning mix (makes enough for 6 potatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Fire up your charcoal grill with the Vortex insert.
  2. Rinse the potatoes and pat dry.
  3. Cut potatoes in half, then half again, and finally in half one more time. If your potatoes are exceptionally large you may want to halve them one more time but don't make the fries too small.
  4. Place fries in a large bowl. Add cold water and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Drain the water and add fresh cold water. Let sit for 5 more minutes.
  6. Drain the water and transfer the potatoes to a large towel. Pat dry.
  7. Wipe the bowl dry and return the potatoes.
  8. Add a splash of oil and toss to coat.
  9. Add the seasoning mix and toss to coat.
  10. Transfer fries to the grill. Place them at an angle to the grates so they don't fall through.
  11. Close the grill and cook for 1 hour, rotating the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes. You can add other foods, such as wings or chicken pieces and cook them at the same time.
  12. Start checking for doneness after 45 minutes. Mine took the full hour.
  13. Remove from the grill and season with more salt before serving.

Southern Fried Chicken using the Vortex

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.

Southern Fried Chicken using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • 2 cups self-rising flour (if you don't have any, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour with 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Chicken, cut into pieces (up to 3 pounds)
  • Vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Set up your grill for cooking with the Vortex insert. Get the coals good and lit before starting.
  2. In a pie pan, beat the eggs with the water.
  3. In another pie pan, combine the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  4. Working in batches, dip the chicken in the egg mixture and coat well.
  5. Transfer the chicken to the flour mixture and coat well. Shake off any excess flour.
  6. Transfer chicken to the grill, placing along the edges with the thickest parts of the chicken towards the center where the Vortex is located.
  7. Cover the grill and cook for 15 minutes.
  8. Rotate the lid 90 degrees and continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
  9. Rotate the lid 90 degrees and continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
  10. Check for doneness in the thickest parts of the chicken. If it needs more time, rotate the lid 90 degrees and continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
  11. Before removing the chicken, lightly brush with oil if you want a crunchier crust and let cook for another 5 minutes.

Spicy BBQ Fried Chicken using the Vortex

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.

Spicy BBQ Fried Chicken using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • 2 cups self-rising flour (if you don't have any, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour with 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Chicken, cut into pieces (up to 3 pounds)
  • Your favorite spicy BBQ or chicken wing sauce
  • Ranch or blue cheese salad dressing (optional)
Instructions
  1. Set up your grill for cooking with the Vortex insert. Get the coals good and lit before starting.
  2. In a pie pan, beat the eggs with the water.
  3. In another pie pan, combine the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  4. Working in batches, dip the chicken in the egg mixture and coat well.
  5. Transfer the chicken to the flour mixture and coat well. Shake off any excess flour.
  6. Transfer chicken to the grill, placing along the edges with the thickest parts of the chicken towards the center where the Vortex is located.
  7. Cover the grill and cook for 15 minutes.
  8. Rotate the lid 90 degrees and continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
  9. Rotate the lid 90 degrees and continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
  10. Check for doneness in the thickest parts of the chicken. If it needs more time, rotate the lid 90 degrees and continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
  11. Before removing the chicken, lightly brush with BBQ sauce and let cook for another 5 minutes.
  12. Serve drizzled with the salad dressing if desired.

Nashville Hot Chicken using the Vortex

I recently made ‘fried’ chicken on my Weber Performer grill using the Vortex insert. The chicken came out fantastic, which inspired me to then try making Nashville hot chicken in much the same way. Wow, oh wow, was it absolutely great chicken. Lightly crunchy, and a little spicy, it was a dish to remember. This method is definitely a great substitute for the traditional way of making Nashville hot chicken in a deep fryer.

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.

Also check out my recipe for making ‘fried’ chicken using the Vortex.

Nashville Hot Chicken using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-8 servings
 
Ingredients
For the dry brine
  • 3 pounds chicken cut into pieces (I used 4 large split bone-in breasts)
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
For the dip
  • 1 cup milk (I used buttermilk) Note: If you have pickle juice on hand, use 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup pickle juice instead
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
For the dredge
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
For the spicy coating
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-3 tablespoons cayenne pepper (I used 2 and found the flavor to be perfect, and not too terribly hot)
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
For serving
  • Dill pickle slices
  • White bread slices
Instructions
For the dry brine
  1. Season chicken and place into a baggie or resealable container.
  2. Seal and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
For the dip
  1. Whisk together the milk, eggs and hot sauce in a pie pan or shallow bowl.
For the dredge
  1. Whisk together the flour and salt in a pie pan or shallow bowl.
For cooking
  1. Fire up your grill with the Vortex insert full of charcoal.
  2. Let the coals get good and ashed over.
  3. Working in batches, dredge the chicken in the flour. Shake off excess.
  4. Dip chicken into the milk mixture. Shake off excess.
  5. Return the chicken to the flour and dredge again. Shake off excess.
  6. Transfer chicken to the grill, placing it along the edges of the grill.
  7. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  8. Rotate the lid 90 degrees and cook another 15 minutes.
  9. Brush the chicken with the spicy coating. Rotate the lid 90 degrees and cook another 15 minutes
  10. Brush the chicken with the spicy coating. Rotate the lid 90 degrees and cook another 15 minutes
  11. Check for doneness. Remove when done and let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.
For the spicy coating
  1. Heat the oil in a small saute pan.
  2. Whisk in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Keep warm until ready to use.
For serving
  1. Serve garnished with dill pickle and white bread slices, if desired.