Kentucky Kernel ‘Fried’ Chicken using the Vortex

I make a habit of checking out the fried chicken coating mixes at the grocery store. Sure, I can make my own, but there are so many great commercial mixes out there that I just can’t pass them up. I prefer to ‘fry’ my chicken on my Weber Performer using a Vortex insert. I get that perfectly juicy, crunchy skin, crazy good fried chicken flavor without all of the oil. Kentucky Kernel’s seasoned flour is a perfect mix of herbs and spices, making for some of the best tasting chicken I’ve ever had.
Any cut or cuts of chicken will do, but I think that ‘fried’ chicken on the Vortex is best when you use bone-in, skin-on pieces. For me that’s either split chicken breasts or thighs. No matter what you use, you’ll get very juicy tender meat and crispy skin and that’s what you’re here for. Make sure, though, that you don’t over-batter the thicken. You aren’t frying in oil. More is definitely not better when it comes to the batter. Just enough to coat the chicken is all you’ll need.

I like to brush my chicken (very lightly) with just a bit of oil just before I pull it off the grill. It gives the skin that last little special crunch.

Also try my copycat of the crazy-good fried chicken from Church’s, also made using the Vortex!

Kentucky Kernel 'Fried' Chicken using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Kettle grill with the Vortex loaded with charcoal. Don't start cooking until the coals are all lit and starting to ash over.
  2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
  3. Pour the seasoned flour mixture into a pie pan or shallow bowl.
  4. Coat chicken completely in the mixture.
  5. Transfer chicken to the grill along the edges, skin-side up.
  6. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, turning the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes.
  7. After 45 minutes lightly brush the chicken with a little vegetable oil. Use caution as the grill will be hot.
  8. Cover and cook another 15 minutes or until the chicken hits 160 F.
  9. Remove and let rest and come to 165 F before serving.

Copycat Church’s Fried Chicken Using the Vortex

I could make (and eat) ‘fried’ chicken using my Vortex BBQ all day long. It has never let me down. It has never been anything but easy. This copycat of Church’s fried chicken was no exception. Incredibly crunchy skin. Unbelievably moist and flavorful meat. And as easy as coating it, grilling it, eating it. Done.
There are no tricks or special handshakes that you need to know to get fried chicken right using the Vortex. And although a lot of sites say to rotate the lid every 15 minutes while cooking, I’ve not found that it makes a difference. I don’t over-crowd my grill and I make sure I have a super-hot fire. If you’ve found that rotating the lid is a requirement, let me know but so far, I’ve not had anything but success just keeping the lid right where it is. I also do not flip my chicken while it is cooking. Doing so will result in ‘batter loss’, a bad thing. Just keep it right where it is.

Also try my insanely-awesome proper pub fried chicken, another fantastic recipe for deliciously crispy tasty chicken cooked using the Vortex. You can also use off-the-shelf fried chicken coating to make spectacular chicken on the Vortex. Check out my Kentucky Kernel chicken too!

Copycat Church's Fried Chicken Using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-8 pieces
 
Ingredients
  • 4-8 pieces of chicken (I prefer bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs)
For the dry mixture
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick
  • 1 envelope Italian dressing mix
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
For the wet mixture
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cold water
For a crispier coating
  • Vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill with the Vortex BBQ. Let the coals get good and hot.
  2. Combine all of the dry mixture ingredients in a pie plate.
  3. In another pie plate, whisk together the eggs and water.
  4. Working in batches, dip the chicken into the wet mixture, then into the dry mixture.
  5. One more time, dip the chicken into the wet mixture and then the dry mixture.
  6. Transfer chicken to your grill grate around the Vortex and cook until done, about 45 minutes.
  7. Lightly brush the chicken with oil the last 5 minutes of cooking to get a crispier skin.

Proper Pub Fried Chicken using the Vortex

Tom Kerridge is a Michelin-starred pub chef in England. Yes, pub chef. That’s why I knew that his recipe for proper pub fried chicken would be something special, something incredible. And, oh me, was it ever. The seasonings give every single bite the most fantastic flavor. Tender, moist. And crunchy skin? Oh yes. You could deep fry it, but I cooked this chicken over charcoal using the Vortex and no oil. Yep, no oil (except for like a tablespoon to help crunch up the skin at the very end).
I have to admit something. I made a change to Chef Kerridge’s original recipe. Please don’t hate me, but I added hot sauce to the buttermilk brine. I could not help myself. I ALWAYS add hot sauce to my buttermilk when using it for chicken. Not a whole lot, just a little bit to add a slight kick and offset the sourness. You don’t have to do it, and you don’t have to tell anyone if you do.

Also try my copycat of Church’s fried chicken, also made using the Vortex.

Proper Pub Fried Chicken using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 6-8 pieces of chicken (I prefer bone-in, skin-in thighs)
  • 2 1/4 (or more) cups buttermilk
  • Hot sauce, to taste (optional)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 4 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons chile powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons ground white pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
Instructions
  1. Place chicken into a large resealable container.
  2. Add enough buttermilk to cover the chicken. Add hot sauce, if using.
  3. Seal and shake gently to coat the chicken and combine the hot sauce. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Fire up your Vortex. Fill completely with coals. You'll need at least a 22" charcoal grill.
  5. Combine all dry ingredients and pour into a pie pan or alternatively, place in a large resealable bag.
  6. Working in batches, remove chicken from the buttermilk. Shake off excess and roll in the coating. Alternatively, add the chicken to the bag, seal and shake to coat.
  7. Place chicken around the edges of your grill. Cover and cook 30-45 minutes or until the chicken has reached 160 F as measured in several locations.
  8. Lightly brush the chicken with the oil and cook another 5 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 F as measured in several locations.

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.

If you’re looking for a great side dish for your chicken fingers, make a batch of seasoned skinny fries, also made using a Vortex. For dipping sauces, try my copycat of Chick-fil-A’s dipping sauce, firecracker dipping sauce or my chili dipping sauce.

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. If you prefer to make your own batter from scratch, try my super easy Vortex fried chicken recipe. For something a bit more fru-fru, make my spicy BBQ fried chicken. You’ll quickly see why fried chicken on the Vortex is fantastic!

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. Well, Vortex chicken fingers are might good too, actually.

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.