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.
Easy Crispy Fried Chicken using the VortexAny 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

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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 3 -4 pounds
Author: Mike

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Fire up your charcoal grill with the Vortex insert. Get the coals good and hot.
  • In a large bowl combine 5 tablespoons of the batter mix with 1/4 cup of cold water.
  • Place the remaining batter mix in a shallow pie pan.
  • 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.
  • Transfer chicken to the grill, placing along the edges.
  • Cover and cook for 45 minutes, rotating the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes.
  • Check for doneness (165 F as measured in the thickest pieces of chicken), remove and serve.

Easy Smoked Turkey Breast

I set out to prove to myself just how easy it can be to smoke a turkey for Thanksgiving. That meant no brining, no basting, no rubs, no oils, no injecting. Nothing. Just an easy smoked turkey breast.

I used a turkey breast that was already in a basting solution to speed things along and keep the ‘easy’ theme. Turkeys that are already pre-brined (or ‘pumped’) are common and they do save you a lot of time and hassle.
Easy Smoked Turkey BreastI was very, very happy with this easy smoked turkey breast. It was completely fuss-free. The skin was nice and crunchy. The meat was tender and moist. I used plenty of wood to get plenty of smoky flavor. I think that made up for the spices or basting sauce I would normally add. If you’re making a turkey for a crowd this is the way to go. You’ll have plenty of free time for other things.

I served the turkey with my smoked turkey gravy, made using broth from turkey wings that I smoked on a few days before smoking this easy turkey breast.

Easy Smoked Turkey Breast

This recipe uses a 'pumped' turkey breast, or one that has already been brined. The package will state 'contains up to 8% of a solution of water, salt, spices to enhance tenderness and juiciness'. Normally I would use a natural turkey that does not contain such a solution, but the goal was to make as easy a turkey breast as possible.
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 turkey breast
Author: Mike

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Fire up your smoker for cooking at 325 F. If you're using a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker (or any smoker that uses a water pan), line the water pan with foil and do not add water.
  • Use a fruit wood or lighter wood such as hickory.
  • Place the turkey breast meat side up in the center of the smoker.
  • Smoke until the meat reaches 165 F as measured in several locations.
  • Remove and let rest 30 minutes before slicing. Do not cover with foil as this will cause the skin to get soggy.

Shortcut Spaghetti

Yes, sometimes I just grab a big ole jar or two of spaghetti sauce at the grocery store instead of making a big batch of homemade. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I don’t just heat it up and toss it over cooked pasta. Nope, I gotta make my shortcut spaghetti. It’s a dish I started making in my bachelor years, and have perfected over time.
Shortcut Spaghetti
You can use ground beef instead of Italian sausage, but I wouldn’t. The first years I made shortcut spaghetti I used beef. Sausage is better. Much better. And my homemade Italian sausage is fantastic. I make a batch and freeze it in one pound packages. Perfect for a shortcut dish.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Instead of pasta, serve the meat sauce mixture on a hoagie or sub roll as a sandwich and top with tons of shredded mozzarella. It’s the perfect messy Sloppy Italian Joe sandwich. Or substitute meatballs for the sausage.

Shortcut Spaghetti

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time3 hrs 45 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 14 ounce packages Jacksonville Italian sausage links, casings removed or ground sausage OR my homemade Italian sausage
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 1 large sweet onion chopped
  • 2 24 ounce jars your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used Prego Fresh Mushroom)
  • Pasta cooked per package instructions
  • Fresh parsley chopped, for garnish
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Instructions

  • Crumble the sausage into a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • When the sausage is almost browned add the mushrooms and onion and continue sauteeing until the onion starts to soften. Remove from heat and drain.
  • Add sauce to a large pot over low heat.
  • Add in the meat mixture.
  • Cover and let simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve over cooked pasta (or mix the pasta in with the sauce first) garnished with parsley and Parmesan.