Krispy Country Chicken using the Vortex

There are two choices when it comes to making ‘fried’ chicken using a Vortex. You can make your own batter from scratch or you can use a mix from the store. I’ve done both time and time again and have never ever been disappointed. This time I picked up a box of Fry Krisp Krispy Country chicken mix. It’s the easiest mix in the world, giving you nicely crunchy, juicy, flavorful chicken in less than an hour with no oil used for frying.
Krispy Country Chicken using the VortexI do like to brush my chicken with just a bit of oil just before I pull it off the grill. It gives the chicken a bit more crunch and coats any leftover batter that might be hanging around. It’s completely optional, but I always do it.

Also try my easy Cajun fried chicken using the Vortex.

Krispy Country Chicken using the Vortex

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 -8 pieces
Author Mike

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Fire up your grill with the Vortex BBQ. Let the coals get good and hot.
  • Prepare chicken per package instructions.
  • Transfer chicken to your grill grate around the Vortex and cook until done, about 45 minutes.
  • Lightly brush the chicken with oil the last 5 minutes of cooking to get a crispier skin.

Balsamic Smoked Honey Vinaigrette

Anita and I were grabbing lunch at one of our local favorite pizza joints not long ago. The lunch special comes with a small side salad. For the dressing Anita went with the balsamic smoked honey vinaigrette. I was intrigued. She was intrigued. Smoked honey? You know, that has to be good. Well, it was. It was “bring me a bottle of that dressing so I can drink it” good. Of course, that means I had to make a version of it when I got home.
Balsamic Smoked Honey Vinaigrette

This is a great, simple dressing without the smoked honey. With it, it becomes something a bit different. The smoke flavor isn’t overwhelming, but it’s there. Depending on the honey that you use, I recommend adding just a bit at first and tasting to see if you want to add more. Me, I want that smokiness up front and center. You might now.

Also try my blue cheese vinaigrette.

Balsamic Smoked Honey Vinaigrette

Course Salad Dressing
Prep Time 5 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup smoked honey or less, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Whisk together all ingredients.

Rotisserie Pineapple Bourbon Glazed Boneless Ham

I recently bought a new gas grill, retiring (at least for now) one I’d had for 19 years and had used almost 4,000 times. This time, I got a grill with a rotisserie. I didn’t think I’d need one, but I’d been looking forward to trying some new things, like this rotisserie pineapple bourbon glazed boneless ham.

I chose a boneless ham because I wanted to slice the end result thin and use it for sandwiches. Normally I’d score my ham, but I’ve found that scoring makes it very difficult to slice so thin. I still got that wonderful pineapple flavor, with just a hint of bourbon. It was delicious!
Rotisserie Pineapple Bourbon Glazed Boneless Ham

You can use this same approach on any pre-cooked ham, smoked or not. I found this rotisserie pineapple bourbon glazed boneless ham to be absolutely delicious. I could not sampling the slices as I cut them. The thin slices were for sandwiches. The thicker ones will find their way into omelets and yes, even homemade Spam!

Also try my Brazilian rotisserie pineapple.

Rotisserie Pineapple Bourbon Glazed Boneless Ham

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 1 ham

Ingredients

  • 7-10 pound boneless smoked ham
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried, ground
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup bourbon

Instructions

  • Fire up your grill for direct cooking. You're aiming for a cook temperature around 350 F.
  • Carefully feed the ham onto the rotisserie and secure the ends.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the mustard and rosemary. Rub the mixture all over the ham.
  • Turn on the rotisserie, close the grill and cook for 15 minutes.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the juice, sugar and bourbon. Brush onto all sides of the ham. Save a little of the mixture for the last glaze.
  • Continue cooking another 15-30 minutes or until the ham reaches 140 F. Brush with remaining glaze, carefully remove from the grill, and let rest 15 minutes before removing from the rotisserie and slicing.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

I’ve made this creamy, tasty, bacony loaded baked potato salad twice now. And I’m not ashamed to admit that the second time I made it, I unintentionally made a boo-boo. I was relying on my (fading) memory, and completely forgot to bake the salad. Well, you know what? It was just as fantastic as the baked version! Either way, I felt like I was biting into a seriously loaded up baked potato (my favorite kind). So hot or cold, dig in!
Loaded Baked Potato SaladJust about any potato will do in this loaded baked potato salad, but I tend to use Yukons because they add a very buttery flavor. I also prefer to steam my potato chunks instead of boil them. Tossing and beating and bagging around in a pot is a good way to turn a nice square potato piece into a marble-looking potato in no time.

Speaking of baked potatoes, try my go-to, never-failed technique for making the perfect baked potato.

Loaded Baked Potato Salad

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 -6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes peeled, cubed
  • 4 potatoes unpeeled, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon cooked, chopped, divided
  • 6 green onions chopped, divided
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just soft. Note: I prefer to steam my potatoes so that they keep their shape better, but boiling them is just fine. Drain.
  • Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl.
  • Add all of the remaining ingredients, reserving some of the crumbled bacon, green onions and cheese.
  • Fold to combine.

To serve cold

  • Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Serve topped with reserved bacon, green onions and cheese.

To serve hot

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Transfer potato mixture to a baking dish.
  • Top with reserved bacon, green onions and cheese.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  • Add bacon, onions and cheese (reserve some of each for top).
  • Mix with potatoes.
  • Pour into baking dish.
  • Top with reserved cheese, onions, and bacon.
  • Bake 350 for 10-15 minutes (until cheese melts).

Green Enchilada Sauce

Hatch chiles can be hard to come by here in Indiana. And when they are here, I grab a big batch of them. I love roasting them. They are great in lots of lots of dishes, and specially in green enchilada sauce. The flavor the chiles add is amazing. This is not an ordinary enchilada sauce. It’s fantastic!
Green Enchilada Sauce

If you are unable to find and roast Hatch chiles, roasted green chiles from a can are a fine substitute in this green enchilada sauce. You may want to drain the chiles first if they come in a lot of liquid.

As far as the amount of cumin in this recipe goes, I’d say use your own tastes as a guide. I rather like cumin, but Anita does not so I cut back on it quite a bit. The sauce was still fantastic.

Green Enchilada Sauce

Course Sauce
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Hatch Chiles roasted, stems, skin, membranes and seeds removed, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 jalapeños stems, membranes and seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 head garlic cloves peeled, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin I used 1/2 tablespoon
  • 3 cups water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in the large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until just starting to soften.
  • Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the chiles, cumin and water. Stir and let simmer 10 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Working in batches, blend the mixture in a blender or food processor until the desired texture is achieved.
  • Store in the fridge for 2-3 days or freeze for later use.

Copycat Max and Erma’s Santa Fe Chicken Salad

There’s a Max and Erma’s restaurant right next door to the Premium Outlet Mall in Edinburgh, Indiana. We make it a point to stop by for lunch or dinner there whenever we can. Plus, you get to sit while you eat and after a few hours at the mall, you need that. Nine times out of ten I order the Santa Fe chicken salad. It’s a huge salad, with just the right toppings, and really, really good chicken. And when I’m not at the outlet mall, I can make a pretty darned good copycat of the same salad at home without a lot of fuss.
Copycat Max and Erma's Santa Fe Chicken Salad

You can substitute chicken tenders for the chicken breast if you wish. I like my chicken a bit spicy so I load up on the hot sauce. Feel free to adjust to your taste. The chicken itself is outstanding.

To get the fancy dressing swirls on my copycat Max and Erma’s Santa Fe chicken salad I put some Ranch in a squeeze bottle with three nozzles and go to town on it. Hey, it’s fun.


Also try my Southern Fried chicken salad.

Copycat Max and Erma's Santa Fe Chicken Salad

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the salad

  • Your favorite greens iceberg, green leaf, and/or red leaf lettuce, rinsed and patted dry
  • Fried chicken, from below
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • tomatoes chopped or sliced
  • fried tortilla strips
  • Ranch dressing

For the fried chicken

  • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 large
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

For the salad

  • Divide lettuce between two large plates. Add the chicken, cheeses, tomatoes, and tortilla strips.
  • Drizzle with Ranch dressing and serve.

For the fried chicken

  • Cut the chicken into small bite-sized pieces or strips, as desired. Transfer to a bowl or pie pan.
  • Stir in the buttermilk and hot sauce. Let marinate for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
  • Combine the flour, salt, black pepper, chipotle chile powder, oregano and cumin and place into another pie pan.
  • Heat 2" of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Working in batches, remove chicken from the buttermilk. Shake off the excess and then coat well in the flour mixture. Return the chicken pieces to the buttermilk and turn to coat. Shake off the excess and again coat in the flour mixture.
  • Fry 4-5 minutes per side until golden brown, turning once.
  • Remove to a wire rack or paper towel-lined to cool slightly and drain.

Old Colony Chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I’ve said it hundreds of times. Chicken cooked on the Char-Broil Big Easy is a fantastic thing. It doesn’t take much effort and no fancy ingredients are required. I like to peruse the marinades at the grocery store, grabbing whatever strikes my fancy. This time my fancy had me using Old Colony Sauce. Often used for steaks, it’s also a fantastic marinade for chicken, adding a light Worcestershire-like flavor and tons of juiciness.
Old Colony Chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Old Colony sauce isn’t loaded up with sugar or honey, which is important when you are cooking on the Big Easy. Since the Big Easy cooks at a high temperature, marinades or sauces containing sugar or honey will tend to burn. You have to save those for saucing at the very end of your cooking, once the meat is almost done, so you don’t risk charred food.

As you can see, Old Colony sauce produced some mighty fine looking chicken (I used split chicken breasts), with great color and flavor throughout.

Also try my State Fair chicken, also made on the Char-Broil Big Easy.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Old Colony Chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the chicken into a resealable bag or container.
  • Add marinade to taste. Toss to coat.
  • Seal and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, turning occasionally.
  • Fire up your Big Easy.
  • Transfer the chicken to the Big Easy basket.
  • Cook for approximately 20 minutes per pound or until it reaches 165 F as checked in several places.
  • Remove and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Mushroom Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

The reviews for my mushroom jerky made on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro are in! And well… they’re mixed! So why am posting it? Well, because I’m one on the ‘thumbs up’ side! I thought these mushrooms came out very woodsy and very flavorful, with a hint of spice to them. I loved them right off the dehydrator, I thought they had a nice texture with a little ‘tug’ to them.

Mushroom Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

After they cooled the mushrooms took on a slightly different texture. I’d call it less “jerky-like”. But still tasty. I opted to freeze the leftovers. They’ll be absolutely perfect in pasta sauce, that’s for sure. Or anywhere you need dried mushrooms but want something a bit more flavorful than ‘just’ ole dried up fungi!

Also try my sun-dried tomatoes, also made using the Nesco Snackmaster Pro.

Mushroom Jerky on the Nesco Snackmaster Pro

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 12 hours
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 4 large portabella mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup the real stuff
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Instructions

  • Slice the mushrooms into 1/2" thick slices.
  • Combine the remaining ingredients in a large resealable container.
  • Add the mushrooms and turn gently to coat.
  • Seal and place in the fridge for 10-12 hours, turning gently every few hours.
  • Fire up your Nesco Snackmaster Pro for 122 F. While you're waiting for the dehydrator to warm up remove the mushrooms from the marinade and place on a wire rack to drain.
  • Transfer the mushrooms to the dehydrator trays. Unless you've scaled the recipe up you won't need many trays, but keep in mind you always need to use at least 4 trays when drying.
  • Close the dehydrator and let run for 10 hours. I quadrupled the recipe and actually went 12 hours. You want the mushrooms to be pliable and chewy but not dried out.
  • Let cool just slightly before enjoying. I actually preferred the mushrooms warm, they seemed to have a more enjoyable texture.
  • Keep in an airtight container.

Tuscan Pasta Salad

Oh, Tuscan pasta salad, where have you been? I was getting just a bit tired of pasta salads and coleslaw then you came along and boom! Something totally different. This recipe makes a nice big batch, perfect for a family get-together, and perfect for that ‘wow factor too.

There’s nothing in this that will scare off grandma I tend to make my dishes on the spicy side. I resisted that temptation with this Tuscan pasta salad, with great results. Fresh and exciting, this salad hits the spot with it’s Italian-inspired flavors.
Tuscan Pasta SaladYou can substitute a tablespoon of dried basil for the fresh if you wish. Just make sure you crumble it a bit in your hand before adding it. I used fresh spinach, but you can also get away with frozen. Just make sure that it’s thawed completely first and squeeze very last drop of water from it before adding it (I like to place it in a kitchen towel, wrap it up tight, and squeeze the heck out of it).

Also try my Mardis Gras pasta salad and also my amazing dill pickle pasta salad.

Tuscan Pasta Salad

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1 16 ounce box bow-tie pasta
  • 1 7 ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 6.5 ounce can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 cup spinach chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

For the dressing

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dry basil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

For the salad

  • Cook the pasta per package instructions. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add remaining salad ingredients and mix.
  • Add the dressing and toss to coat.

For the dressing

  • Whisk all ingredients together until combined. Note: I like to put the ingredients in a small jar or resealable container, seal, and shake to mix.

Rotisserie French Fries

This actually started out as just a test of an idea I’d had. It was a very hot day here. I have a pet peeve about cooking anything inside when it’s so hot. And thanks to my new Weber Summit S-670, I can not only cook in pots on a side burner, I have a big rotisserie I can use. I have the perfect basket for it, made by Napoleon, that I can use to cook up all sorts of side dishes, such as rotisserie French fries!
Rotisserie French Fries

I started with frozen fries. And I went with the larger wedge fries because, this being my first time, I wasn’t sure how smaller fries might hold up to the constant tumbling. My rotisserie French fries came out fantastic, with a great crispiness and flavor. Of course, you can make them on a charcoal grill too with a rotisserie and a basket and get even more of that great ‘cooked outdoors’ flavor!

I think you can easily get away with cooking smaller fries, such as crinkles. Just keep an eye on them because the cook time will obviously depend on how hot you have your grill. I kept the temperature right around 400 F directly below my basket. I did not use my infrared burner (you can see it above the basket in the picture above).

Fries on the rotisserie were perfect with the burgers I grilled at the same time! Win! For even more spinning goodness, make my chicken wings on the rotisserie too!

Rotisserie French Fries

My rotisserie French fries came out fantastic, with a great crispiness and flavor. No need to heat up the kitchen, just fire up your grill!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Fire up your grill for medium-high cooking and prepare a rotisserie basket setup.
  • Add fries to the basket and close. Turn on the rotisserie and close the lid. Let cook for 20 minutes then check for crispness. If the fries turn golden brown with a bit of char along the edges, they're done! If not, close the lid and cook another 10-25 minutes, checking every 10 minutes or so.
  • Use heat-proof gloves to remove and open the rotisserie basket. Serve.