Granny’s Secret Fried Chicken using the Vortex

I keep having to pinch myself when I make ‘fried’ chicken on my charcoal grill using the Vortex. Am I dreaming? I’m really eating deep-fried chicken, right? But it’s not. No oil was used in making Granny’s Secret Fried chicken using the Vortex, other than a very light coating at the end to help crisp up the skin. That’s it. The skin is amazingly crunchy and crazy delicious. The meat is so juicy that it drips all down your forearms. And tender? Super perfect texture, bite after bite.
Granny’s Secret Fried Chicken using the Vortex

The ‘secret’ to Granny’s Secret Fried chicken using the Vortex is using Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix for the coating. I’ve never used it on chicken. I will be from now on. It crisps up perfectly. Grandma’s secret is out!

Also try my spicy buttermilk fried chicken using the Vortex.

Granny’s Secret Fried Chicken using the Vortex

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

For the brine

  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt

For the chicken

  • 1 chicken cut up (or use 6-8 pieces)
  • 3 cups Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten lightly
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted, cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup whole milk room temperature
  • vegetable oil for basting

Instructions

For the brine

  • Combine all brine ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the salt is dissolved and the honey is melted. Remove from heat and let cool.

For the chicken

  • Place the chicken in a large resealable container. Add the cooled brine. Refrigerate for 3 1/2 hours. Turn the chicken every 30 minutes or so if not fully submerged.
  • Fire up your Vortex. Fill it completely with charcoal.
  • Remove chicken from brine and rinse.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the egg, butter and milk.
  • In a resealable bag, combine the pancake mix, salt and pepper.
  • Working in batches, dip chicken into the egg mixture. Shake off excess then place in the bag. Seal and shake to coat.
  • Transfer chicken to the grill around the Vortex. Close the lid and cook for 30-45 minutes. Turn the lid every 15 minutes. Cook until the chicken reaches 165 F as tested in several places.
  • Lightly brush the chicken with oil and let cook another 5 minutes before removing.

Notes

Add a teaspoon or two of paprika, garlic powder and cayenne pepper to the coating mix for even more deliciousness!

Honey Fried Chicken using the Vortex

I think I could ‘fry’ chicken on my grill using the Vortex every day of the week. The possibilities are endless but the results are always fantastic. Crunchy skin and tender, juicy meat. I prefer to use bone-in chicken thighs, with the skin on. They have the most flavor and are the most tender. The coating is simple. This time, for a change, I drizzled the fried chicken with a bit of honey. Honey fried chicken using the Vortex was crazy good.
Honey Fried Chicken using the VortexSince the honey adds a good bit of sweetness to the chicken you might want to offset that a bit by adding a bit of heat. A little cayenne pepper in the dredge will get you that. Or try chipotle powder for a little kick and little smokiness. Just don’t skip the honey. After all, you’re making honey fried chicken using the Vortex. And if you want, you can make a spicy version too!

Also try my buttermilk fried chicken using the Vortex.

Honey Fried Chicken using the Vortex

Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 50 minutes
Servings 4 -5 servings
Author Inspired by a recipe from Nancy Fuller

Ingredients

  • 8-10 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (or whatever cuts you prefer)
  • Vegetable oil

For the brine

  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

For the dredge

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder

For serving

  • 1 cup honey warmed (thinned with a splash of water if desired)

Instructions

  • Place the chicken into a large resealable container.
  • Whisk together the brine ingredients and add to the chicken.
  • Refrigerate for 4 hours.
  • Fire up your Vortex. Fill it completely with charcoal and let them get good and hot.
  • Combine the dredge ingredients in a large pie pan or resealable baggie.
  • Working in batches, remove chicken from brine. Shake off the excess then coat in the dredge (if using a bag just put 2-3 pieces in at a time, seal, and shake to coat).
  • Transfer to the grill around the Vortex.
  • Cook for approximately 45 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 F as measured in several places. Optionally, turn the lid every 15 minutes. I've found that on smaller grills turning the lid isn't necessary, but on a 26" grill you might want to turn it.
  • Brush chicken very lightly with the oil and let cook another 5 minutes.
  • Remove and drizzle with the warmed honey. Serve.

Fried Chicken with Gravy using the Vortex

I’ve had Grandma’s fried chicken with gravy. It was crazy good. Cooked in oil in a cast-iron skillet over a hot gas stove, it was the food of dreams. I’ve now had the pleasure of enjoying that same great crunchy, moist chicken with a delicious gravy, all cooked using my Vortex insert. This right here is amazingly great chicken, and all without deep-frying.
Fried Chicken with Gravy using the Vortex

Fried chicken with gravy using the Vortex takes a bit more work than just making fried chicken on the grill. The gravy is the special addition, and to make it you need drippings from the chicken. Normally when I ‘fry’ chicken on my charcoal grill the drippings end up disappearing into the bottom of the grill. To make the gravy I had to ‘capture’ some of those drippings using disposable pans positioned underneath the chicken. I found some small aluminum pans at your grocery store that worked just fine, capturing all that dripping goodness.

Also try my more traditional (but dang good) fried chicken on the Vortex. Nothing beats chicken on a Vortex. Nothing.

Fried Chicken with Gravy using the Vortex

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes
Servings 8 pieces

Ingredients

  • 8 pieces Chicken
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 2 Vegetable oil for basting

Gravy:

  • 1/4 cup chicken drippings
  • 1/4 cup All purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

For the chicken

  • Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Add enough cold water to cover the chicken. Stir in 2 tablespoons of salt. Cover and refrigerate for 4-12 hours.
  • Fire up your Vortex. Let the coals get just ashed over. To make gravy place small disposable aluminum pans under a few of the pieces of chicken.
  • Remove chicken from the brine. Do not rinse. In a pie plate or shallow bowl, combine the flour and salt and pepper to taste. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, coating completely. Shake off any excess.
  • Transfer the chicken to the grill around the Vortex. Cover and cook 45 minutes, rotating the lid every 15 minutes. Check for near doneness (160 F for white meat, 170 F for dark meat) in several places before removing.
  • Lightly brush the chicken with oil and cook another 2-3 minutes to crisp the skin and finish cooking the chicken (165 F for white meat, 175 F for dark). Remove to a plate or cooling rack.

For the gravy

  • Carefully remove the disposable pans containing the drippings. Don't spill it onto the Vortex or it will flame up. You'll need 1/4 cup of the drippings.
  • Place drippings into a medium skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until browned, about 1 minute. 
  • Add milk and whisk until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve chicken with the gravy and devour.

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.
Southern Fried Chicken using the VortexI 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

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 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

  • Set up your grill for cooking with the Vortex insert. Get the coals good and lit before starting.
  • In a pie pan, beat the eggs with the water.
  • In another pie pan, combine the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  • Working in batches, dip the chicken in the egg mixture and coat well.
  • Transfer the chicken to the flour mixture and coat well. Shake off any excess flour.
  • Transfer chicken to the grill, placing along the edges with the thickest parts of the chicken towards the center where the Vortex is located.
  • Cover the grill and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Rotate the lid 90 degrees and continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
  • Rotate the lid 90 degrees and continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
  • 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.
  • 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 this spicy BBQ fried chicken using the Vortex is my go-to recipe. 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.
Spicy BBQ Fried Chicken using the VortexThe 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.

Also try my crazy-good spicy buttermilk fried chicken and my dip-fried chicken, both made using the Vortex.

Spicy BBQ Fried Chicken using the Vortex

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 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

  • Set up your grill for cooking with the Vortex insert. Get the coals good and lit before starting.
  • In a pie pan, beat the eggs with the water.
  • In another pie pan, combine the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  • Working in batches, dip the chicken in the egg mixture and coat well.
  • Transfer the chicken to the flour mixture and coat well. Shake off any excess flour.
  • Transfer chicken to the grill, placing along the edges with the thickest parts of the chicken towards the center where the Vortex is located.
  • Cover the grill and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Rotate the lid 90 degrees and continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
  • Rotate the lid 90 degrees and continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
  • 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.
  • Before removing the chicken, lightly brush with BBQ sauce and let cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Serve drizzled with the salad dressing if desired.