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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

‘Fried’ Chicken using the Vortex

This is the first time I tried making ‘fried’ chicken using the Vortex insert on my Weber charcoal grill. I use my Vortex a lot for making chicken wings, which are always fantastic, but I wasn’t sure how mimicking that great fried flavor would come out. Well, my worries were completely unfounded because the chicken came out absolutely fantastic. I swore I was eating chicken right out of a deep-fryer. Great Southern-inspired coating, tender meat and yes, very, very crunchy skin.
Since this was my first time I didn’t want to over-crowd my Performer with chicken. But now that I’ve got the process down, I could’ve easily added a few more pieces. And you don’t have to just use split bone-in chicken breasts like I did. Wings, legs, thights… you name it, all will come out great ‘fried’ using the Vortex. Just don’t let the pieces overlap, because wherever they touch, they won’t get crispy.

Making ‘fried’ chicken (some folks call it KFC – Kettle-Fried Chicken) on the Vortex really can’t get any easier. Also, check out my Nashville hot chicken recipe for the Vortex! For something super easy, make my crispy fried chicken on the Vortex.

'Fried' Chicken using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (or whatever cuts you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (you can use smoked paprika for more grilled-like flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
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. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large baggie.
  4. Lightly brush the chicken with vegetable oil.
  5. Working in batches, place chicken pieces in the bag. Seal and shake. Shake off excess.
  6. Transfer chicken to the grill along the edges, skin-side up.
  7. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, turning the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes.
  8. After 45 minutes lightly brush the chicken with more vegetable oil. Use caution as the grill will be hot. Note: If you are using pieces other than split chicken breasts, you'll want to rotate the pieces at this time.
  9. Cover and cook another 15 minutes or until the chicken hits 160 F.
  10. Remove and let rest and come to 165 F before serving.

Buffalo Wings using the Vortex

I love the Vortex insert. I’ve had one for quite a while, using it to cook entire family packs of great chicken wings on my Weber Performer grill. But sometimes I don’t need 4 or so pounds of wings. I just need to cook enough for one or two people. That’s where the smaller Vortex comes in. It fits perfectly into my Weber Smokey Joe grill, making for some dynamite buffalo wings!
Buffalo Wings using the VortexOf course you can use the Vortex for more than just Buffalo wings, and on more than just a charcoal grill, but I bought mine to make wings. Wings. Wings. And more wings. And it does wings great. Super high heat makes for super crispy tasty wings in the end, with about as little effort as you can possibly get.

Buffalo Wings using the Vortex
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • A Vortex
  • 2 pounds chicken wings, flats and drumettes (tips saved for making broth)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Buffalo seasoning
  • Frank's wing sauce
Instructions
  1. Place the wings into a large resealable container or baggie.
  2. Add the oil and seasoning. Seal and shake to coat well.
  3. Refrigerate for 3 hours.
  4. Light a charcoal chimney full of charcoal. Alternatively, you can fill your Vortex with charcoal and light them inside the unit.
  5. Let the charcoal get fully ashed over.
  6. Place the Vortex into the center of your grill and add in the charcoal.
  7. Open the bottom vents on your grill by 1/3, while keeping the top vent open completely.
  8. Close the gill and let it get hot, about 15 minutes.
  9. Add the chicken as shown in the picture above. For the flats have the skin side up, and for the drumettes keep the meaty part away from the fire.
  10. Close the grill and cook for 15 minutes.
  11. Rotate the lid 90 degrees and cook for another 15 minutes.
  12. Flip the wings. Rotate another 90 degrees and cook 15 more minutes.
  13. Check if the wings are as crispy as you like. If not, rotate another 90 degrees and cook another 15 minutes.
  14. Brush the wings with wing sauce and cook 5 more minutes.
  15. Flip wings and brush with more wing sauce. Cook 5 more minutes.
  16. Transfer wings to a bowl and toss with more wing sauce, if desired.
  17. Serve with dipping sauce.


Vortex Chicken Wings

If you follow our blog at all you know that I cook up a LOT of chicken wings. Sometimes I make them in the fryer, sometimes on the charcoal grill, sometimes on the gas grill, sometimes on the smoker, and often on the Char-Broil Big Easy. I even have a free eCookbook full of wing recipes.

I am always on a quest for the next best wing cooking idea. Recently, I discovered the best way for making crispy wings on the Char-Broil Big Easy, which came out fantastic. But, I was still looking for the best way to get crispy wings on my charcoal grill. That’s when I discovered the Vortex. The Vortex is an insert for your grill that let’s you concentrate the charcoal heat, making for an incredibly hot fire. As you can see below, the wings ring the Vortex, getting super hot and in just a while, crispy. And it couldn’t get any easier.
Vortex Chicken WingsI couldn’t be more happy with my Vortex purchase. I purchased the small-sized model, which works fantastic on my old 18″ Weber kettle and 22″ Weber Performer grills. A larger model is available for the 22″-26″ cookers.

The Vortex isn’t just for high-heat cooking of wings. Check out the Vortex web site for tons of other ways you can cook using the insert. Love Buffalo wings? Making them is easy using the Vortex.

Note: Since posting this, I’ve made wings on my Vortex hundreds of times. I’ve found that rotating the lid isn’t so critical (specially when cooking on a smaller grill such as the Jumbo Joe). For a little smokey flavor, throw a nice chunk of your favor wood (I like hickory or cherry) over the Vortex about 5 minutes before you put your wings on.

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.

Vortex Chicken Wings
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • A Vortex
  • 1 family pack (3-4 pounds) chicken wings, flats and drumettes (tips saved for making broth)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Cajun seasoning (or your favorite rub)
  • Your favorite wing sauce and dipping sauce.
Instructions
  1. Place the wings into a large resealable container or baggie.
  2. Add the oil and seasoning. Seal and shake to coat well.
  3. Refrigerate for 3 hours.
  4. Light a charcoal chimney full of charcoal. Alternatively, you can fill your Vortex with charcoal and light them inside the unit.
  5. Let the charcoal get fully ashed over.
  6. Place the Vortex into the center of your grill and add in the charcoal.
  7. Open the bottom vents on your grill by 1/3, while keeping the top vent open completely.
  8. Close the gill and let it get hot, about 15 minutes.
  9. Add the chicken as shown in the picture above. For the flats have the skin side up, and for the drumettes keep the meaty part away from the fire.
  10. Close the grill and cook for 15 minutes.
  11. Rotate the lid 90 degrees and cook for another 15 minutes.
  12. Flip the wings. Rotate another 90 degrees and cook 15 more minutes.
  13. Check if the wings are as crispy as you like. If not, rotate another 90 degrees and cook another 15 minutes.
  14. Transfer wings to a bowl and toss with the wing sauce.
  15. Serve with dipping sauce.