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.
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.
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
Fire up your charcoal grill with the Vortex BBQ insert. Let the coals get good and hot.
Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a pie plate.
Pour the buttermilk into another pie plate. Whisk in the hot sauce if using.
Working in batches, dip the chicken into the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, and then once again in the flour.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
Mix the remaining ingredients in a large baggie.
Lightly brush the chicken with vegetable oil.
Working in batches, place chicken pieces in the bag. Seal and shake. Shake off excess.
Transfer chicken to the grill along the edges, skin-side up.
Cover and cook for 45 minutes, turning the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes.
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.
Cover and cook another 15 minutes or until the chicken hits 160 F.
Remove and let rest and come to 165 F before serving.
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! Of 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.
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. I 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.
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.