The beauty of the Vortex BBQ insert is that you can take pretty much any deep-fryer recipe and use it on a charcoal grill. It doesn’t have to be for chicken either. This Hidden Valley Ranch fried chicken using the Vortex is a perfect example of just how amazing it is. The meat is crazy tender, unbelievable moist. And the skin? Well, let’s just say I leave it for last because it’s almost like dessert. A true treat.
Hidden Valley Ranch fried chicken using the Vortex is incredibly easy to make. And there’s no mess or clean up like if you’d fried the chicken on the stovetop or in a deep fryer. It’s why I love all my Vortexes. I have some for my big charcoal grills and some for my smaller charcoal grills. Which one I use depends on how much I’m cooking, but no matter what, everything comes out fantastic.
I like to brush my fried chicken with a very light coating of oil just before I pull it off the grill. I give it a few more minutes to cook, then I get extra-crispy skin. It’s that extra little touch that really makes the final product feel and taste and look like it was deep-fried.
This dip-fried chicken using the Vortex is mighty darned near the same as my equally-as-crazy-good Nashville hot chicken. The crunchy skin is just a bit different. The sauce is just a bit different, and it’s mighty darned spicy to boot. But the chicken is still unbelievably moist, tender, and delicious. I’ve said it a thousand times: nothing beats ‘fried’ chicken made using the Vortex. Nothing. Every time you make fried chicken using the Vortex you’ll be amazed at how much it’s as good as deep-fried chicken (if not better!) but without the oil, the fryer and the fuss!
I’m a big fan of spicy foods. Not over-the-top, curled-up-on-the-floor-crying spicy. But good spicy. The kind where you can still taste the food. I thought this dip-fried chicken using the Vortex nailed the spicy factor just perfectly. But I warn you, it is spicy. I suggest that once you start eating you don’t stop. Because that’s when the burn comes and it’ll stick around for a bit, too. It’s a good burn, a tasty burn, the best kind. You might want to taste it first if you’re spice-fearful.
Sure, you can cut back on the amount of hot sauce if you wish. Or add more.
Place the brine ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the honey and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Place the chicken in a large resealable container. Add the brine. If it doesn't cover the chicken stir in more water. Cover and refrigerate for 3 1/2 hours.
For the coating
Combine the coating ingredients in a large bowl using your fingers. You want the mixture to be coarse.
Remove the chicken from the brine. Do not rinse or pat dry. Place into the breading and coat completely. Transfer to a wire rack and place into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Fire up your Vortex. Get the coals good and lit and lightly ashed. Remove the chicken from the fridge and place around the fire. Close the lid and cook 30-45 minutes, possibly longer, turning the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes.
Test the chicken for doneness, you want 160 F in the white meat and 175 in the dark. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly.
For the dipping sauce
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat and keep warm until ready to use.
Any day that includes firing up my Weber Performer grill outfitted with a Vortex insert and cooking ‘fried’ chicken is a good day. Actually, it’s a fantastic day. I’m willing to bet that in a blind taste test you could not tell the difference between this Louisiana crispy fried chicken using the Vortex and chicken fried in oil. And you’ll never go back to that deep-fried stuff either. This way is easier, tastier and just flat-out better.
This is seriously crispy chicken. Seasoned perfectly. Moist and tender meat. Make extra because you’ll need it. And don’t expect any leftovers either.
If you want a little extra crunchy skin, brush the tops of the chicken with just a little bit of vegetable oil 5 minutes before removing them from the grill. That’s all it takes.
I’ve made fried chicken using the Vortex many, many times. Sometimes I make my own batter or coating, sometimes I just use store-bought, like the Louisiana Seasoned Crispy Fried Chicken batter I used this time. No matter what I use, it’s always fantastic. You can’t wrong with this Louisiana crispy fried chicken using the Vortex. It’ll amaze you and your guests.
Fire up your Vortex, filling it all the way with charcoal. Let the coals get good and hot, keeping both the top and bottom grill vents wide open.
Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry.
Working in batches, place a little of the fry batter into a resealable bag or container and add a few pieces of chicken. Seal and toss gently to coat.
Transfer chicken to the grill around the Vortex.
Cook for 45 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 F as measured in several locations. I have not found it necessary to rotate the grill lid, but if you want to, rotate it 45 degrees every 15 minutes.
I prefer to cook ‘fried’ chicken on a 22″ grill using the Vortex. You can cook them on an 18″ grill too, but sometimes the edges nearest the Vortex get a little over-cooked.
I cook a lot, and I do mean a lot, of chicken using my Vortex. Wings and thighs are my favorite and I’ve cooked them countless delicious ways. But I’d never injected my chicken until now. This Cajun injected chicken using the Vortex is just packed with bite after bite of crazy good flavor. Moist doesn’t even come close to describing the meat. And yet it still has the perfect texture and that great crunchy skin.
Store-bought Cajun seasoning can be a bit on the salty side. If you prefer to use less salt I recommend that you make your own seasoning and use as much or as little salt as you wish. That way you can tailor your Cajun injected chicken using the Vortex to your individual tastes.
You definitely don’t have to brine your chicken to ‘fry’ it using the Vortex, but oh boy, does it make a difference. I was watching Eat Street on the Cooking Channel when they did a segment on the Buzznbeez food truck in Tempe, Arizona. They make my kind of food: soul food. Which means southern fried chicken. Dang good looking southern fried chicken. I proceeded to find the recipe for Buzznbeez southern fried chicken and make it using the Vortex.
This right here is great eats. Tender, juicy, beyond flavorful, and oh…. that skin… and that beautiful color. Every bite of this Buzznbeez Southern Fried Chicken using the Vortex was a dream come true. I’d make this again and again.
Brushing the chicken with a light coat of oil just before removing it from the grill will give the skin a bit more crunch. It’s optional, but I do recommend it!
For a little twist, I used my homemade smoked sea salt in the brine. It added a slight smokiness. You can get the same effect by placing a chunk of wood over your Vortex while cooking the chicken (something I also like to do when cooking wings on my Vortex, something I do almost daily!).