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It all started in an effort to get ‘fried-like’ skin on my chicken wings on the grill. How could I get that high heat, without the burn or uneven heat that direct-grilling can cause? This lead to many tests using fire bricks, offset methods, etc. There still was too much flipping, shifting, and babysitting to get an even cook across the meat. Then it hit me...If the fire is in the center and the food is around it, my heat would be more even around the grates perimeter.

After a couple homemade Vortex versions, I realized my heat source was in fact more predictable and effective. The chicken wings were able to get that outdoor grilled flavor at very high heat without the burn or direct contact of fire-to-food. Finally, crispy wings on the grill, no more rubber chicken skin!

But why stop there? What if I DID want that direct fire-to-food flavor for an amazing sear? The Vortex can act as a reducer which pushes which pushes the air from the large end out of the small end. Like cooking on a charcoal chimney on steroids!

Was that it though? What if I wanted to ditch the over-sized/ overpriced smoker when I wanted to just cook 1 pork butt or brisket flat? Simple. Flip the Vortex over, and placed the unlit coals around the perimeter and use the snake minion method.

What makes this different than this all-to-familiar method, is that I now am slow cooking using a true indirect heat since i now have a deflector between the food and the fire. The shape of the Vortex pushes that direct heat up and away from the meat, which will protect it on those long low & slow cooks.

Not too long thereafter, a friend of mine told me how good his beer-can chicken turned out with the Vortex. He had a Weber kettle and I knew that this method is tough to pull off since the grate to lid isn't tall enough. He took out his phone and showed me that he removed the cooking grate, and dropped the chicken in the Vortex wide-end-up. He poured a full chimney of set charcoal around the Vortex and closed the lid. WOW, the chicken turned out just like a Rotisserie chicken! The Vortex kept the direct heat from hitting the bird while giving it all that great charcoal/outdoor flavor we wanted. Skin was crispy and it cooked faster than I would have guessed.

With your Kettle or Ceramic grill you can reduce the unpredictable nature of the fire or hot-spot in your cooker. Control, contain, and conserve each batch of coals you light in your cooker and put out a more consistent product in your own backyard using the Vortex!

INDIRECT

Low & Slow Cooking/Smoking

The Vortex can redirect the flow of heat up and around the meat which can turn your kettle into a true indirect ‘smoker’.

Vortex goes Wide-End up. Coals go around the perimeter onto the fire grate.

Place meat directly over Vortex in the center. The coals are lit on one end and snake/minion their way around the kettle.

The Vortex shape acts as the deflector for direct heat which is different than snaking the coals without the Vortex.

INDIRECT-DIRECT

High Heat Indirect Cooking

It all started in an effort to get ‘fried-like’ skin on my chicken wings on the grill. The Vortex create a high heat that is directed upwards then radiates down around the kettle lid creating an EVEN high heat.

Load up the Vortex Narrow Side Up. Let coals ash over.

Put meat around perimeter. If smoke flavor is desired, place a tennis ball sized chunk directly over Vortex onto grill grate.

This method allows the chicken around the perimeter can get fried-like skin without getting the burn marks that happen while grilling wings directly. The heat increases enough to crisp skin without any direct flame. This is not unlike setting your fire off to one side of your kettle, the only difference with the Vortex would be an even amount of heat for every piece around the perimeter as opposed to the ones closest to the fire. No need for rotating or extra flipping.

DIRECT

High Heat Searing

This is your searing option. Picture the back of a jet engine where the fire is shooting out of the exhaust cones. This is what you will get that intense sear from.

Load up the Vortex Narrow Side Up. Let coals set.

The Vortex will begin to look like pics below (these examples are for picture purposes only. Very rarely will you need this much charcoal or a full Vortex worth of coals).

Put steak or chop directly over the fire for about a minute per side. It will have a very nice sear across the whole steak, not just where the grate marks are happening. The Maillard Reaction is able to occur across surface area of the whole steak/chop rather than just where the grate is touching the meat.

Once seared on both sides. Move off to perimeter where steak/ chop can INDIRECTLY come up to preferred temp. Also, try searing at the end of the cook for a reverse sear.

INFRARED

Radiant Heat

Due to the grate-to-lid height on a kettle, making an upright (or ‘beer can’) chicken can be difficult to cook in an 18.5” or 22.5” kettle.

This is a method that allows a perfect roasted protein without the need for an expensive rotisserie or having to spatchcock the bird before cooking. The Vortex deflects the direct heat while radiating high heat and giving your food the outdoor cooking flavor.

Place Vortex wide-end up with a piece of foil in the bottom to block the air flow as well as catch drippings. Place bird or small roast on the beer-can holder (with or without liquid in it).

Pour chimney full of ‘set’ coals equally around the Vortex and close the lid.

Let the chicken/roast come up to temp while rotating the exhaust (kettle only) 45 degrees every 20 mins.