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!