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How to Use the Vortex Method

The Vortex Method is a popular grilling technique. The goal is high-heat, indirect cooking. While that might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, it was originally discovered because some grilling-aficionados wanted to get crispy skin on the wings that there were cooking on the grill. 

After some trial and error, they discovered the Vortex Method. There are some accessories you can buy to create the vortex method in your own grill, but one of Char-Griller’s ambassadors figured out how to get the same effect when using the Char-Griller Chimney Starter and the Char-Griller Premium Kettle

James Llorens of Certified Creole BBQ wrote a short blog for us on how he uses the Vortex Method:

"When I received my Char-griller Grills Premium Red Kettle, I remember I wanted a vortex but couldn’t afford one at the time so I thought about placing my Char-Griller Chimney Starter inside the Premium Red Kettle.

The fire pit area in that grill is deep and has a large grilling area. My very first cook in the Premium Red Kettle was using this method, I smoked two Cowboy Steaks in my Smokin’ Champ 1624 then seared them using the Premium Red Kettle.

The chimney fits perfectly in the middle of the grill. Just fill the chimney with charcoal to the top, ignite the coals from the bottom using charcoal Starters, paper towel with Olive Oil or newspaper and just allow time for the coals to get hot. You don’t have move the chimney at at all during the cook.The grill becomes really hot, so be careful. If you are cooking chicken wings, offset cook them by placing the wings in a circle outside the removable small circle grill grate.

If you want to add a little smoke, simply place 1-2 wood chunks a top the middle grill grate.If your fire begins to lower or you want to bump up the temperature for searing, you can easily remove the small circle middle grill grate and add additional coals.

I like to cook my chicken wings until they reach internal temperature 140°-145° and then sear them off until they reach internal temperature 165°. This allows them be juicy in the middle and crispy on the outside. 

This process also allows you to easily fry foods using a cast iron skillet directly over the coals in the chimney. I sometimes like to fry my wings after smoking them to internal temperature 140°-145° versus searing them. This gets them super crispy.

You can find the full recipe for my Smokin’ Fried Wings here.You can also sear any other foods like, steak and/or sausages. I’ve got a lot of content with this process and it’s one of my favorite things to do!

I receive tons of feedback from followers whenever I do it. With a little practice, this is an easy to use method that will quickly become one of your go tos."
Want more tips on how to cook chicken wings? Check out our blog on it here
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Maurice Cowley Jr July 26, 2019

This is a great technique to utilize while using the Char-Griller Premium Kettle. I had seen the technique a few times on YouTube, but it wasn’t until I saw Certified Creole BBQ’s chicken wing cook on Instagram that I decided to try it for myself. And the results were amazing!

Nunzio Bartalino July 26, 2019

I like your idea with using the charcoal starter chimney to mimic the vortex.
I bought the vortex and a chimney before I saw your article.
The vortex creates a blast furnace that creates a black hole above it.
I will definitely be using my cast iron pan. Maybe it wont melt it.
Definitely need some good fire-proof gloves.
Have a happy 4th.

craig salmon July 26, 2019

It appears you leave the top open when using the vortex style.

Mike DeBusk July 26, 2019

I’m going to look at CharGriller to see if they have a grate you’re describing if my chimney starter is not too tall.

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