BBQ24/17: Vortex Chicken Wings:
I had been away on holiday with no access to a BBQ and no cooking for a fortnight so I was keen to fire up the grill when I got back. I had a pack of chicken wings in the freezer from Turner and George (£5.25 for a Kilo) and decided it was a good way to finally use the Vortex I got at Christmas. I had a look in the cupboard and had some Grillstock Chicken Rub left (from BBQ10/17: Bourbon Brined Spatchcock Chicken) and some Hangfire Smokehouse Sauce (from BBQ12/17: Cherry smoked pork belly) so applied the rub and fired up the chimney starter. Charcoal of choice this time was Oxford Charcoal Ash – Mainly as I only have Ash or Beech left and need to place another order!
Vortex: I had seen this on social media a few times and it looked really interesting so I had dropped hints that I was after one! From what I had seen it can be used for:
- Indirect – Low and Slow cooking: Coals around the outside and lit at one end for snake/minion method.
- Direct – High Heat Searing: Like the afterburner tool, place your food over the top and give it a good sear.
- Indirect-Direct: High Heat Indirect Cooking: Vortex creates a high heat that is directed upwards then radiates down around the BBQ lid creating an even high heat. This method is meant to give you crispy chicken skin without running the risk of burning the chicken over direct heat – This was the method used for the wings.
- Infrared – Radiant Heat: Lit fuel around the outside of the vortex and meat inside the vortex (such as a whole chicken) to deflect the direct heat but radiates high heat to allow for even cooking.
The weather was nice and I kicked the cook off earlier so managed to get some decent photos outside, the light was good so the photos are a bit better than usual!
Once the charcoal was ready I put the Vortex in the middle of the BBQ with the thin part facing upwards, poured the charcoal in, placed a chunk of Oak in the middle and put the grate back on. This is a new(ish) grate, only been used a few times but I had better have a go at scrubbing it! The shiny colour doesn’t last long!
I then placed the chicken wings around the outside of the grill trying to equally space them and keep the chicken away from the vortex as much as possible to avoid burning them.
I actually read the instructions for the vortex before I cooked this and it advises that wings would take an hour and to rotate the lid 90 degrees every 15 minutes. This is to alter the air flow and ensure all the chicken gets an equal amount of heat over the cook. Maybe my BBQ was running a bit hot but I checked the meat internal temperatures with a Thermapen every time I turned the lid and they were looking not far off after 30 minutes so I brushed the BBQ sauce on and pulled them off at 45 minutes.
I really enjoyed the wings, the rub and sauce had a good kick to them and the meat had a light smoky taste but my wife felt the skin wasn’t crispy enough for her liking. Having read the instructions again when writing this post I see the advice is to leave them on even when you reach temp to crisp the skin up a bit more but also to flip the wings when the skin looks close to crispy. I will try this next time and see if the skin gets crispier!