The Vortex seems to be very popular on various Weber / BBQ forums I look at. It's shaped like a cone with the tip cut off.
It can be used in various configurations, but I think the most common way to use it is to fill it with charcoal in the center of the kettle and have it concentrate the heat to allow a really high concentration of heat up the center.
It is supposed to provide an air-fried effect and many people swear it helps give really crispy skin on chicken (most often I see posts specific to wings).
A couple of Saturdays ago, I tried it out with this configuration for the first time with some chicken thighs.
In the past, my most often used charcoal set up for chicken thighs is using the charcoal baskets in the center of the kettle, and the chicken around the perimeter.
The baskets together are not exactly circular, so the perimeter isn't completely symmetrical that way.
Using the "Vortex" does supply a completely circular / symmetrical set up. I'm not sure it makes a big difference, but it certainly looks better from an OCD perspective.
The "Vortex" is deeper than the old-style baskets as well, so it is easier to include more charcoal and therefore allows for a hotter cooking temperature.
So, the chicken cooked hotter and faster than usual.
I didn't do any of my KFC recipes, but I suspect the hotter temperature will help make the KFC more crispy. I'll certainly have to try that out in the future.
Overall, I really liked how the "vortex" worked. To be fair, I like how all my chicken turns out, so I need more experience with the "vortex" before I decided if it is something I "need".
Stay tuned on Sheppy's Blog: Vortex to see more cooks using it.
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