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The Vortex as a Wok burner?

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    The Vortex as a Wok burner?

    So, tangential to this question:
    So it nears Christmas time now, and it is double-discount week for Lowe’s associates (I am one), and I was trolling the website looking for fun things to buy my Weber kettle, and came across the Chimney of Insanity, and wondered i it lived up to the hype from its makers. It seems like a good idea, coupled with the Dragon

    comes the follow-up thought: What is the Vortex, and what does it actually do?

    I’ve read glowing reviews about how well it works, and I admire its simplicity, but it looks like it would be a concentrator of heat, while all the write-ups talk about is how it cooks indirectly. So I’m a bit confused.

    I would love it if I could use it for the concentrated point heat source of a wok burner. Which it may also do. But then, I have also gotten an OG SnS, and it is not at all the same thing.

    But it looks like it’s another way to control air flow around the heat source.

    I’ve gleaned some info from these links:
    My wife just brought home about two dozen chicken wing drumettes. I guess she got tired of me showing here pictures of people making wings on their kettles and decided it's time to put up or shut up. They are what's for dinner tomorrow night. I've never done wings on the kettle. Everyone seems to rave about the Vortex for

    There was a little mention of cooking with a wok on the pod cast. Just thought I’d toss in my 1 & a 1/2 cents into the fray. Cast Iron was mentioned, it is not good for Chinese

    but now I am inspired to do this one with either the SnS or a Vortex (should I get one, probabilities are rising):
    Click image for larger version Name: 4l6tkH7YI_WBY3HcTvdjy83t3gnLrXcUnAJmLu3JGSIZBCduN5tY4RnezD8ELqYlZHqCwB0HzTmLeuS2CeiFq-k0YwERWloWMlI-SBI3eYdTGw-2BmSCQ8kI9SU0CJ3Y3se9nf-QLBlxR339RmFKMdFLYblemC6XeVK7EpyD5BLbwe5OVI-_0lb_WCc3_nEcWGTqIlAF6xC4KpZYhwnAnucwzVqVEPdJQDHol2IK9eHSpLh5aXgosDdteYELc-k Views: 183 Size: 409.8 KB

    Damn! It’s late and I’m overthinking things again.

    FWIW, I have done it. Used the Vortex on my weber kettle. I have not looked at all the links above, but I had the large end of the Vortex up, an Alclad wok and 1/2 chimney of lite Kingsford coals. I made chicken stir-fry.

    It came out Ok, but needed improvement. Next time use 3/4 to 1 full chimney and the Vortex up with the small end. I think it would have made a world of difference.


      The Vortex generates high temp indirect heat. Intense heat radiates out from the metal cone which concentrates the fire and that heat. Great for wings and thighs to get crispy skin.

      I have a Slow and Sear on my kettle but I generally use it for Low and Slow or reverse sear. Not sure it would throw off the same level of indirect heat the Vortex can. Two different tools for two different cooking methods.

      I see no reason why you couldn't use it to stir fry. Unless the wok smothers the fire somehow since there are no vents on the side of the Vortex.


        Depending on how your thought processes work it might be enlightening to look up "venturi effect", that's what works in a conventional vortex arrangement. Very briefly, the air flow is accelerated though the necked down shape which intensifies the fire. The indirect comes from it's size (there are, I believe, three sizes of vortex like items on the market) being less than that of the grate above it.

        Functional for a wok? Sure................

        Click image for larger version

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        • DTro
          DTro commented
          Editing a comment
          Nice smoker/grill! Is the Vortex sitting one the lower grate?

        • Uncle Bob
          Uncle Bob commented
          Editing a comment
          DTro yes, on the second level grate.

        • BBillFleet
          BBillFleet commented
          Editing a comment
          Well, the venturi effect explains the heightened temperatures, and would imply a 'jet' of superheated air and radiant heat out of the top (given adequate ventilation). But I hadn't seen much talk about that, just talk about the indirect effects from it.

          So I started to wonder, "does it NOT do that, somehow?" But in retrospect and with some better input, it looks like the 'jet' out the top bounces off the lid and spreads out. But it still usable as a point source if I need one. Like for a Wok.

        You need to get the vortex if only to make those kettle fried thighs. Can't give Attjack enough credit for that. It's become my family's favorite meal.

        Regarding the question at hand, yes it will work as a wok burner. That puppy gets hotter than I thought possible.


        • BBillFleet
          BBillFleet commented
          Editing a comment
          This is what I wanted to hear! And yes, those 'fried' thighs are calling to me...

        My sediments exactly, as Ol’ Uncle Bob stated, Sure!


          You'll need a wok with handles that allow you to gold the wok and raise it up and down, as well as tossing the ingredients. Woks are no set and forget. Just watch a video of traditional wok chefs. Insanely hot flames with wok being moved in and out, up and down, tossing and stirring.


            So thank you everyone for the input, I think I will pull the trigger.

            Next questions:


            • CandySueQ
              CandySueQ commented
              Editing a comment
              I have a small Vortex and a 12" wok. I use it on the Weber Jumbo Joe. Works great as a wok fire. I put the wok right on the top of the Vortex (no grate) so the small works fine for me.

            I’ve got the cheaper BBQ Whirlpool and am totally satisfied with it. I’ve got 2 of them actually, the one I’ve had for almost a year still works just fine. No warping…still has original shape and contour. It’s about half the price of the original Vortex.
            Also, it makes a great searing machine for Steaks, Chops or whatever. It’s also an excellent way for using your CI to make blackened catfish, pork chops or steaks. The advantage I’ve found, over using the SnS insert, is the round hole in the vortex is perfect for CI pans. If you have a large CI skillet you can just turn the Vortex upside down, with the wider bottom end, up.

            I’ve used my IR Thermometer on the vortex, it’s about 1000* at the top, with a full load of coals.

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            Last edited by Panhead John; December 9, 2021, 04:14 PM.


              Vortex creates intense heat directly above for pans and woks - just have to leave space or use a grate so the wok doesn’t seal off the top of the vortex.

              when you cover the lit vortex in the grill that translates to about 500 indirect around the grate for all those skin covered chicken parts.

              best at both of those types of cooks.


                Nice! I've pulled the trigger on the QuilMetal Panhead John mentioned above, it arrives today. if it doesn't arrive too late, maybe I can do those Kettle Fried chicken thighs!


                  I've used the SnS under my cast iron wok and it worked really well. The Vortex shape should work even better.



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