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Vent and chimney questions about Vortex

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    Vent and chimney questions about Vortex

    I'm going to be (finally) doing my first Vortex cook tomorrow and I've watched some videos.

    It may be the lighting, but in some videos it looks like people are not opening the bottom vents at all when using the Vortex (but clearly have the top vent all the way open). Wouldn't having the bottom vents full open be the way to go?

    Also, some people light their coals in a chimney then pour into the Vortex. Others dumps the unlit coals in there first, add two lighter cubes, and light them in the Vortex. Is any method better? The light-in-Vortex method would at least eliminate having coals fall outside the cone.

    Both top and bottom vents open when I use the vortex. Airflow is necessary to get the heat rolling. I only use charcoal and light some in a chimney add to vortex and then add unlit coal to top up.
    Enjoy it's a great way of doing the best wings. What you going to be doing?


    • Michael_in_TX
      Michael_in_TX commented
      Editing a comment
      Nashvile Hot Chicken Thighs

    Foil wrapping the charcoal grate, leaving a hole the size of the vortex, and having all vents wide open are important for the highest temps (450-500+). You want all the intake air going up through the vortex and it needs full exhaust in the lid.


    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      What he said, tons of air flow

    I agree that both vents should be open all the way. I don't think where you light the charcoal makes in difference in the cook, but I do think that using the chimney will get the coals ready faster because they are more compact in the chimney. Lighting in the Vortex should take longer because heat travels up faster than it travels sideways. Of course, using more than one starter cube might be faster than the chimney...


      Yup. Both vents wide open. I always use a chimney to start with.
      I haven’t tried using aluminum foil that Polarbear777 mentioned but will definitely try it next cook. It makes sense.


      • LA Pork Butt
        LA Pork Butt commented
        Editing a comment
        I used an aluminum pizza pan an cut a hole out the size of my vortex and the wrap it with foil. I find it easier than wrapping the grate an then cutting the hole.
        Last edited by LA Pork Butt; December 27, 2020, 06:04 PM.

      • Dadof3Illinois
        Dadof3Illinois commented
        Editing a comment
        I just lay foil down around the vortex for easy cleanup. But when I do this on my 26” I have to crack the lid to get above 400 with the vents wide open.

      I also ignite a full chimney and when lit, dump it in the vortex. Add a few coals to tip it off and it should take off in a few minutes if you’ve maximized the airflow.


      • painter
        painter commented
        Editing a comment

      Both vents fully open, foil the charcoal grate to get all air flowing through bottom of vortex. I guess I'm in the minority in that I don't light with a chimney, I just fill the vortex, add a lighter cube and light it.


        Yep. All vents wide open. Foil around the vortex. I use a chimney that is heaping. Dump it when the chimney stops smoking. That fills the vortex up completely for me.


          Both vents wide open. Foil is a yes. I've read 750 with IR gun. Light them as you see fit. I load vortex unlit and cube. Yea takes a bit longer, but I'm not going anywhere. End result is the same.


            Vents wide open. I’ve never bothered with the foil. Still gets plenty hot. Cook chicken wings and thighs perfectly every time. I have a Performer Deluxe and use the built in gas starter to light the coals.


            • Steve B
              Steve B commented
              Editing a comment
              Aahh. Didn’t think of that. Will have to try.

            I’ve tried lighting in the vortex but I prefer lighting in a chimney, it’s much faster and the coals all get lit better. For the foil...I lay down a sheet of heavy duty extra wide foil that covers the entire charcoal grate. I set the vortex on the foil and poke holes in the foil, tracing the circumference of the vortex. Then I pull out the center circle of foil, tearing it along all the holes that I poked. The foil will maximize temps as well as catch drippings.
            Last edited by Red Man; December 27, 2020, 05:05 PM.


            • Panhead John
              Panhead John commented
              Editing a comment
              Might be a stupid question, but I’m assuming by foiling the grate, the air coming in from the bottom vents, pretty much has to shoot through the bottom opening of the vortex right? Creating more airflow from the bottom of the vortex, up through the coals and out the top of the vortex. Thus keeping more heat in the top half of the kettle? Red Man

            • Red Man
              Red Man commented
              Editing a comment
              Panhead John I don’t know about keeping more heat in the top half of the kettle. I do believe it raises the temp at grate level. All the air entering the kettle is burned, so no cold air is drawn in that can bypass the coals and dilute the heat coming off the vortex. Same reason I foil the charcoal grate, or use the DnG, when using the SnS. You get more efficiency out of your coals by not allowing cold air to bypass them.
              Last edited by Red Man; December 27, 2020, 04:26 PM.

            • klflowers
              klflowers commented
              Editing a comment
              Panhead John, plus clean up is a lot easier when you foil the bottom grate. It I am a lazy man so that counts for a lot

            Thank you all so much for your help. It must have been the lighting in those videos.

            I shall do the foil + chimney method. I'll let yall know how the chicken turns out!


              I used my chimney to draw the cutline when I made my poortex. I'm able to pour the coals in without any escaping.


                I cut the hole a few moments ago....really easy and little tearing. I just took a wooden pointed skewer and traced around.


                  I love my vortex so much I asked it to marry me



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