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Wings on 26 inch kettle without a vortex

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    Wings on 26 inch kettle without a vortex

    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 chicken on the kettle. I don't have a Vortex (yet...). I have a Slow N Sear XL and the two charcoal baskets. For fuel I've got some Kingsford Blue Bag, B&B briquettes and some B&B lump which I've never used yet.

    Seems most people go hot and fast, but Meathead has a recipe on the free side that is a reverse seer.

    So, how should I roll on this cook, using what I've got?

    Any other things to keep in mind besides the grill setup and fuel?

    You can take your 2 charcoal baskets and put them flat end to flat end in the center of the kettle. Then fill both to the top with hot coals. Kind of as a poor man’s vortex, for now. I’ve done this once, before I knew about the vortex and the wings turned out pretty good.
    Last edited by Panhead John; November 13, 2021, 05:04 PM.


      I have been dying to do this one for a while. I haven’t got a chance yet. I think you could make it work.

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        The SnS xl will work just fine. You may have to shift the wings around a time or two.
        I would go with the lump charcoal for sure and let her rip. Not your wife, your wings. 😁
        Use a fully lit chimney and dump that on a bed of unlit lump. You will have leftover coals. Use them for another cook.
        I usually go anywhere from 450* to as high as 600* on the dome thermometer.
        Cook should take about 40-45min depending on what temps you get.
        I like to pass them over the SnS or Vortex just to give them a little char. But be careful they will burn very fast if you don’t pay attention.
        Good luck and show us some pics afterwards.


          One other thing I've thought of trying. I have three firebricks I used before I got the Slow N Sear. I could put them together in the middle for a triangular vortexy kind of thing. Anyone ever try that?


          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment
            Nope, but wanna see pics, Amigo!

          Keep it simple.

          1. dry brine the wings in the fridge as long as possible up to two days to dry the skin.

          2. Cover the charcoal grate with aluminum foil everywhere the SNS is not. (Forces all incoming air to go through the SnS.

          3 Drop 1 1/2 to 2 fully lit chimneys in the kettle with all vents wide open.

          In 5-10 minutes you should be pegging the dome thermometer on the indirect side (600F) so the indirect side at grate will be at least 450F.

          Spray some oil on the wings and place on indirect side. Flip/move them every 15 minutes or so. Until they are crispy and cooked internally. Usually this is 30-40 minutes. If they get close and you want sauce. I like to sauce them when they still have at least 5 minutes to go to set the sauce.

          I do like two stage wings also, but that’s different. In that case you smoke low to ~150F internal then deep fry or air fry until crispy.

          I don’t do a direct on the grill finishing stage with skin on chicken. Seems to just mess up the skin and tear it. (Could be a skill problem on my part).


            Just out of curiosity, is cooking them on the kettle going to be better than using our Memphis Advantage pellet grill?


            • Debra
              Debra commented
              Editing a comment

            • glitchy
              glitchy commented
              Editing a comment
              I think your Memphis would do well too, since it will get hotter than a lot of other pellet grills. I did some on the MAK a while back that turned out OK, but would have been better had I left the flame zone covers on I think. The kettle might give you a bit more smoky flavor though.

            Well, I decided to use the Slow N Sear since it was already in there and had some leftover B&B briquettes in it. I opened my first bag of lump charcoal, B&B lump and fired up a chimney full. WOW, a lot more flame when fully lit compared to briquettes. Here it is just before dumping it on top of the leftover briquettes. Is it normal to get that much flame?
            I was only reading about 500 degrees on the dome, right over the Slow N Sear, so I had to crack the lid.


            With the lid cracked I pegged the thermometer:

            The cook went fast. I looked after 15 minutes and turned the wings. Came back after another 10 and they were browning pretty good. Instant read thermometer was reading nothing lower than 185 on any of the wings. I let it go another 5 minutes to try to crisp the skin up some then pulled them. Here's the final result:


            Sorry I didn't get a close up picture of the wings after I pulled them. They were nice and brown but the skin was not crispy. It wasn't rubbery, just not crispy. Not sure if another 5 or 10 minutes would have crisped them up without drying out the meat. I did dry brine the wings uncovered in the fridge for about 6 hours.

            All in all, they were good. Trying to get indirect heat that high seems like fighting the grill. Next time, I think I may go for more of a reverse sear attempt. Colder fire, cook most of the way indirect and then move over direct heat to crisp the skin. Either that or maybe low direct heat. Seems like just spreading a chimney of briquettes across the whole charcoal grate would give me direct heat but not too hot. Anyone cook wings that way?


              I’d just go ahead and get you a Vortex so you can see what all the fuss is about. Here’s a cheaper version called the BBQ Whirlpool. It’s half the price of the original Vortex and does the same thing. I’ve got 2 of them and they work great. The quality is also good, no warping issues at all.

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              Last edited by Panhead John; November 15, 2021, 07:49 AM.



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