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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 03-04-2016, 04:43 AM   #1
captjoe06
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Join Date: 06-03-15
Location: Gloucester, MA
Default Just figured out the charcoal basket insert on my STOK Kettle works just like a Vortex.

I’ve seen an accessory for kettle BBQ grills called The Vortex. It’s a cone- like structure that funnels the air up through the coals and creates an intense amount of heat for searing steaks. It costs around $40 and people that have purchased them rave about them.
The thing is, the STOK Charcoal Drum comes with an insert that is supposed to be used as a chimney but it’s the same shape as The Vortex.
See this pic from when I first assembled the STOK grill

Here is an image of the Vortex from a

The video is quite good and gives some great tips on other things you can do with The Vortex (and thereby also with the charcoal basket insert that comes included with the STOK Charcoal Kettle) It should be noted that the Vortex is made from 20 gauge 304 grade stainless steel whereas the charcoal basket that comes free with the STOK Charcoal Drum is made of powder coated steel.

As you can see the two units are nearly identical.
I decided to flip the Charcoal insert that comes with the STOK Drum upside down and see if it would do the same thing as the Vortex.
Here’s how it went-
Flipped the STOK charcoal basket insert upside down, dropped in a crumpled piece of newspaper, lit it and filled it with lump Charcoal and waited for the temps to climb.

Tossed the ribeye on, three minutes, then flipped for three minutes on the other side. The upside down STOK Charcoal Basket created an intense amount of directed volcano-like heat, perfect for searing.

After three minutes on each side directly over the coals, put them on the outside of where the coals were and placed the cover on.
The results were perfect.

After a 10 minute rest. Just perfect!
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Old 03-04-2016, 05:07 AM   #2
mattmountz94
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Join Date: 12-07-15
Location: Wernersville, PA
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Great find! That steak looks very good
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Old 03-04-2016, 01:01 PM   #3
charrederhead
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Join Date: 06-29-12
Location: Litchfield County, CT
Name/Nickname : Pete
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yup!

I bought a used Stok off CL a couple of years ago for the grate- who knew it had another can't-live-without accessory.
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Old 03-04-2016, 03:00 PM   #4
Stingerhook
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Join Date: 02-13-12
Location: SE Florida
Name/Nickname : Marty
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You will really love doing wings around the perimeter or any kind of chicken.
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Old 03-04-2016, 03:18 PM   #5
KevinJ
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Join Date: 07-09-15
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That's a good looking steak
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Old 03-05-2016, 12:48 PM   #6
creekwalker
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Joe, thanks for the post. Note: for any dullards like me who are wondering what the Stok insert grilling system is, click on "here's a pic" in the post and look at the videos...that information was not in a form that I could understand on the Stok website.

Do you know what the gauge of the steel used to make the body of the grill is? (I'm trying to figure out if there is at least some reason why it's priced so low compared to the Weber--since the Weber doesn't seem over-priced to begin with.)
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Old 03-05-2016, 03:25 PM   #7
captjoe06
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creekwalker View Post
Joe, thanks for the post. Note: for any dullards like me who are wondering what the Stok insert grilling system is, click on "here's a pic" in the post and look at the videos...that information was not in a form that I could understand on the Stok website.

Do you know what the gauge of the steel used to make the body of the grill is? (I'm trying to figure out if there is at least some reason why it's priced so low compared to the Weber--since the Weber doesn't seem over-priced to begin with.)
The gauge steel used for the drum is comarable to the Weber. The lid feels as solid. There are some pluses and minuses in the system compared to the $150 Weber.

One the STOK is cheaper and comes with more features. One that I especially like is the charcoal basket which doubles as a chimney and with my new discovery, a vortex. I've used many of the inserts including the rib rack and veggie basket. They both work well. I've used it with the Kettle pizza attachment and that worked well. I LOVE the included cast iron grates. All pluses going for the STOK charcoal drum. It also comes with a built in lid thermometer.

Now there are also some negatives. The top vent is pretty leaky and I generally have to wedge a small wood chip to keep it in the position I want it to stay. the only their negative is that the ash pan is made of steel and the knob/lever has started to rust and wiggle a bit after one year of use.

You can often times find the STOK for around $110 on sale at Target and that's a good value compared to a $150 Weber.

If I had $110 to spend and I was advising a friend After a year using both a beat up 2008 Weber 22 kettle and brand new STOK 22 inch kettle I'd tell them to keep an eye on Craig's list for a $50-$75 used Weber with an ash pan that was in decent shape and spend the leftover money on new grates if it needs it, if not, charcoal or accessories like a chimney, weber lighter cubes, charcoal, a charcoal caddy.

Here's a ton of posts with reviews of each of the accessories I've tried with the STOK-
https://goodmorninggloucester.wordpress.com/?s=STOK

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-05-2016, 04:04 PM   #8
creekwalker
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Thanks very much Joe. I hadn't been looking for a big grill, but with some of these features and this kind of price, now I'm thinking about it...
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