Nowadays people mainly use a safe and sanitized version of the fire pits of previous centuries - i.e. a barbecue grill. But many people also want to be able to cook something bigger than burgers and chicken wings etc.
This is where BBQ rotisserie kits come in. If you have a grill like a Weber kettle or a Char-Broil grill, you can simply buy the kit that fits your grill - and instantly you massively increase your BBQ cooking options.
The technique of using a rotisserie is one of the oldest and best ways to barbecue large pieces of meat.
It rotates slowly, turning bigger joints of meat such as a leg of pork or a whole chicken or two over and over above the coals – slow roasting it to delicious perfection, crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside.
The benefit of using a rotisserie lies in the taste and tenderness of the finished food. It is a BBQ tool that produces delicious, evenly cooked food - great results with minimal effort. I don’t know why more barbeque chefs don’t go for it.
It’s actually a centuries old idea – medieval at least – but now battery or mains powered rather than by a peasant on a treadmill. The battery powered versions are perhaps better because you avoid trailing power cables to where the cooking action is.
There are versions designed to attach to certain brands of BBQ, and there are versions specifically for use with a camp fire or pit BBQ.
This is pretty awesome to do - take your battery powered BBQ rotisserie on a camping expedition and slow roast a couple of chickens over a camp fire in the wilderness.
In short, anything big:
In fact, it’s pretty much the only way a hog roast can be done. Such a big piece of meat needs a more gradual and consistent application of heat. So, for some applications, a BBQ rotisserie is an essential tool.
There are three things to get right here.
Firstly the meat, whatever it is, needs to be loaded securely on to the spit and held in place.
Do this either with the built in skewers and maybe truss it further with twine or wire so that there are no legs or wings, etc, flopping about as the spit turns.
The load needs to be evenly distributed so the isn’t a heavy side as it rotates. This puts the whole set up out of balance and meat can end up cooked unevenly. So before you start cooking, roll the spit round by hand and feel for yourself whether the weight distribution is even.
Trussing wire might be handy for this job - use it to secure any loose fitting parts.
Secondly, perhaps the biggest issue is the fire. This is an indirect barbeque method which means meat is cooked by the radiant heat and smoke from the fire.
The food is directly above the charcoal (or gas) but higher than with grilling. Also, due to the rotation, obviously, no one area gets heat for too long.
So, the heat is low and roasting times are longer so the coals are best laid in one or two strips to either side of the meat and a drip pan placed directly beneath it. The drips can be used to baste the meat, although it mainly bastes itself as it turns.
Lastly, you need to know when it is done. Experience comes with practice, otherwise a digital meat thermometer is the best way to do this – if you know the internal temperature, you can be certain.
Most of the well known grill manufacturers make BBQ rotisserie kits that fix to a normal grill, and can easily accommodate something the size of a turkey, pork shoulder or whatever.There are Weber rotisserie kits available for, I think every model of Weber BBQ, certainly the kettle and cart grills (both charcoal and gas BBQ grills).
If you want to try something more large scale - build yourself a BBQ pit in your yard (it's easier than you might think) and feed your entire neighborhood with a whole hog roast! Something like this kit from Spitjack might be what you're after:
It contains everything you need - rotisserie, gloves, trussing needle and wire - everything except the hog and the fire!