· Master Your Grill
Do I Need A Rotisserie On My BBQ?

The rotisserie, once properly set up, is arguably the easiest way to cook on your barbecue.  And the results are predictably delicious.  As your food cooks, the juices in the food will try to escape. 

Think of the juices that pile on top of your hamburgers and steaks as you’re cooking; that’s the tasty food-juice making a break for it.  However, if you are constantly turning your food, the juices cannot escape as easily and your food literally self-bastes.  That’s why rotisseried (is that a word?) food is juicier than most.

If you like to cook the following foods a rotisserie will improve your quality of life:

  • roast beef
  • prime rib
  • whole chickens
  • turkey
  • roast of lamb
  • pork loins 
  • shish kebabs (with the help of a rotisserie wheel)

 Roast pork on a Broil King rotisserie spit

 Frequently Asked Questions About Rotisseries

Question:

Hi Doc,

Seems like every gas barbecue I see these days has a rear rotisserie burner at the back. If I'm going to buy a new barbecue is this something I need?

Signed,
R. Otashion

Answer:

Dear R,

If you really love to use a rotisserie then this is a good thing to have. With the heat coming solely from the rear, any drippings from your food do not come into contact with open flame. So, you can leave your dinner unattended without worrying about a fire.

However, don't forget that getting your food properly placed and balanced on the rotisserie rod takes a bit of effort. Also, cleaning up the rotisserie hardware and dealing with the electricity for the rotisserie motor takes some time. 

Sincerely,
Doctor McGrillemup

Two chickens on a Broil King rotisserie 

Question: 
Dear Dr. McGrillemup,  

I’m new to using a rotisserie, what are the most important things to remember? 

Signed,
Turny 

Answer:  

Dear Turny, 

In my humble opinion there are two essential things to consider when using your rotisserie:  

#1.  Sense of balance 

Essential to life, but even more important for the rotisserie. Those heavy silver things they put in with the rotisserie – they actually aren’t ‘extras.’ They keep the food you’ve got on the rotisserie balanced, which means the motor isn’t working harder than it has to, and also it means your dinner will turn evenly and consistently. Important if what you’ve got on the rotisserie is the family’s Christmas turkey! 

The food on your rotisserie rod should be as balanced as possible.  If there is one side of the rod that is heavier than the other your motor can quickly burn out and be ruined.  Also, if you have an imbalance, the heavier side will take a long time to rise up and will drop quickly.   This will cause uneven cooking; one side will be overdone and one side will be underdone.  To achieve proper balance take your time when threading the rod through the meat and truss the meat evenly with the meat forks and some extra butcher’s string.   Many rotisserie rods also include a rotisserie balance which help immensely.

If you have a very powerful rotisserie motor (our strongest will turn 140 lbs), then balance is not so essential.  If you have a standard rotisserie  motor (will turn about 12lbs), then you need to ensure that your rotisserie rod is as evenly balanced as possible so your motor will be able to turn it.

 

 Weber Kettle Rotisserie on a Weber Charcoal Kettle

 

#2.  As you know, grease burns when it hits flame. 

Many of today’s new barbecues have an isolated rear rotisserie burner that directs heat at the rotisserie spit from the back of the barbecue instead of from underneath.  The reason for this is because, when heating the spit from underneath, you always run the risk of your food dripping grease on the burners below and causing a roast-ruining flare-up.  If you don’t have a specialized rear rotisserie burner, please make sure that you put a drip pan underneath the food on your spit to catch the drippings.  And, it’s a good idea to add some moisture to that drip pan so that the dripping grease doesn’t get a chance to ignite. 

Weber rotisserie kit on a weber spirit with cooked chicken