BusinessMastering The Spit Roaster Rotisserie: Essential Tips and Tricks

Mastering The Spit Roaster Rotisserie: Essential Tips and Tricks

Imagine the allure of a succulent roast slowly rotating over crackling flames, filling the air with an irresistible aroma. This captivating spectacle is the world of spit roasting—a culinary art with roots deep in ancient civilizations. Today we explore this world of spit roasters, as we take a journey through the all the essential tips and tricks needed to master this style of cooking. Whether you are cooking a whole animal for 100 people or small portions of roast for the family on a Sunday, we have it covered.

Gas, Fire, Wood, or Charcoal – What’s the Best Fuel?

One of the first things you will need to decide is the type of fuel source for your spit roaster. Most people come from the land of BBQ where gas is the norm. However, in the world of spit rotisseries charcoal as a fuel source is still very popular. In fact, dual fuel models, which utilize gas AND charcoal are often seen, allowing the best of both worlds. Let’s break down the pros and cons of each:

Charcoal – A good charcoal will burn without producing smoke and give off amazing heat for a prolonged period of time. 

The main pros of charcoal spit rotisseries are:

  • Don’t produce smoke and burn for a long duration.
  • Provide a beautiful charcoal BBQ flavour to the meat.
  • Can be easily moved around the charcoal pan to provide more control over cooking the meat. You only have to provide heat where you want it and can place more charcoal in areas where the meat is thicker. This is particularly advantageous when cooking whole animals.

The main cons of charcoal spit rotisseries are:

  • Costs anywhere from $30-40 per 8 hours of whole animal cooking – this will typically be more expensive than gas but is dependent on the area.
  • Requires lighting, pouring into the charcoal pan and additional placement of fresh charcoal during the cook.
  • Leaves behind ash which requires cleaning.

Wood – Wood has the same advantageous and disadvantageous as Charcoal. However, it is important to note the following differences:

  • Wood tends to not burn as long as charcoal, so more is required.
  • Make sure you buy properly dried wood for smoking – you can’t use firewood as that will smoke intensely and leave an unpleasant flavour!

Gas – Gas is the most well-known fuel for cooking BBQ’s in western culture. The pro’s and cons of gas are outlined below.

The main pros for gas spit rotisseries are:

  • Cheap to run compared to the other methods. However, if you are only utilising a small area of the skewer (such as cooking a roast) then the whole burner will be on and heat is wasted.
  • Easy to get started.
  • Gas is available everywhere (such as “swap n go’s” from service stations)
  • Don’t leave behind ash residual after the cook (easier to clean)

The main cons for gas spit rotisseries are:

  • Limited control over the heat output to certain areas of the cook – can be a problem when cooking whole animals.
  • Don’t impart a unique flavour to the meat.

What Size Spit Roaster do I need?

The next question you will want to ask yourself is “what size spit do I need?”. Most spits will come in three general sizes: 1000 mm, 1200 mm, and 1500 mm. There are of course large ones than this, extendable ones that adjust in size and everything in between. However, these three sizes are good to demonstrate what you can and can’t fit on them:

1000 mm

  1. These will not fit whole animals. You won’t be able to do pigs or lambs. You could possibly fit small piglets up to 15 kg on here!
  2. You can expect to fit 3-5 small roasts (under 2.5 kg)
  3. 2 large roasts (around 5-7 kg). for example, you could fit a whole 7 kg rump and 7 kg pork deboned rolled leg.

1200 mm

  1. You can start to fit whole pigs up to 19 kg on this size. You will not be able to fit whole lambs on here.
  2. You will fir 4-6 small roasts (under 2.5 kg)
  3. You can fit 3 large roasts here (around 5-7 kg each)

1500 mm

  1. At this size you can fit large whole animals including lambs and pigs. You could expect to fit animals up to 35-45 kg in size (depending on the type)
  2. You will fir 7-9 small roasts (under 2.5 kg)
  3. You can fit 4 large roasts here (around 5-7 kg each)

What Size and Type of Motor should I get?

Motor size is an extremely important aspect of any spit roaster. There are two types: variable speed (where you can adjust how fast it rotates) and fixed speed (usually set at 5 RPM). Unless you plan on experimenting or just love to tinker while you cook, the one speed (5 RPM) motor will be the easiest and most robust motor. It will have less parts, less maintenance, and given the same quality, will last longer.

You also have the choice of 240 V (plugs into your mains power) or DC battery powered. If you plan on camping with your spit, you will most likely want the DC battery powered motor. However, if you own a large stationary spit, a mains powered motor is nearly always the best bet.

Lastly, the motor weight rating is the last thing to consider. They range from 4 kg rated (for camping spits) to 120 kg rated for large whole animals). As a guide most large animals the typical user will cook will never be more than 40 kg. In fact, they will most likely be less than 30 kg. We tend to think the 120 kg motor is not required and the 60 kg rated motor will nearly always provide all the flexibility required to cook anything you can think of!

How to Use and Cook on a Spit roaster

Using and cooking on a spit roaster is a simple task once you know everything involved. If you want to continue learning more about this aspect of spit roasting we highly recommend reading the How to Cook a Pig on a Spit Roaster Rotisserie guide. This guide is full of videos and information on how to cook a whole pig on a spit. The best part is it includes all the cooking tips you need to master any meat you may wish to cook on a spit rotisserie. If you would prefer to watch it as a full video you can find How to Cook a Pig on a Rotisserie Video below!

For a full in-depth guide to everything spit roaster related, including the history of spit rotisserie cooking, DIY spits, and related topics check out: Spit Roasters | The Ultimate Guide.

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