How to build a fire for spit-roasting

Updated February 21, 2017

Correctly building a fire for spit roasting will help ensure the meat you'll be cooking will turn out to be delicious. The slow, even heat and self-basting produces a tender and juicy main course for your meal. Learn how to build a fire for spit roasting the right way and look forward to a crowd-pleasing meal.

Choose a spot for the fire carefully, particularly if you plan to spit roast over an open fire pit. Be sure the area is protected from any wind, and that the pit itself is non-flammable. For smaller roasts, you can build a fire in a barbecue grill or even in your fireplace.

Learn that charcoal is what's usually recommended for spit roasting, as it gives off a more intense heat more quickly than wood. Once the coals are hot, arrange them in two rows, one about 10 cm (4 inches) in front of where the spit will turn, the other about 10 cm (4 inches) behind. This helps to keep the fat from dripping directly onto the fire, which causes flare-ups that will burn the meat. Place a drip pan under the food to help prevent flare-ups as well.

Know that the fire needs to be big, and needs to be well tended as spit roasting is usually done for a long period of time. It's recommended that you have several people in charge of keeping an eye on the fire, to be sure it doesn't burn down and affect the even cooking of your meat. If you'd rather add pre-burned charcoal to the fire, you'll need to keep a separate fire going to re-supply coals as the spit-roast fire burns down.

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