How to Cook With a Spit Roast

Written by a.j. andrews Google
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How to Cook With a Spit Roast
Spit roasting can be facilitated by means of an open flame or a gas rotisserie. (campfire image by Eisenhans from

Spit roasting is a versatile and efficient cooking method based on three principles---time, mass and distance. Cooking time is determined by the size of the food item and its distance from the heat source. Spit roasts, also referred to as rotisseries, can cook foods ranging in size and diversity from small vegetables, such as potatoes, to large proteins, such as whole pigs.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Rotisserie or grill rotisserie attachment
  • Dripping pan
  • Cooking liquid
  • Oven gloves
  • Probe (meat) thermometer

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  1. 1

    Prepare all food items in a manner conducive to rotisserie cooking, and apply any marinades, rubs or seasonings if desired. Certain food items, such as beef roasts and whole chickens, should be trussed with kitchen twine. This promotes uniform cooking and even heat distribution throughout the product. If roasting large items, such as a whole pig, ensure it falls within the weight capacity of the rotisserie or rotisserie grill attachment.

  2. 2

    Skewer the spit rod through the centre of the food item, centre it on the spit and secure it with the spit fork prongs. Slide the other spit fork over the rod and insert it in the opposite side of the food item. Tighten the spit fork securely to the rod. Insert the rod into the rotisserie motor socket. Turn the rotisserie on to check if the product rotates unobstructed. All sides of the product should be the same distance from the heat source as the spit rotates.

  3. 3

    Preheat the grill to a temperature applicable to the product's size. For instance, larger items, such as whole pigs, respond best to low heat (approximately 93.3 degrees Celsius) and long cooking times (4 to 24 hours, depending on weight). Smaller items, such as whole roaster chickens, respond best to medium heat and can reach serving temperature in 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. If using a gas grill, do not turn on the jets located directly underneath the food item. If using charcoal, arrange the briquettes on either side of the product being roasted. Rotisserie cooking is an indirect-heat preparation method, and a heat source too close to the food causes the exterior to overcook before the interior reaches an adequate serving temperature.

  4. 4

    Place the dripping pan underneath the food item. Adding liquid to the dripping pan creates a moist-heat environment, and -- if using a liquid with aromatic qualities -- augments the food's flavour profile. In addition to water, commonly-used cooking liquids include ale, wine and beef stock. Add enough liquid to the dripping pan to reach approximately 1 1/2 inches up the sides.

  5. 5

    Close the lid while cooking if using a grill-attached rotisserie.

  6. 6

    Monitor the internal temperature of the food by inserting a probe thermometer into its centre. In addition to size, several variables, such as weather conditions and elevation, affect an item's outdoor cooking time; therefore, the internal temperature gauges the doneness of the food most effectively. Cook poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 73.9 degrees Celsius, allow pork to reach 71.1 degrees C and cook steaks and roasts to 62.8 degrees C.

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