ribs rotisserie grilling

Tips & Techniques for Perfect Rotisserie Grilling

Rotisserie grilling continues to be a favourite way to grill foods. This method is known as grilling on the skewer or “spit-roasting”.

Rotisserie cooking works by roasting meat on a spit or long rod over indirect heat🍗.

The term “spit” refers to a device consisting of one or more metal bars on which meat is skewered. The spit slowly turns so the meat cooks evenly – and gets the perfect sear while locking in flavour. The rotisserie needs to turn at a constant speed in order to cook correctly.

Ok, after this boring explanation, keep reading for the most useful tips to get the best results with your rotisserie attachment.

What is rotisserie cooking?

You should know that when using this method, the meat does not grill, it roasts as it cooks and absorbs a smoke flavour while developing a perfectly crisp crust.

Rotisserie grilling or cooking makes food moist because it seals in the natural juices and flavours, and it sears quickly.

This method is perfect for cooking large cuts of meat or even whole animals, like pig, chicken and turkey.

At BBQ’s Algarve, we want you to make your favourite rotisserie dishes right in your outdoor kitchen or backyard with the tips you will learn in this post.

💆🏻‍♂️In this method, patience is the most important ingredient, but you will see it’s worth it.

rotisserie cooking method with napoleon prestigepro
You can also grill with the grilling basket of your Napoleon PrestigePro.

Why bother with a rotisserie in the first place?

Rotisseries are used most frequently with gas grills, although attachments are available for charcoal kettles and if you want to get really primitive, fire pits.

Also, these days, rotisseries come with electric motors that keep your dish turning gently while you enjoy a cold drink on your deck chair.

Rotisserie grilling is one of the best ways to cook large stuff, for one thing.

Whether you’re cooking brisket, ribs, an entire chicken or any veggies, rotating your food allows it to cook more evenly, stay juicier and finish in less time.

Moreover, this method tends to be less work than grilling or roasting. The meat is constantly turning so it bastes itself.

Now that you’re convinced, keep reading for rotisserie grilling tips with charcoal and gas grills.

Before you begin rotisserie grilling

  • Read the instruction manual. The first place to start is with the instruction manual for your particular grill. Consult the instruction manual you received when you purchased your grill. Follow the directions provided by the manufacturer.
  • Get a rotisserie attachment. If your grill did not include a rotisserie attachment, buy one that is made specifically for your grill type.
  • Check for everything you need. Rotisserie kit, drip pan, a tool set, and a meat thermometer.
  • Follow the indirect grilling method. Both charcoal and gas grills must be preheated before you begin. Rotisserie is a slow cooking process, preheat grill to high. Grill at a high temperature for the first few minutes to sear, lower to medium/low for the remainder of cooking time.

#BBQTip: Use a Drip Pan. A drip pan is great for two reasons. You can use the drippings for gravy after you’re done grilling. You can also fill the drip pan with broth and vegetables to help add flavour to your food.

Rotisserie grilling with a charcoal grill

You can use the charcoal fire to produce indirect heat for rotisserie grilling. You want to generate radiant heat that will evenly roast your foods to a crispy tasty crust.

Start by lighting your charcoal.

🌟Keep the chimney nearby throughout the cooking session to light more coals if needed.

This may be necessary for approximately 30-45 minute intervals for lump charcoal and hourly for briquettes.

Using your grilling gloves, pour your hot coals from the chimney onto the charcoal grate.

With the use of long grilling tongs, spread the coals to the left, the right and around the bed to create a circle called ‘the ring of fire’.

The idea is to leave room in the middle part of the grill to place the drip pan.

Make sure the pan is big enough to cover the length of the meat.

Start off by using high heat to sear meats. Searing helps to ‘lock-in’ the juicy flavour.

Lower the temperature accordingly for the rest of the cooking times. You can lower the temperature by spreading the coals further away from each other. 

#BBQTip Apply sauce in the last 15 to 20 minutes of spit-roasting to prevent excessive sauce browning or burning!

Rotisserie grilling with a gas grill

Rotisserie cooking requires low steady heat to prepare our foods.

Gas grills are known for instant high start-up heat. They are also not known for holding low and steady heat very well. This creates a challenge in trying to maintain the low, constant, steady heat for a domestic rotisserie.

Check if your rotisserie assembly can be raised or lowered on the grill to reduce or increase direct heat.

Also, with the influx of burners, designed to generate even higher heat, the challenge to maintain low, steady heat is even bigger.

Rotisserie grilling with Napoleon PrestigePro
Loving this very juicy poultry cooked with a Napoleon gas grill

Preheat your front and rear burners on high heat. Lower the heat or turn OFF the middle burner. Lower the heat on the front and rear accordingly before placing your food.

If your have a grill cover thermometer or grill surface thermometer, use medium heat, 275 to 300 °F (135-160 °C) is the recommended grill temperature.

Use the rotisserie cooking chart to determine food internal temperature for some of your rotisserie foods.

If you have a burner in the area under which the spit rotates, turn it OFF or to a lower heat setting.

Use medium-low, indirect heat to allow the food to cook evenly.

Flavouring tips

  1. Keep in mind that adding too much flavouring can overpower the natural flavour of the meat.
  2. Fill the drip pan with up to 1 inch of water. To add flavour and keep the meat moist, add your favourite juice: herb, or citrus zest to the drip pan.
  3. Place herbs, citrus zest, or flavouring chips directly on the coals. Be sure to soak in water for 30-45 minutes to prevent burning rather than the desired effect of smoking.
  4. Pour 1/2 to 1 inch of beer or favourite wine in the drip pan.
  5. Use a mixture of olive oil (or melted butter) and your favourite herb for basting fish or poultry.
  6. Prepare a mixture of garlic cloves, peanut oil, and your favourite steak sauce. Use as a basting sauce for beef or pork. Apply during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking time.

Keep the lid shut

Keeping the lid shut allows the convection currents to cook your food all over. If you’re cooking over a fire pit, you don’t have a lid—but if you position your food in the middle of the pit with embers around it, you’ll still get the same convection action.

Make sure your food is secure and the spit is balanced

If the skewer is unbalanced, it won’t turn smoothly and your food won’t cook evenly. Take the time to properly position food on the rotisserie, and roll the skewer around in your hands before putting it on the flame to check the balance.

Check out these grilling accessories

Check for more grilling accessories.

Let your meat rest

This is great advice for every grilling method. Letting your meat rest for 10-20 minutes after cooking is done will allow the juices to redistribute throughout and make the inside of your cut tender and moist. Skipping this step is a recipe for dry, tough meat. Know how you can get the juiciest steaks.

Use a rotisserie grill basket

Instead of using a rotisserie attachment, you could also get a grill basket. How does healthier baked fries and wings cooked to crispy perfection sound for an advantage? By using a basket you will be able to cook more delicious food such.

Moreover, this product is also easy to clean and can even go into the dishwasher.

Other grilling methods

Enjoy your food, roasted to a perfect crisp crust!


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