7 Best Rotisseries | February 2017
- dial-style timer operation
- drains excess fat while cooking
- the outside surface can get very hot
- electric motor with on/off switch
- can also be manually rotated
- difficult to install
- 1875 watts of power
- large enough to fit a 12-inch pizza
- can only roast chickens up to 4 lbs
- auto shut-off timer
- multipurpose basket included
- precise rotation speed
Reasons Why Rotisserie is Better
The rotisserie is a method of roasting meat by rotating it over a heat source. The meat is skewered along a spit which turns evenly to cook the meat from the outside in. The spit is a long steel rod designed to hold the weight of the meat and puncture through without damaging it. Rotisseries are primarily used for larger animals to be roasted in whole; pig, turkey, and chicken are prime examples of optimally roasted meats.
While there are a number of ways to cook meat, the roasting by rotisserie method has many advantages over flat grilling. Flat grilling is often associated with the idyllic summertime barbecue with the patriarch supervising hot dogs on a gas or charcoal grill. These grills are prone to flare ups, burning the meat, and undercooking the interior.
A flare up is when juices from the meat fall off into the coals and further stoke the fire. The result is larger flames crisping the skin and preventing the inside of the meat from being fully roasted. The rotisserie eliminates this issue; the juices don't leave the meat and as a result, a more savory meat is the result with no flare ups.
Rotisseries are more predictable with grilling times whereas a closed grill has the cook supervising frequently and often overcooking the meat. Basting is not necessary with a rotisserie method. Since the meat is always rotating, the juices inside rotate as well, and no moisture is lost. As another bonus, the rotisserie can be a cleaner option. I'd rather suspend my meat over a flame then plant it on a rusted dirty rack that has been exposed to the elements.
Don't Stop Spinning Now!
There are a few options and styles of rotisserie. The most common method is a horizontal rotisserie, which you may have seen before in your local grocery store's deli; whereas a shaved lamb for a gyro would be on a vertical rotisserie. The latter is more common in Middle Eastern cuisine; Doner kebabs and shawarma come to mind. The vertical spit needs the heat source to come from the sides; so a campfire would not work.
This spit is beneficial, however, for greasy meats like lamb and Al Pastor, which are drained by gravity. Also, seasonings and sauces can be added to the top of a vertical rotisserie to drip down and flavor the meat below. A simply example would be pineapple juices running down and caramelizing with the meat, creating a delicious combination. The horizontal spit is more commonly found as an attachment to a grill, or a stand-alone unit to be used over an open flame.
Some modern models are simply convection ovens that come with spits for the option of rotisserie. They may be vertical or horizontal spits. While versatile, this small ovens cannot fit chickens or other meats larger than 4 or 5 lbs, which can be rather limiting. Not to mention the fact that they need electricity to work. If you chose a non-electric model, you will need to supply an open flame or have a grill. It is the consumer's preference as to which model will be more adequate.
Depending on the use of your rotisserie, a manual model will differ from an electrically operated model. The open flame rotisserie is ideal for camping, BBQ grilling, or a large outdoor event such as a pig roast. The rotisserie might be as simple as a spit skewer to lay across a gas or charcoal grill. The rotation of the spit may be operated manually, although some clever rotisseries rotate by an electric motor which keeps the roast at the same revolutions per minute.
The rotisserie oven is for smaller meats that don't require the time and energy to build a fire. The smart city slicker who doesn't have the space or means to build a flame or operate a grill, for example. They take up less space and are used indoors with ease, and no smoke is created.
No Spring Chicken
The earliest recorded literature about roasted chicken comes to us from the Medieval period in France. In the 12th century, King Richard the Lionheart was a large supporter of grilled chicken, and of course the popularity grew.
In Medieval times, using a spit for cooking meat was the preferred method; particularly by the working class. An individual, usually a young boy, would stay by the fire and slowly rotate the meat by hand. This task was given to an assigned spit boy or spit jack.
As technology improved, different power sources were implemented to ease the process. Mechanical turnspits, steam powered, shifting gears, and even dogs on treadmills were all used at one point or another to turn the golden meat. Luckily today, some spits are electric to ensured a slow, even roast with minimal supervision and energy. Much to your pooch's delight, I might add.
Since the 1930's, the rotisserie chicken became available to the American public via supermarkets. It has steadily been a consumer favorite, particularly with signature markets in Costco. They are prepared in for consumers with additional steps.
You should note all displayed chickens in the market are treated with a water and salt solution, otherwise, they would not survive the extended roasting period. As fast food rose to prominence in the 1960's, the home cooking of the rotisserie began to fade. Boston Market re-invigorated the method in the 1990's, as a way to meld fast food with home cooking.