The 10 Best Rotisseries
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in December of 2015. Spit-grilled grub isn’t just for kebab restaurants and professional chefs. You, too, can get your cooking juices flowing at home with one of these rotisseries. Many are multifeatured, including convection, frying, and toaster settings, but all are designed to do at least one thing: whet your carnivorous appetite with crisp, juicy, and succulent meat. They're easier to clean than you'd think, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 31, 2019:
We've kept a range of models for both indoor and outdoor use, so you can enjoy a rotisserie bird in any season, rain or shine. For indoor cooking, the Cuisinart Convection Toaster remains a top choice; true, it's not exactly inexpensive, but it offers 12 functions, so you get quite a bit of bang for your buck. It's made from stainless steel for longevity, and features a 3-year warranty. If you'd rather be out nature, the Weber 22-Inch is one to consider. Note that you'll need to measure your grill carefully, as it's not a one-size-fits-all, as you may have guessed from the name. The Grizzly Spit is also a fine option, but it can go through batteries rather quickly. If you're planning an extended camping trip, you'll want to pack extras. Finally, after some consideration, we decided to remove the NutriChef Multi-Function. Some users have trouble getting it to rotate properly, making it not worth the price. The Hamilton Beach Countertop is a good alternative for a similar cost, but the exterior does heat quickly, so keep it out of reach if you have curious children.
Philips Smoke-less Indoor Grill It's something of an investment, since you'll have to buy both the Philips Smoke-less Indoor Grill as well as the Avance Collection Rotisserie Accessory, but if you can't have a true outdoor grill for any reason, it may be a useful investment. Plus, its uncomplicated design makes it simple to clean. philips.com
Reasons Why Rotisserie is Better
I'd rather suspend my meat over a flame then plant it on a dirty, rusted rack that has been exposed to the elements.
The rotisserie is a method of roasting meat by rotating it over a heat source. The meat is skewered along a spit that turns evenly to cook it 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 like these are primarily used for larger animals to be roasted whole; pig, turkey, and chicken are prime examples of optimally roasted meats.
While there are a number of ways to cook meat, roasting by rotisserie 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 outside of 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 a more juicier cut is the result.
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 dirty, rusted 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.
The rotisserie might be as simple as a spit skewer to lay across a gas or charcoal grill.
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 as 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, these 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 preferable.
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 (or for 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 operate indoors with ease without creating any smoke.
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 its popularity grew.
As fast food rose to prominence in the 1960s, home use of the rotisserie began to fade.
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 power, 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 ensure a slow, even roast with minimal supervision and energy. Much to your pooch's delight, I might add.
Since the 1930s, the rotisserie chicken has been available to the American public via supermarkets. It has steadily been a consumer favorite, particularly with signature markets in Costco. You should note that 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 1960s, home use of the rotisserie began to fade. Boston Market re-invigorated the method in the 1990s, as a way to meld fast food with home cooking.