The Barbecue Rotisserie
A barbecue rotisserie is a grill with a rotisserie built-in or attached. Many newer gas grills, as pictured here, come standard with a rotisserie device. Even some charcoal grills or fire pits can be rigged up to use rotisserie devices with them.
These grill rotisseries are actually a great addition to any outdoor chef's repertoire! If you haven't discovered it already, a rotisserie is the key to incredibly succulent roasts of all kinds. While directly grilling large cuts of meat or whole poultry on the grill can dry it out quickly, the steady turning of a rotisserie guarantee's even cooking and maximum juiciness.
For tips on how to cook with a rotisserie, see my Grill Rotisserie Cooking page!
Advantages of a Barbecue Rotisserie
- Even Cooking: Why do you think you see rotisseries roasting chickens in every supermarket? Because it is the most fool-proof way to evenly cook large roasts while keeping the meat succulent and juicy! The thing is, large roasts take a while to cook. If you leave them on direct heat on a regular grill the outside will be burnt to a crisp before the inside is even close to done. Alternatively, if you babysit it and constantly turn the roast, you cook yourself in the process and you loose all that nice ambient heat and smoke that your barbecue lid should be holding in. A rotisserie grill (particularly if it is a motorized one) allows you to relax, leave the lid closed and let your roast grill slowly. The constant turning motion ensures that each part of the roast is cooked evenly without burning. Therefore, when it is done, the outside is a nice golden brown but not burnt and the inside is perfectly done, retaining its succulent juices.
- Less Work: No more constant turning of large roasts. Just set up a motorized rotisserie and occasionally check to baste or test the doneness. This saves time and effort!
- Ability to Roast Large Cuts of Meat: On a regular direct heat grill, searing is the name of the game. Smaller cuts of meat that cook quickly are ideal for this type of grill cooking. For bigger cuts like tri-tip, whole poultry, leg of lamb, and pork loins, the cooking times are longer, you need less intense heat and you want even, thorough cooking. While you can use indirect heat grilling techniques for some of these, a barbecue rotisserie makes it extremely easy and guarantees evenly cooked, juicy roasts.
Disadvantages of a Barbecue Rotisserie
- Not Universally Available: The only real disadvantage is that rotisseries are not offered for every type of grill. Most new gas grill lines come standard with a motorized rotisserie built-in. However, most charcoal grills or fire pits do not. For grills or fire pits that do not come with a rotisserie, you can look for rotisseries which can be attached to grills, but some grills will simply not work. Another option is to rig up a rotisserie of your own, but this clearly takes some work. If all else fails, sell your old grill and buy a new grill rotisserie which is ready to go.
- Cost: This is actually not a really big deal. Although grill models with a rotisserie built-in do tend to cost a bit more than others, the difference is not that great. If it is only a matter of a bit of money, I recommend you go for the barbecue rotisserie as it makes your grill much more versatile and effective for a whole number of different recipes.
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