From Season 5: Two Roast Chickens
Manufacturers herald rotisserie ovens as the easy means to flavorful, juicy, perfectly cooked, lower-fat, and generally glorious food. Skeptics like us are not easily sold, however, so we got our hands on five countertop rotisserie ovens to see what they were capable of.
In each oven, we roasted a whole brined chicken, a 4-pound beef rib roast, and a pork tenderloin. Then we selected one recipe from the instruction manual that came with each machine and cooked it in its respective oven. While we found that the two ovens with a horizontal spit did a better job roasting chickens than did vertical roasters (the chickens seemed more moist and more flavorful), overall we could find little to recommend a countertop rotisserie oven of any type.
The chickens cooked in the two horizontal roasters were decent, but the lurid, ashen pork tenderloins were entirely unappetizing and nearly tasteless. The beef rib roasts browned beautifully, but when cut into revealed egregiously uneven cooking: The perimeters were well done, while the very core of each roast was medium. Demerits were given to one oven for making loading and cleaning very difficult and for directing us to secure our 4-pound beef rib roast in an 8-inch-square by 2 1/4-inch-deep basket (an impossible fit; the roast had to go directly on the spit. Because the second model did a slightly better job roasting the chicken and because it was easier to load, unload, and clean, we thought it the best of the lot.
None of the vertical roasters excelled at any cooking task or equaled the performance of the horizontal models.
Victorinox (formerly Victorinox Forschner) 6-inch Straight Boning Knife: Flexible
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
|★ ★ ★||★ ★ ★||$19.95|
Wüsthof Classic Boning Knife
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasnt sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|★ ★||★ ★ ★||$99.95|
|Recommended with Reservations|
Mundial Boning Knife: Flexible
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
|★ ★||★ ★||$19.95|
Shun Gokujo Filet Knife
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
MAC Boning KnifeChef Series
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
Messermeister San Moritz Elite Flexible Boning Knife
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.