While we were testing charcoal grill rotisserie kits, we gathered some useful tips that can make the whole process of rotisserie grilling go more smoothly—especially if you’ve never attempted it before. Don’t worry; after the first time, it’s pretty simple.
Before you light the grill, there are a few things you’ll want on hand.
Use a charcoal chimney starter (if you don’t already): Not only do chimney starters light coals quickly and evenly, but they also help you pour out and arrange the hot coals exactly as needed for rotisserie cooking.
Get a disposable drip pan: Don’t forget to buy a 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum pan to place under the meat. While not much really drips in the pan—remember, most of the juices stay in the meat with rotisserie cooking—the pan’s shape holds the coals in place on either side of the grill to create indirect heat. Put the pan on the bottom grate of the grill first, and then pour hot charcoal from the chimney starter along the outside of the long sides of the pan, arranging any stray coals with grill tongs. (Note: Remember to align the pan so that the spit goes over the pan the long way.)
Grab pliers: Regular hardware-store pliers are handy for turning the tiny but important fastening screws that clamp the forks snugly on the spit—the screws are small and slippery and really need to be firmed up to anchor the meat. And when the screws are hot or greasy (such as when it’s time to take cooked food off the spit), pliers are the answer.
Get your kitchen twine: You’ll need it for trussing the food (see below).
Charcoal Grill RotisseriesThese simple kits allow you to spit-roast chicken, pork, lamb, and more on your kettle-style charcoal grill.
What’s the best way to prep food for a rotisserie?
Prepping food and fastening it to the spit is easy to do with a little practice.
- Oil and season first: Before you put food on the spit, oil and season it. For chicken, we added oil, salt, pepper, and herbs inside and out and even tossed a few lemon halves in the cavity. With lamb, we tucked sliced garlic and fresh rosemary sprigs into slashes all over the meat and covered the surface with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. An olive-oil mister/sprayer is useful.
- Truss it up: Tie up any dangling bits on the food with kitchen twine to keep them from burning and to create a compact, uniform shape that will spin and cook more evenly.
- Balance it out: After trussing the food, lightly tighten the first fork on the spit (with the prongs facing in), slide the food onto the spit, and spear it firmly onto the tines. (This is easy with a hollow whole chicken but a bit trickier with a bone-in leg of lamb. Don’t be afraid to pull the food off the spit and try again, because getting the weight distributed as evenly as possible really helps with uniform cooking.) Then add the second fork and spear the food. Slide the food and forks to the center of the spit before using the screws to secure both forks in place. Remember that the food should not spin around on the spit but stay anchored so that it turns with the spit on the grill.
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