The approach of Labor Day means the end of summer and inevitably brings drastically reduced prices for all barbecue related items including grills. The grill you have just purchased is very hefty, industrial in appearance, polished to a gleaming shine, and well deserving of manly respect. It’s grates are cast iron and the burners throw searing flames of love towards the marinated meat above. The control knobs for the flames are not labeled ‘low, medium and high’ but ‘hot, hotter and WTF’! This grill requires a 10 foot envelope of clearance when in full flame and seems to glow a bright red. This is a manly type grill and therefore is worthy of being stored in the mancave. For this grill comes with a rotisserie spit and a special rear burner.
These customized units that allow your chunk of meat to roast and slowly turn can been dated back to medieval times. Spit boys, as they were called, sat by the fire and kept the skewered meats moving by manually rotating the spit. This let the heat penetrate the meat from all angles on a continuous and even basis. Meat sitting over a flame on a grill will generally just cook the closest side first, but when rotating, all sides get the heat and any basting can be done with ease.
Some specially designed grills have a rotisserie flame that burns from the back of the grill. Others rotisserie units come in kits you can buy and are implemented into your manly grill utilizing the flames from the burners below. The most important things when using a rotisserie are balance, support and security. If the balance is off, the meat will not rotate evenly and burn some sections while leaving others less cooked or even raw. A strong support will keep the meat in place and accurately distanced just far enough from the flame. Securing the meat to the spit will allow it to rotate and not just be stationary while the spit spins inside by itself.
Rotisserie roasted meats should be rotated at a quicker pace early in the cooking process to help raise the internal temperature and not allow the exterior to burn. The rotation should then be slowed later in the process to allow a browning of the outer skin or crust. Here in America, probably the most recognized meats used on the rotisseries would be whole chickens or the heaven sent cut called the Prime Rib Roast. This succulent hunk of lovin’ is usually seasoned with garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and allowed to slowly roast evenly while being basted with its own drippings. This roast is perfect for Christmas dinner and is the most tender when served medium rare.
A vertical style of spit and rotisserie offers many delicious benefits as well. Greece is famous for their gyros. It involves their version of vertical roasting lamb, goat, chicken, turkey and beef. Once roasted, the meat is then shaved off and served inside a bread called Pita and topped with a cucumber yogurt sauce called Tzatziki. Mexican cuisine takes us full circle and back to pork. It’s vertical spit cooking method uses pork and pineapple served inside soft tortillas shells called Taco al Pastor.
Along with your rotisserie unit, a cage of sorts should have been included. This is used mainly for fish and vegetables. Since fish becomes flaky as it cooks, the cage holds it together before you plate and serve. Obviously, vegetables are smaller than the cuts of meats normally put on a spit, therefore, with the cage you are able to slow roast potatoes, carrots, turnips and parsnips without the fear of losing a few down into the bottom of your grill. Think shrimp roasted with fresh pineapple rings, salmon steaks topped lemons slices, or just buttering and roasting thick halves of acorn squash. The caging unit is very versatile when it comes to slow roasting on the barbecue grill.
Whichever meat or vegetables you decide to slow roast, the rotisserie unit on your grill will surely give you another reason to gather family and friends together out by the mancave to enjoy the aromas, a beer and good conversation. Have a safe and relaxing Labor Day weekend everyone and remember…..
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and don’t forget your bib.