What Is a Rotisserie Smoker?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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While most conventional ovens use a heating element or flame to cook meats, a rotisserie smoker works a bit differently: various meats are placed on a spit, which is essentially a long rod, and the spit is then secured in a slot that secures the meat across the inside of a barrel or container. This spit may also be connected to a motor that rotates the spit as the meat cooks. The rotisserie smoker will also feature a heat source positioned low within the apparatus, but instead of directly grilling the meats, the heat source is used to create smoke that will instead cook the meat.

The purpose of the rotisserie in the rotisserie smoker is to rotate the meat so it gets cooked and flavored evenly on all sides. As the spit rotates, so does the meat, meaning each side of the meat is exposed to the heat source for a limited amount of time, then rotated way. This action will continue throughout the cooking process, which can take many hours, since the heat source is usually farther away from the meat itself. Rotating the meat also helps drain off fat as the cooking process progresses.


The smoke within the rotisserie smoker is usually created using various types of woods. These woods will be heated or even burned to create the smoke, which will have a significant impact on the flavor of the meat once it is cooked. Many cooks will change the type of wood used to create a different flavor for different types of meat. Applewood is a common choice for smoking wood, though alder and mesquite are also very common choices. The wood will be placed low in the cooker to prevent any flames created by the burning wood from actually striking the meat.

A drip pan is also usually necessary to catch fat and other drippings created while the rotisserie smoker cooks the meat. This drip pan can be filled with water as well to help create a moist environment within the cooker; this helps prevent the meat from drying out excessively during the sometimes long cooking process. It will be positioned over the heat source, which can be a propane powered flame or a bed of coals. Propane is usually preferable because it can create a constant temperature within the cooker during the smoking process, though some people prefer a natural fuel source only to prevent any unwanted flavors.



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