What Are the Common Rotisserie Parts?

G. D. Palmer

Rotisseries are devices designed to roast meat on a spit or skewer, turning it throughout the process for more even cooking. While rotisseries vary in design and features from one manufacturer to the next, they utilize a few standard elements. Common rotisserie parts include an electric motor, a spit or roasting fork, and a large drip pan, as well as a heat source, such as an electric heating element. Some brands offer optional rotisserie accessories, like spit balancers and roasting baskets for small items.

Whole ducks can be roasted in a rotisserie.
Whole ducks can be roasted in a rotisserie.

The rotating action from which the rotisserie gets its name keeps meat from burning on one side while under-cooking on the other. Historically, a human or animal provided the power to keep meat turning, but most modern spits use electric power. Rotisseries work best with large pieces of meat, such as whole chickens or ducks, and roasts of pork, beef, or lamb. These cuts are easier to spit effectively and difficult to cook evenly without rotation.

An electric motor, spit or roasting fork and drip pan are common rotisserie parts.
An electric motor, spit or roasting fork and drip pan are common rotisserie parts.

Rotisseries and rotisserie parts are available from a range of manufacturers in both consumer and commercial models. Those meant for home use are usually smaller and more lightly-built than models meant for use in restaurants. They may be very simple, or offer extra features, such as programmable temperature and cook time settings. Some may be standalone appliances or built into an oven.

Several basic rotisserie parts can be found on all models. Every device needs an electric motor to rotate the food, though oven-mounted rotisseries usually hide this behind a casing. All rotisseries need a spit or roasting fork and a large drip pan to catch fat and meat juices that fall from the food. Rotisseries also feature a heating element, usually electric, to cook the meat. Some models include multiple heating elements for faster, more consistent cooking, while gas ovens with built-in rotisseries use natural gas to cook the meat.

Optional rotisserie parts provide easier or more effective cooking, especially for vegetables or small pieces of meat. A rotisserie basket made up of metal wire coated in a non-stick surface allows chefs to prepare fish fillets, chops or steaks, and poultry legs and wings. Spit balancers prevent strain on the motor in horizontal rotisseries, where an unevenly-balanced piece of meat can cause problems. Kabob rods provide a spit for cooking small pieces of meat and vegetables, while dual heating trays allow the rotisserie to heat vegetables, gravies, and soups while the main dish cooks.

Chicken rubbed with spices, ready for the rotisserie.
Chicken rubbed with spices, ready for the rotisserie.

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