Back in prehistoric times, spit roasting essentially arose as the third greatest grilling technology available to man, right after shish kabobs and direct fire grilling. As a result, spit roasting is one of the oldest and most common methods of barbecuing. After so many generations, spit roasting remains a popular cooking method for a variety of reasons, including versatility, convenience, and consistency.
Continue reading to learn more about spit roasting, including its various advantages, recommended accessories for the job, and more.
Historical Methods of Spit Roasting
Throughout history, the method of spit roasting has taken many forms. In the beginning, spit roasters were manually operated by servants referred to as “spit jacks”, who turned the roasting meat by hand. As civilizations grew, spit roasting evolved as well. Dogs running on treadmills were a popular method of operating spit roasters for a while, and eventually, technology stepped in and supplied power via steam, mechanical clockworks, and finally, electricity.
What is Spit Roasting?
Spit roasting is a form of indirect grilling over medium-low to medium heat. It is a perfect cooking method for fatty cuts, or cuts that are cylindrical in shape, such as whole birds, pork loins, rib roasts, pork shoulders, and lamb legs. For larger crowds, whole lambs, goats, and hogs are also perfect for spit roasting. In countries like Brazil, they use spit roasters to cook vegetables and fruits, like pineapples, cabbages, and onions.
Many barbecue experts recommend using charcoal for spit roasting because it is easy to produce smoke by tossing in soaked wood chips or extra chunks of charcoal as the meat cooks. However, many gas grills are now available with rotisserie mounts and rear-mounted rotisserie burners. If you want to spit roast over a campfire or in a fireplace, it is recommended to purchase quality spit-roasting equipment with a really good motor. Recommended accessories for spit roasting include grilling baskets, roasting string, drip pans, and campfire kits.
Why Spit Roast?
There are several advantages of spit roasting. Have you ever seen a succulent, juicy cut of meat spinning slowly on a turnspit next to a fire? The smells and smoky flavors are just the start of why spit roasting is so great. Here are some additional benefits:
🔥 Slow and gentle cooking renders succulent, juicy, and tender meat.
🔥 Slowly rotating meat ensures even browning and caramelization of the meat proteins.
🔥 Slow roasting cooks meat evenly.
🔥 Slowly rotating promotes “self-basting” because melting fats and juices flow through and over the meat as it cooks.
🔥 Spit roasting can be done using charcoal, wood, or gas, or you can do it in a fireplace or over a campfire.