What is Spit Roasting and How Is It Done

Barbecuing is one of the world’s most well-known forms of outdoor cooking, letting people cook all sorts of different foods over open flames. However, there are also other kinds of techniques and forms of cooking outdoors that have become just as popular, if not more so, than barbequing.

One such way is spit roasting. As one of the many forms of barbecuing and outdoor cooking, spit roasting has been used all over the world and is still being used today. As different forms of technology are created and barbecuing is becoming more intricate with the technology put into grills, the techniques put into spit roasting are the same. However, the inherent simplicity of barbecuing and spit roasting has stayed the same ever since, and you can easily do those styles of cooking at home.

If you’re interested and want to learn more about what is spit roasting and how it is done, this article covers everything you’d need to know to do it at home. If you need any accessories or tools to start spit roasting, you can visit Dickson Barbeque Centre to get them!

What is spit roasting?

The process of spit roasting is quite simple. You simply take large cuts of meat and push them onto a long metal rod called a spit. Then, after lighting an open flame, the meat is cooked by slowly rotating it to get the heat and cook it evenly on all sides. Once it’s finished cooking, the meat is either taken off the spit to be served or cut off chunks to feed multiple people.  

As of today, spit roasting is one of the most well-known but oldest forms of cooking. Though the spits themselves are now metal and the open fire is rarely a campfire or a firepit, this method of cooking has now spread across the world and is now widely used. Also known as rotisserie, spit roasting uses all sorts of meat and seasonings and can quickly be done at home. The answer to “what is spit roasting in cooking” today only has one mandatory answer; using a spit to turn and cook meat over a heat source.

Why should you spit roast meat?

As mentioned, many cultures around the world have their own unique methods of spit roasting meat for a variety of dishes. One such example is shawarma, a well-known Middle Eastern wrap that’s made from shredded chicken, lamb or beef along with a variety of vegetables. There’s also a North African dish called Méchoui, consisting of a whole spit roasted lamb. Many of them are known to be quite delicious, with some becoming internationally popular.

Their flavour, however, comes from one main fact. As the meat is slowly turning during the cooking process, the fat and dripping that melts can fall off, but often don’t due to the rotating spit. This makes it so that the drippings actually baste the meat during the process, getting reabsorbed into the meat as it gets cooked and adding flavour.

What you need to start start spit roasting at home

Of course, one of the first things you’ll need to start spit roasting at home is a spit. Many spits that are available today have a different number of prongs on which to attach your foods, as well as a rod and either a motorised or manual-turn spit. In the end, if you’re looking to buy a spit roasting set, consider whether you want to turn the spit yourself or not, since they frequently tend to be much cheaper. 

They may also come with a stand to suit cooking over a fire pit or on your own barbecue grill. If you plan to use your barbecue to do roasting more often, you’ll also need to consider how long the spit’s support legs need to be. Barbecue grills with side shelves attached can similarly use spits with shorter supports. However, if you want to keep the shelves clear for your sauces, tools and accessories - or your grill doesn’t have shelves - longer supports are a great idea!

You can also get a new grill if you don’t mind the extra cost or if you don’t already have one yourself. While you can do spit roasting over a grateless gas barbecue, you may also want to try it with a ceramic charcoal grill for better flavour. Some brands, like Kamado Joe, can work quite well with spit roasting sets, since they tend to be fairly large and deep. There are also some brands that have their own grills made specifically for doing spit roasting. These are far more likely to also have a spit and any other needed parts included with. 

How is it done?

Once you have your spit roasting kit, all that’s left is to actually start cooking with it. As mentioned, any kind of meat can be put onto a spit and cooked, whether it’s multiple smaller chunks of meat like for shawarma or a whole turkey or chicken for Thanksgiving dinner. Similarly, you aren’t limited to just seasoning the meat with salt and pepper. Add whatever ingredients and seasonings you want or even use a rub and sauces for a classic barbecue feel.

So, after seasoning your meat and letting it rest for a minimum of half an hour to an hour, push them onto the spit. If your spit’s rod has any support forks along the rod, make sure to remove one before starting. Once all your meat’s been placed, light the grill and let it reach a good roasting temperature. Then all you need to do is start cooking the meat and spinning the spit, making sure to spread a bit of your sauce or any drippings over it with a basting brush.


The answer to “what is spit roasting” is quite simple. Spit roasting is a fairly simple form of cooking, involving a metal rod that’s used to slowly spin large amounts of meat over fire. As long as you have a spit and a source of fire, you can easily cook wherever you want. 

Do be sure to avoid drying out your meat and use indirect heat to help. Also use cooking twine to properly secure the meat to the spit and use the right tools - like protective silicon gloves - to keep yourself safe. As with most forms of barbecuing, cook to a safe internal temperature before serving. If you need any accessories, visit Dickson Barbeque Centre to get them.