Saturday, January 10, 2009
Rotisserie is a style of roasting where meat is skewered on a spit - a long solid rod used to hold food while it is being cooked over a fire in a fireplace or over a campfire, or roasted in an oven. This method is generally used for cooking large joints of meat or entire animals, such as pigs, turkeys, goats or historically, entire cattle. The rotation cooks the meat evenly in its own juices and allows easy access for continuous basting if desired.
In medieval and early modern kitchens, the spit was the preferred way of cooking meat in a large household. A servant, preferably a boy, sat near the spit turning the metal rod slowly and cooking the food; he was known as the "spit boy" or "spit jack". More mechanical means were later invented, first moved by dog-powered treadmill, and then by steam power and mechanical clockwork mechanisms. Spits are now usually driven by electric motors.
Rotisserie can also refer to a mechanical device used for rotisserie cooking, or to a restaurant specializing in spit-roasted meat and chicken. The word comes from French where it first appeared in Paris shops around 1450. Additionally, in restaurants a rotisseur is the chef responsible for all spit-roasted, oven roasted, grilled and in some cases fried foods.
This style of rotisserie mounts the spit horizontally. They are often used to cook whole chickens or roasts of various meats including beef and pork. The design may include a single spit mounted over an open broiler or grill, a single spit mounted within an otherwise-conventional oven, or many spits mounted within a large industrial oven. The latter are commonly used to mass produced roasted meats for sale to consumers.
Chicken cooking on a horizontal rotisserie
In this style of rotisserie, balance is important. If the object to be cooked is far out of balance, it will impose a heavy load on the drive mechanism or cause the mechanism to fail to turn. Loose chicken legs or wings can also cause the mechanism to jam. For these two reasons, some skewering skill is required.
Spitted fowl are rotated by a handcrank and basted with a long-handled spoon in this illustration from the Romance of Alexander, Bruges, 1338-44 (Bodleian Library)
High-end consumer ovens commonly come with a rotisserie (or allow the installation of a rotisserie as an option). In these cases, the motor drive mechanism is usually concealed within the oven. The rotisserie is used by removing the normal cooking racks; a special carrier may be needed to provide one or both bearing points for the spit.
howether in the commercial supermarkets, or even hypermarkets, to mass produce cooked chickens they use the vertical rotiserie using the metal bars to hold the chicken in place through the weakest part of the breast (also which hardly effects the meat itself from the impaling but still holds the chicken firmly in place) and the densest part of the chicken located just below the drumstick of the chicken
The other common style of rotisserie is the vertical rotisserie; here, the heat is applied directly from the side (as shown in the picture) or, less-commonly, convected up from below. In this style of rotisserie, balance of the load is less important than with a horizontal rotisserie.
Some dishes that are commonly cooked on a vertical rotisserie include:
* Döner kebab from Turkey
* Gyros, from Greece
* Shawarma, from the Middle East and the Arab World
* Taco al pastor, from Mexico