Nothing brings out our primal instincts in cooking more than preparing food on an open spit. What was once a necessary cooking method requiring nothing more than meat, fire and a big stick has now become all the rage in the best markets and butcher shops. Walk down any main street and you will see large rotisserie ovens turning and churning out freshly roasted kosher chicken, juices dripping down the window pane and appetites growing with every step. The good news is; these succulent birds can be easily prepared at home for a fraction of the cost.
To achieve rotisserie nirvana, you can, of course, invest in a countertop rotisserie. The manufacturers of “slice them and dice them” fame make affordable and practical models for your home, as does Cuisanart other name brand kitchen appliance companies. The results are good and the clean up is generally easy. If the weather is not a factor, you can brave the elements and cook your bird on an outdoor spit, your gas grill most likely comes with an attachment and the bird can roast outside, lid down until juicy perfection. Some indoor ovens come fitted with a rotisserie option, and all you need to do is follow the manufacturer’s instructions, keep a watchful eye and spin your bird to delicious results.
Why is rotisserie so popular, and why are the results so wonderful? Easy answer. When the bird rotates on a spit it browns and cooks evenly. Much as the convection feature in your oven promises the heat and air will circulate around the bird, the rotisserie guarantees it. Additionally, the unnecessary fats drain off and the bird does not sit in those nasty juices. Furthermore, the internal juices of the bird distribute as the bird turns, so even the breast meat which can tend to dry out, will be as moist and juicy as the dark meat.
But what to do if you do not have a countertop gadget, a rotisserie attachment to your oven, warm winter coat or open fire pit with a trained caveman standing by? You can achieve a very similar result by standing the bird up on its legs and letting it roast in the oven in an upright position. The result is not exactly the same and certainly the entertainment value is reduced, but it is a great option for those who want rotisserie goodness without the contraption.
Season your bird as you would a good roast chicken, crank the oven heat up, perch your bird on a prefabricated stand that was designed for just this purpose, or use a good old beer can to keep the chicken propped up and standing tall. And enjoy rotisserie chicken throughout the year. Enjoy my recipe for Beer Basted Chicken.