The Best Cuts of Meat for Rotisserie Grilling
There’s something irresistible about all your favorite perfectly seasoned foods rotating on a spit, self-basting slowly over an open flame to create a crispy outside that envelops a tantalizingly succulent inside. Just thinking about it makes your mouth water!
When you think about all the things you can rotisserie, your mind probably goes straight to chicken—and you’re not alone. In 2018, more than 900 million rotisserie chickens were sold by foodservice outlets and retail stores in the US. It’s not just chickens making rotisserie grilling a popular pastime among BBQ connoisseurs—you can rotisserie all your favorite meats, fish, vegetables and even fruit.
When it comes to choosing the best cuts of meat for rotisserie grilling on a spit, opt for larger, cylindrical cuts with higher fat content for the juiciest, most tender results. For smaller pieces and cuts that are less fatty—or for vegetables and fruits—a rotisserie basket may work better than a spit. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what you want to grill on your rotisserie—where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Let’s take a quick look at some of the best cuts of meat for rotisserie grilling, including:
- The best cut of beef for rotisserie
- The best cut of pork for rotisserie
- The best cut of chicken to rotisserie
- Other things you can rotisserie
But first, let’s take a closer look at how rotisserie grilling actually works.
How Does Rotisserie Grilling Work?
Before we jump into the best cuts of meat for rotisserie grilling, let’s talk about what makes rotisserie grilling so popular. Here’s how it works…
Rotisserie motors are calibrated with precision to rotate at a consistent speed, typically between 3 and 6 revolutions per minute. Whether you have a specialized rotisserie burner or are rotisserie grilling without a dedicated burner, rotisserie cooking uses less direct heat than standard grilling. Whatever you’re grilling will cook slower, giving it an opportunity to self-baste and cook from the inside out while it rotates.
This slow roasting process prevents the collagen in meat from contracting too quickly. Instead, the collagen breaks down and absorbs more water to create gelatin. That, along with the melting fat, are then slowly released from the inside and will drip over the surface of your meat, giving you that juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside result.
Now that you know how the process works, let’s take a closer look at some of the best cuts of meat you can grill with your rotisserie.
Best Cut of Beef for Rotisserie
Prime rib roast is, without a doubt, the best cut of beef for rotisserie grilling. Rotating the meat on a spit lets all of those mouth-watering juices baste the outside of the roast, locking in the rich, melt-in-your-mouth prime rib flavor.
Prime rib on the rotisserie takes about 15 to 20 minutes per pound to cook. For the best results, sear the outside of your prime rib roast on high heat on your grill top until you have a nice crust on the outside (about 20 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium, mount the roast on your spit, and fire up the rotisserie till you reach the desired temperature.
Beef ribs—back ribs or short ribs—are a close runner up to prime rib when it comes to choosing the best cut of beef to rotisserie. Since some beef ribs have so much meat on the bone, they’re often referred to as “brisket on a stick.” The simplest way to rotisserie ribs is to put them in a rotisserie basket.
If you’re ready to level up your grilling game, try smoking beef while it’s on the rotisserie! Give your meat a rub down with your favorite spices and add a smoker box to your gas grill.
Best Cuts of Pork for Rotisserie Grilling
From bacon to ham and sausage to loin chops, pork is a versatile meat that pairs well with many ingredients. When it comes to choosing which pork cuts to use on your rotisserie grill, look for cuts with a little more fat marbled throughout, like shoulder, spare ribs and back ribs.
Pork shoulder (aka blade shoulder) is one of the more common choices for rotisserie grilling because of the higher fat content, which helps to keep it moist and rich with flavor. The other reason pork shoulder is perfect on the rotisserie is because of its size—this large cut is ideal for feeding large groups of people, or if you want leftovers.
Pork belly, which is also frequently used in bacon and pancetta, is another great choice for the rotisserie, again because of its high fat content. Like the shoulder cut, pork belly is large, making it ideal for large groups. But beware, because pork belly comes from the underside of the animal, it can be more expensive than other cuts.
Bone-in pork loin is another common cut used on the rotisserie even though it has a little less fat than some of the others. While it may not have the same rich flavor as the shoulder, pork loin is still tasty when cooked using a rotisserie, and it’s a good choice for feeding large groups as well.
Best Cuts of Chicken for Rotisserie Grilling
Whole chickens are best on the rotisserie. They self-baste to juicy perfection, giving you crispy dark skin on the outside and tender, moist meat on the inside. A whole chicken can easily serve an entire family, and some rotisseries can handle the weight of two chickens if you’re grilling for a crowd.
Season your whole chicken with a dry rub or marinade it with your favorite dressing, oils and spices. Depending on the size of the chicken, a rotisserie chicken takes 1.5 to 2 hours—or 20 to 30 minutes per pound—to cook on the grill.
Chicken wings are another great option for rotisserie grilling because they’re easy to cook as long as you have a flat rotisserie basket attachment on your grill. They’re also a hit at any backyard cookout. Remember to put a drip pan below the wings to prevent the fat from dripping onto the grill, which can cause flare ups.
You can put about 10 to 12 chicken wings in a rotisserie basket. They’ll take about 30 to 40 minutes to cook.
Other Things You Can Rotisserie
There are so many more delicious treats you can cook on your rotisserie grill. Here are some of our favorites:
- Turkey: Either whole on the spit (just make sure your rotisserie kit can handle the weight), or cut up and placed in your rotisserie basket.
- Lamb: Some of the best cuts for rotisserie are leg of lamb, rolled shoulder, and whole lamb.
- Duck: We recommend cooking the duck whole with a dripping pan underneath to catch all those delicious juices.
- Fish: If the fish is large enough—like small salmon, or large trout —you can cook it whole on the rotisserie. Otherwise, for smaller whole fish—like perch, trout, snapper, and branzino—use a rotisserie basket. If you are grilling fish steaks or fillets, choose cuts that are at least three-quarter-inch thick, and grill them in a rotisserie basket.
- Pineapple: Cooking pineapple on a rotisserie caramelizes its natural sugars and intensifies its already sweet flavor.
- Potatoes: There’s no better side dish to your rotisserie dinner than rotisserie grilled potatoes!
That’s a Wrap
No matter what you’re grilling on the rotisserie—from meat to fish and from fruits to vegetables—your cookout is sure to be a hit now that you know the best cuts of meat for rotisserie grilling.