When the main course of your outdoor meal is to be a roast, a whole chicken or turkey or any meat that contains a large amount of fat, wheel out the rotisserie.
Rotisseries range in price and style from expensive ones equipped with electrically driven spits to those designed for use over a simple brazier.
The ideal fire for cooking any sizable piece of meat on a revolving spit should be a little lower than that used for broiling. (For best results, start with medium-hot coals; the spit thermometer should read about 300°.) The coals should never be placed directly under the meat; instead, arrange them at the back of the firebox and make sure they give off an even heat for the entire cooking period. Place a foil drip pan under the spit to catch all of the meat's fat and juices.
Spit-cooked meat bastes itself as it turns. But the spit will not turn easily nor will the meat baste properly if it is not mounted correctly. To mount meat for spit-cooking, spear it on the main rod and hold it firmly in place with adjustable holding forks. Check the balance by holding the ends of the spit rod across your palms. If the spit and meat do not rotate easily, remove the forks and rod and remount. Also, make sure that the spit turns away from you at the top of the turn. This allows the fat to drip off on the up-turn farthest from the fire.
Remember, a meat thermometer is the safest guide to the doneness of any roast, especially one cooked over a charcoal fire.
Young chickens of any weight can be cooked on a rotisserie. Two or more can even be cooked at one time if the length of the spit rod permits. It is not advisable to stuff a chicken for rotisserie cooking.
Outdoor cooking usually means hearty appetites. So why not try this recipe for cooking chicken on the rotisserie the next time you cook outdoors.
Wash the chicken and pat dry. If desired, rub the cavity lightly with salt. Fasten the next skin to the back with skewers. Flatten the wings over the breast and tie them with a string to hold them securely in place. Tie both drumsticks to the tail to secure them.
Insert the spit rod through the center of the bird from the tail end toward the front. Secure the bird to the rod with holding forks. Check the balance by rotating the spit in the palm of your hands. Next, carefully put the spit in the rotisserie. Brush the chicken with melted butter or margarine.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for temperature setting and cook until the thickest part of the bird is fork tender and the drumstick meat feels very soft when pressed between the fingers.
If desired, you can brush the chicken with your favorite barbecue sauce or seasoning mix during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Serve this rotisserie chicken with your favorite baked beans, potato salad, and deviled eggs for the perfect outdoor meal this summer.
For some great side dishes to go with your meal try making a Super Salad. What more could your meal need, you say? A perfect way to end this wonderful outdoor meal would be to enjoy a Teddy Bear Cupcake.