Back in the medieval era, a rotisserie was a long, sharp stick with a roast beast skewered on it, turning over a fire while a sweaty boy stood at one end rotating a hand crank. These are not those rotisseries. Our quick guide to rotisserie roasting explains the modern rotisserie and how it differs from roaster ovens.
"Roaster ovens provide a versatile, energy-efficient supplement to standard ovens, but some people prefer the cooking results of rotisseries."
We've all eaten rotisserie. For some of us, it's a delicious restaurant favorite. For others, it's a convenient grocery store purchase, an instant, no-fuss meal (even if its plastic container creates a next-day taste that's redolent of melted action figures). But until you've used your own rotisserie, you're missing out on the best parts of rotisserie-style roasting.
Rotisserie comes from an old French word meaning to roast. But it's a very specific kind of roasting. In the medieval era it was known as spit roasting. A large joint of meat--or even an entire animal--would be skewered or impaled on a long rod known as a spit. The spit was held up at each end by a Y-shaped support and slowly turned with a hand crank, a kitchen job performed by the "spit boy"--at least until technology enabled automatic spit turning.
The rotisserie style of roasting was convenient for two reasons: one, it allowed for the time-efficient cooking of large pieces of meat, and two, it provided even, all-around roasting.
Roll Your Own
Rotisserie is enjoyed today for reasons of taste, health, and convenience. As a rotisserie chicken (for example) is rolled round and round on a skewer, it's basted in its own juices, producing a tastier, juicier, tenderer meat than ordinary cooking or grilling. The rotisserie process also drains fat and grease for a healthier helping of meat. Best of all, home rotisseries are extremely convenient and easy to use--a delicious, lifestyle-friendly alternative to fast foods and microwaved meals.
What's the Difference Between a Rotisserie and a Roaster Oven?
Rotisserie is a type of roasting, but a rotisserie appliance isn't quite the same thing as a roaster oven. Home rotisseries are designed specifically for roasting meat or kebabs on a rotating skewer (with a basket accessory, they can also prepare fish, burgers, etc.). They're usually horizontal, but vertical rotisseries are also available, a space-saving design that allows you to truss a bird's legs together and slide it down over the skewer(s).
Roaster ovens are more like slow cookers. Because the meat doesn't have to turn, they can typically fit larger birds and roasts. Some models can roast, bake, cook, steam, and slow cook. You can prepare everything from chili to cheesecake.
Roaster ovens provide a versatile, energy-efficient supplement to standard ovens, but some people prefer the cooking results of rotisseries. The skin is all-around crispier with rotisserie, and the rotation can be entertaining for guests and family to watch. Plus you can add your own special mix of seasonings--with no grocery store plastic packaging required.