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The Convenience of the Rotisserie Oven

by Judith Finlayson

The Convenience of the Rotisserie Oven

Unexpected guests and no time to fuss? Defrost a chicken, season and brush with oil, truss and load it onto the spit rods, and your work is virtually done. With a rotisserie oven, you just set the timer and check what’s cooking from time to time, in the unlikely event that something has gone amiss. In about an hour, you’ll be serving one of the most delicious roast chickens you’ve ever tasted. This basic formula also works for roasts of beef, pork and lamb, as well as many other foods.

Rotisserie cooking isn’t new. Quite the contrary, in fact. Since the Stone Age, people have been cooking food on a stick, turning it occasionally to ensure even browning. Around the middle of the 15th century, expertise in the technique was identified, spawning the French term rotisseur to describe a purveyor of roast game and poultry.

What is new — and this goes a long way toward explaining the revival of interest in this ancient technique — is the relatively recent invention of the rotisserie oven, which makes the process extremely convenient. This stand-alone appliance contains a heating element and spit rods mounted on gear wheels that turn when powered by electricity. Depending on the model, rotisserie ovens also come with a dial or digital timer, some kind of tray for capturing the fat that melts during cooking, a basket for cooking smaller or more fragile foods, and a variety of optional accessories, such as kabob rods.

The units are available in several sizes (about the same size as microwave ovens). There are two main manufacturers: George Foreman, distributed by Salton; and Ronco, distributed by Popeil Inventions, Inc. De Longhi makes a convection oven with a rotisserie attachment, and some barbecues and ovens now come equipped with infrared burners for rotisserie cooking. Other manufacturers have their own versions in the works. Shop around and choose the model that suits you best. And get ready to enjoy some of the best home cooking you’ve ever done!


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Judith Finlayson


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