Dizzy Spit Roasts

Sunshine Coast & Noosa, QLD

Top 10 Essential Tips for Perfecting Your Spit Roast

This article will discuss our top 10 tips for spit-roasting like a pro and producing meat of the quality of our spit roast catering packages.

The art of spit roasting. This tried-and-tested method can add a touch of flair to any outdoor event, from intimate family gatherings to more raucous affairs!

There is something about a perfectly prepared piece of meat turning over an open flame.  Maybe it’s a trick of evolution that we’re drawn to flame, but all the senses go into overdrive. The sounds and smells that go hand in hand with a spit roast.

Tip 1: Meat Selection

Choosing the Right Meat

Okay. We’re going in at the foundation. A truly great spit roast starts with choosing the right meat for the job. Quality cuts are crucial for so many reasons: better tenderness, better texture, better flavour, and happier animals.

  • Beef Rump: With its robust flavour and tenderness when cooked slowly, this is a beautiful cut. It’s ideal for spit roasting as it stays juicy and flavourful. Some cuts can leave you at risk of drying out or being too fatty – Beef rump is in the ‘Goldilocks’ zone – it’s just right.
  • Boneless Lamb Legs: Lamb offers a distinct taste and a tender texture that are perfect for spit roasting. The nature of the flavour lends itself to some more diverse rubs and marinades. Think of strong herb flavours, roast garlic, rosemary, oregano, etc.
  • Boneless Pork Legs: Pork legs are excellent for spit roasting, especially if you aim for that delicious crackling. The fat renders beautifully, keeping the meat moist.

These cuts have the right balance of meat and fat, maintain an even cook, and stay juicy. That’s the holy trinity of meats right there.

Tip 2: Preparing Your Meat

Ensuring Even Cooking

Prepare your meat. Don’t slack on this; it will cost you in the long run. This means making sure your pieces are uniform. Make like a chef, be precise.

  • Cut Uniformity: Cut the meat into uniform pieces. This will ensure they cook at the same rate, avoiding undercooking and overcooking. Don’t let your prep be the thing that lets you down!

Proper prep will set you up perfectly for a spot-on spit roast with every bite, leaving you hungry for more.

Tip 3: Season Your Meat.

Flavour Fun times!

Seasoning is where the magic begins. A well-seasoned piece of meat can transform a good roast into an unforgettable one.

  • Basic Seasoning: Let’s do this right. You have to start with the basics—salt and pepper. These fundamental, so-called ‘basic’ seasonings really lift the natural meat flavours. If you’re hard-pressed, just these two can work wonders.
  • Herbs and Spices: Adding herbs like rosemary, thyme, and garlic adds depth to the flavour profile. Spices such as paprika and cumin can also add a nice kick. They are really heavy-lifters if you’ve chosen to go for a themed meal, Moroccan, for example.
  • Marinating Options: For even more flavour, marinate. Even the simplest marinade of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and herbs will work wonders. Let the meat marinate for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, but if you’re up against it, we’d always advocate doing it last minute over not doing it at all.
  • Timing: Season your meat about an hour before cooking to let the flavours penetrate. If marinating, please do it in advance.

This step is your friend in making sure every bite bursts with taste.

Tip 4: Balancing Your Meat on the Pole

Achieving Even Rotation

You need to secure and balance your meat on the spit pole. This is crucial. Without it, you won’t get even cooking.

  • Securing the Meat: Spit forks will secure the meat to the pole, preventing it from moving.
  • Balancing Techniques: Distribute the weight on the pole. Uneven weight may cause uneven rotation and then, obviously, uneven cooking.
  • Checking Balance: Before cooking, give the spit a few test turns to check for balance. Adjust as necessary.

This work will result in a well-balanced spit and ensure that your meat cooks evenly.

Tip 5: Preparing Your Coals

Using a Charcoal Chimney

Getting your coals ready is essential. Not everyone has the time, skill, or inclination, though! Using a charcoal chimney can make this step much easier and quicker.

  • Lighting Coals: Fill a charcoal chimney with coals. Once you’ve lit a fire starter underneath it, the action starts. The chimney design means airflow is super-efficient, so your coals light quickly and evenly.
  • Proper Coal Preparation: Once the coals have a coating of ash, you need to spread them out nicely and evenly. This will keep the cooking heat even.
  • Safety Tips: BE CAREFUL! Use heat-resistant gloves and long-handled tools.

Consistent heat is crucial for a successful spit roast, and a chimney can help ensure that.

spit roast charcoal chimneys
Using a charcoal chimneys is the fastest and most efficient way to light your coals.

Tip 6: Cooking Close to the Coals

Achieving that Perfect Crackling

Meat position and proximity to the coals can affect the final product, especially if you’re aiming for that highly sought-after crispy crackling.

  • Positioning Meat: You want your meat close enough to the coals that it benefits from the direct heat but not so close that you risk burning it.
  • Crispy Crackling Tips: Before you cook pork, the skin should be really dry and evenly scored. Brush it with oil and sprinkle with salt to draw out even more liquid and encourage that naughty crackling. Firstly, position the pork so that the skin is towards the coals. This will get the skin sizzling.
  • Heat Management: Adjust the distance from the coals as needed to avoid burning the meat! This technique ensures that your meat is perfectly roasted on the outside while remaining juicy on the inside.

Tip 7: Knowing When the Meat is Cooked

Using a Temperature Probe

This is vital to keeping everyone safe and serving perfectly cooked meat. To us, a temperature probe is a no-brainer. Even before we were doing this professionally. If you’re serious about rotisserie cooking, a temperature probe is a necessity.

  • Internal Temperature: Use a temperature probe to check the internal temperature of the meat. This ensures it’s cooked to perfection and safe to eat. What looks cooked isn’t always, especially on the larger pieces and especially if you are still learning about heat regulation.
  • Recommended Temperatures:
    • Beef: 55°C (medium-rare) to 60°C (medium)
    • Lamb: 55°C (medium-rare) to 60°C (medium)
    • Pork: 60°C (medium)
  • Proper Use: Insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding bones or fat pockets. Both of these can impact the reading.

This means you remove the risk element. And, just as a side note, you’ll look pretty professional if you’re looking to impress anyone.

Tip 8: Importance of Resting Your Meat

Allowing Juices to Settle

Resting your meat after cooking is SO often overlooked. We get it—the smell got the better of you, and you’re hungry. But in the same way that your muscles are pumped after a workout, meat joints need a little moment to relax, too.

  • Why Resting is Crucial: The juices redistribute throughout the meat, making it more flavourful and tender.
  • Resting Times: Beef and lamb need about 15-20 minutes, and pork needs 10-15 minutes.
  • Keeping it Warm: Cover the meat with aluminium foil and a clean tea towel on top of that to keep it warm while it rests.

Tip 9: Importance of a Sharp Carving Knife

Efficient and Clean Slicing

A sharp carving knife will pay dividends when serving it all up.

  • Benefits of a Sharp Knife: You’ll get clean, even slices. This means the presentation stays uniform, and you don’t end up hacking into it, ruining the overall effect.
  • Sharpening Techniques: Regularly sharpen with a sharpening stone or honing rod. A sharp knife not only makes carving easier but also safer. Don’t be afraid to use it; practice makes perfect. Resist the urge to show off if you’re learning how to sharpen though as you’ll damage your knife. YouTube is your friend!
  • Proper Carving Techniques: Carve against the meat’s grain for the most tender slices. Each type of meat has its specific carving technique, so take the time to learn the best method.

With a sharp knife, carving can be a joyful process that will make serving your roast a breeze.

DIY Spit Roast Catering
A sharp carving knife is essential for achieving thin, tender slices.

Tip 10: Serving and Presentation

Enhancing the Dining Experience

The final step! How are you going to serve it? Here are some of our preferred takes.

  • Presentation Tips: Arrange the slices attractively. You eat with your eyes before your mouth. Garnishes of fresh herbs and lemon wedges add a pop of colour and add to the overall look.
  • Suggested Sides: Popular accompaniments like roasted vegetables, fresh salads, and hearty bread will never go out of style.
  • Plating Ideas: Large serving platters and bowls help create a more appealing spread with a sense of luxury. Consider the colours and textures of your sides. This will create a balanced plate for the mouth and eyes. For example, if you’re making potato salad, a vibrant, colourful salad would be a good choice to avoid a beige food visual!

A well-presented meal makes the dining experience even more enjoyable, leaving a lasting impression on your guests.


Recap of the top tips covered in the article:

  1. Choose quality cuts like beef rump, boneless lamb legs, and boneless pork legs.
  2. Prepare your meat.
  3. Enhance flavour with a) proper seasoning b) marinating.
  4. Balance your meat on the pole for even rotation.
  5. Use a charcoal chimney.
  6. Position meat close to coals for perfect crackling.
  7. Use a temperature probe
  8. Rest your meat to allow juices to settle.
  9. Carve with a sharp knife for clean slices.
  10. Present your meat attractively with complementary sides.

If you’ve followed all of these tips, you’ll be a spit roast black belt in no time, well on your way to mastering the art of spit roasting.

Have you loved these tips?

Share this article on social media and let your friends in on the secrets of perfect spit roasting. Check out our related articles on achieving that irresistible crispy crackling, as well as recommended tools for spit roasting and more!

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