DIY Rotisserie Spit

| 3/22/2013 2:53:10 PM

This article originally appeared in Make Vol. 33 and is reposted with permission from the author, Saul Griffith. 

Not only do I enjoy making things, I also love making food, so any opportunity that combines both is hard to pass up. I decided to do what I’d been hoping to do for years: cook an entire animal on a spit.Friends of mine were getting married, and being the beautiful and unusual people they are, planned a potluck wedding. I decided to do what I’d been hoping to do for years: cook an entire animal on a spit. My wife and I had a small lamb and pig both spit-roasted at our wedding and it was a culinary highlight. How hard could it be to do myself? 

A few friends volunteered to help (thanks Pete Lynn, Dan Benoit, Joe Brock, and infinitely Mose O’Griffin). At the local farmer’s market I met the lovely people from Fatted Calf, a San Francisco charcuterie. They were delighted to supply me with a lamb, and also recommended a great book, The River Cottage Meat Book, that included directions for making a spit and cooking on it.

It was the Thursday evening before the wedding when I went to pick up the lamb. The store was full of people buying sausage or some prosciutto. The store went dead quiet as the butcher, having just completed salting and preparing “the beast,” brought it out slung over his shoulder. I think everyone in the shop came to me with some comment or story of shared excitement, jealousy, or encouragement. I knew at this point that despite having no idea what I was doing, this particular cooking experience was the type of making that brings communities and people together in a social experience.

That evening we elected to build the rotisserie spit that I thought would be the simplest, most easily transported, and easiest to store. 


Sheet metal for the fire pans and drippings trough. We used a 4 inch by 8 inch sheet of 16-gauge mild steel. 

8/6/2013 11:25:53 AM

As a counter to karen.kornbau.3's comment, I'd like to say that I really appreciate this DIY. I have no interest in spending several hundred dollars on a rotisserie, and this seems like it would work just fine, for way less money, and be tons of fun. Now to figure out how to get pork knuckles strung up so I can do schweinshaxe.

5/28/2013 10:27:17 PM

very offensive picture. looks like a dog on the spit. I like Mother earth news, but if you want to roast animals, please do it in your own privacy. I personaly do not find it appatizing nor right.

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