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Jan 21, 2005 08:23 AM


  • b

This facinating fireplace rotisserie appeared in both this month's Saveur and Gourmet magazines. It's a MUST have in my book.

However, I am a little skeptical. Do you think a common home fireplace burning regular old backyard wood will develop a mound of coals hot enough to cook a leg a lamb in a couple of hours? Wouldn't you need to position this thing well inside the hearth to get enough radiant heat? Thoughts?


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  1. I thought this looked great as well - someday if i have a real fireplace...

    Anyway my chow brother has a fireplace grill that works very well - they have grilled chickens, steak etc. It took some getting used to but the results are great, so I imagine the spitjack should work just fine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: AimeeP

      I just made strip steak in the fireplace a couple ofnights ago, they always come out great. This link will be very interesting to my husband, because after he get the coals nice and hot, then he holds the meat, in a grill basket, over the heat, and, even tho he wears iron worker type gloves, sometimes it's a little undercooked because he can't take it anymore! Wait til he ses this stuff. When his family lived in Brooklyn (50s and 60s) they, and his uncle, had built in rotisseries in their fireplaces and he talks about it frequently, they used to make roast beef, and stews in cast iron pots, I think it had a swivel hook that swung in and out of the fireplace.

    2. Looks like a fun thing to have...I'd go for the Tuscan Grill, myself...

      You wouldn't use 'backyard wood' to cook with unless you are cutting down hardwood trees. You have to use hardwood. Soft woods give off too much resin and make stuff taste wierd. Hardwood burns down to nice long lasting coals. You could easily cook a leg of lamb. Just thing of pit barbeque...they use hardwood and that goes on for hours.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Cyndy

        I have used pine (softwood) for many years, many roasts.

        I do not cook over direct heat/coals, I bank the coals and cook with radiant heat. The resins and smoke go up, the roast is on the side.

        It seems to be a waste of good oak (hardwood) and expensive too, to turn it into coals for a cooking fire. Hardwoods are for the BBQ pit and heating stove.

        1. re: Alan408

          Wow...interesting. I wouldn't use pine myself because of the flavor, which I don't like, but it is good to know it can be done. We use fruit woods and hardwood - but of course we live in BC, where you only have to drive 5 miles to find felled trees for free, so I guess that is probably why it's a commonly done thing here. Never paid for wood in my life. I forget that not everyone lives in logging country.

          1. re: Cyndy

            I learned how to cook moose roasts using pit fires in the Quesnel area.

            Supper would be: moose roast, potatoes baked in the ashes/edge of the fire, and bannock bread cooked in a cast iron pan.

            When you cook over open fires, everything has a smoked taste/smell. Especially the cook.

            1. re: Alan408

              Ahhh Quesnel...smelliest place in BC :-) I grew up in Chilliwack, and after many years in Vancouver, Smithers and Prince George I am back home again. I am going to try the pine thing off to the side cooking method...lord knows you get smelly enough, might as well smell like pine smoke and moose. Coincidently, I have a moose roast in the freezer - Christmas gift from the brother in Smithers.

              Where are you now?

              1. re: Cyndy

                I am in the San Francisco Bay Area.

                I knew a family who lived in the Quesnel area. I visited them a couple times. They were "off the grid", built their own home, raised pigs/chickens, had a cow.