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Nov 9, 2013 03:44 PM

Rotisserie COW question.

I am helping design a Rotisserie FOR A WHOLE 900lbs COW.

My question is do you think 1RPM (Rotation per minute) is to fast? The heat will only be on one side but it should be intense. What i have planned is "Wall of fire" that will be 1-4 high that will be made of steel and burn wood. I can add heat in the front if I feel I need to add it buy burning wood on the ground in front.

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  1. I saw a youtube video where they did a 200kg steer at about 4 rpm. For 900lbs you'll need a mighty heavy rig. Check out

    2 Replies
      1. re: JB BANNISTER

        I almost spit out my drink laughing when I read that! Wonderful.
        I read about bovinova when looking at Caja China and looking at roasting whole animals. Your project looks wonderful.

        Cows are thick, even when "opened" (what's the word? spatchcocked would be poultry). Could you put some kind of heat reflector on top, above the meat? I'd think there would be a lot of heat loss especially as the edge of the animal was over the heat. A giant Caja China sort of box would not be as dramatic, but it might be easier to keep hot.

        I wish you luck. If you find anything, please follow up here. I'd love to know how you end up doing it

    1. Jeff, it's about time you showed up here on our new bbq board!

      I can't imagine that 1 RPM would be too fast. I am sure we have all seen images from western-style barbecues with the "cooks" turning the spit by hand. I can't imagine that they could turn slower than that, unless they were to turn, stop, turn again, stop, etc. You certainly are the closest we have to an expert when it comes to roasting such a large piece over a fire, so I would think that you already have a good idea of how to proceed. But I think 1 RPM sounds fine.

      1. I really don't have a clue, but I'm guessing you can't have "too fast".
        I started a restaurant in another life, doing rotisserie chicken over live charcoal in a 500F+ oven. An old Italian guy showed me the ropes.
        The birds (6 spits, 5 chickens per) turned at over 40 RPM. I thought it was too fast, but the old timer told me no, it was fine. And it was, the chicken came out perfect.

        Just curious how you're planning to keep the spit from grinding out (spit turns, cow does not)?

        "Check out" had me chuckling as well...

        2 Replies
        1. re: porker

          Porker, I think it would be cool to see it spinning really fast so little nuggets would come flying off as it cooks.
          -sorry, JB. You are definitely THE authority on large animal roasting, and we trust your instincts and enjoy your experiences.

          1. re: Veggo

            That gives a while new meaning to sliders!


        2. "WHOLE 900lb COW" - Geeze! I remember checking out the custom rack on your website a while ago. The biggest thing I've done is a steamship primal, with a rented rotisserie. 3 or 4 rpm sticks in my memory

          1. We have a motor that can move a 1000lbs at 1 Rpm. An Engineer is working on fastening it to the rack.

            I am also looking at doing a whole sword fish but that is another topic. I think that will be easy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JB BANNISTER

              Sounds fantastic. Love the idea of whole large fish and would appreciate updates on your project