How High You Should Spit Roast the Meat Over the Charcoal

What is the perfect cooking height when cooking on a spit

In this blog and we will cover the technique that we use to determine what is the best height to have your meat above your charcoal while spit roasting. Spit roasting is fun and can be very rewarding, but there are so many things you need to consider when cooking on a spit. 

We often get asked how one can gauge the best cooking height when spit roasting in a spit roaster. It is an important question because if you position your spit too close to the fuel source, you run the risk of burning the outside of your meat while the inside is still raw whereas if you are too high, it will take a very long time to cook your meat right through.

The best way to check the perfect height for spit roasting is by using the 5 to 8 second rule. It is a pretty simple concept, you should be able to hold your hand 5 to 8 seconds above the fuel source without burning your hand. That is the ideal height that the meat should be above the hot BBQ lump charcoal to achieve a perfect balance between a flavoursome crust as well as being cooked right through. Keep in mind that it is only a guide but good enough to help you get started.

Since everyone has a different pain threshold the time you hold your hand varies from person to person. When you find the perfect time/height you can replicate this for all future cooks and achieve consistent spit-roasting results. 

The one time that this rule does not apply is when cooking Gyros. With Gyros you generally shave the outer layer of meat throughout an extended period of time. Due to this you really want to cook that outer layer as quickly as possible. With Gyros, after it's seasoned with Yiros Seasoning, I generally cook it at a high temperature where I can't hold my hand at the height for more than 2 seconds. If I'm not carving as often and the outer layer is starting to burn I will lift the skewer a bit higher to slow it down a little. 

by: Rhiannon Peterson