How Much Charcoal Do You Need When Spit Roasting?

How Much Charcoal Do You Need When Spit Roasting?

How much charcoal do I need when cooking a spit roast?

Cooking on a spit rotisserie isn't something most people do every week so it's easy to forget how much natural lump charcoal you need to cook on your charcoal spit rotisserie.

As a rule of thumb, you need around 1kg of charcoal for every kilogram of meat. This will vary on weather conditions i.e. which way the wind is blowing and depending on the thickness of your meat. For example, if you're cooking gyros, cooking time will be very different depending on if your gyros affixed to your skewer is thick and fat, compared to the long and thin spread of meat along the length of the rotisserie skewer.

Once you've calculated approximately how much charcoal you need, you add around 1/2 of the charcoal initially and leave the remaining 1/2 for top ups. Once the charcoal is ignited, you can simply throw more charcoal alongside the existing lit charcoal at any time. You however can not do this for heat beads as they are manmade and have chemicals added during processing which emit fumes that you don't want burning into your food. If you insist on using heat beads, we recommend using a charcoal chimney fire starter so you can pre-light your heat beads that you're going to be using for top ups.

See our below video to show how to use a charcoal chimney fire starter

Once the charcoal is burning and your meat is cooking, use the 8 second rule to determine whether you need to adjust the height of the spit or whether you need to add more charcoal.

See our video on how to use the 8-second rule

Using a small metal charcoal rake or shovel, redistribute the charcoal around the spit rotisserie as necessary. When you're cooking a whole animal, have larger mounds of charcoal near the hips and shoulders as this is where the majority of the meat is. Only a small amount of charcoal is required for the stomach.

The ideal cooking height while spit roasting is roughly at the height where you can hold your hand for about 7 -8 seconds.

If you're cooking different types of meat of various sizes on one skewer and you want them all to be ready at the same time, simply move more or less charcoal to the meat you want to cook faster or slower. Alternatively, the 3 skewers on the Cyprus Spit will also give you 2 different cooking heights at the same time.

by: Rhiannon Peterson