Rotisserie cooking — that is, cooking food on a spit over a heat source — is one of humanity's oldest cooking methods. It remains popular because it cooks meat slowly and evenly and because it allows the meat's juices to baste the meat. There is a wide variety of rotisserie equipment, including traditional, self-contained, and grill and oven-mounted rotisserie systems.
Traditional rotisseries were spits attached to cranks and suspended over a fire or hot coals, which required someone to turn the crank in order to rotate the meat and ensure even cooking. Though traditional rotisserie equipment is generally not used in the developed world, there is something close still available. Camping rotisseries, like their predecessors, consist of a simple spit-and-crank design intended to be used over an open fire. Unlike traditional models, camping rotisseries usually include motors, so the cook doesn't have to sit by a smoky campfire for several hours in order to cook the meat.
A second type of rotisserie equipment is the self-contained rotisserie. This type of rotisserie is usually a counter-top device similar to a toaster oven. Though ideal for very small, European-style kitchens or for cooking small cuts, self-contained rotisseries also have some distinct disadvantages. Their small size does not allow enough air circulation to brown the skin of a chicken or other large piece of meat. Some of them also require too much in-use adjustment to make them convenient for a busy cook.
Another type of commercially available rotisserie is the grill-mounted rotisserie. Some higher-end barbecue grills come with rotisserie equipment already installed, though after-market grill rotisserie kits are also available at most kitchen ware stores. These grill-mounted rotisseries are driven by a motor whose housing rests outside the grill cooking area. They also generally feature a larger spit and sturdier construction than is used in counter-top rotisseries. For those who live in mild climates, this may be the best type of rotisserie.
A final type of consumer rotisserie is the oven-mounted rotisserie. Like higher-end grills, some higher-end ovens come with rotisserie equipment. Larger toaster ovens also sometimes come with installed rotisserie equipment. The size of the device depends on the size of the oven. Rotisseries included with standard-size ovens are the best choice for those who regularly cook turkeys or large roasts, while those included with toaster ovens are a better choice for those who want to do gyro meat or small chickens.