Rotisserie Oven Buyers' Guide
Rotisserie ovens are a fantastic way to not only cook, but also merchandise food. Many rotisserie ovens are designed to be near the customers, where they can see and smell the product cooking inside. They are often lighted internally to make it easy to see what is cooking, which is most often chicken, but can also be beef roasts, leg of lamb, ribs, fish, or vegetables. Rotisserie ovens can both cook and hold these products, keeping them at safe temperatures until they are ready to serve. The final product is often juicier and more evenly cooked than products cooked in a traditional oven, thanks to the rotation while cooking that keeps the heat evenly distributed and prevents the juices from running out.
Finding the Right Rotisserie Oven for Your Needs
Rotisserie ovens are powered by either gas or electricity. Gas powered ovens, using either propane or natural gas, heat up faster, but electric ovens have an easier installation process and offer more precise temperature control. For ovens that will be in sight of customers, there are some specialty gas-powered rotisserie ovens that have visible flames in the merchandising compartment to help attract attention.
The size of the space you have to work with and the amount of food you will be cooking can help you decide what size rotisserie oven you need. The ovens start at countertop sizes that hold as few as eight birds. The largest full-size floor models can hold up to 80 birds. Most sizes are available in pass-through models, for access from both the kitchen side and the service side.
Some of the larger models are available on casters, although only the electric models can be easily moved around. The larger two-compartment ovens are sometimes available in a mixed format, with a rotisserie oven on top and a convection oven on the bottom. This can be a great option for kitchens that want a rotisserie oven, but need to save space.
Options and Special Features to Consider
Rotisserie ovens also offer a couple options for how the chicken or other food product is held inside the oven. The most common method is using spits, which are long rods that puncture the food to hold it while it cooks, often with two rods to stabilize the product. The other available method is a basket, which is good for smaller meats and vegetables, and also for being able to add and remove food without disturbing the other food on the rack. They further enable first-in, first-out inventory control. For large products such as whole chickens, spits are usually preferred to ensure a crispy exterior with no basket pattern.
Many rotisserie ovens have features that make them customizable to fit your needs. While some ovens have solid-state controls, which are physical dials and buttons, most have digital controls that will allow you to program different cook cycles, so you can press a single button for each menu item instead of having to manually alter settings each time. Some of these digital controls allow you to program as many as 15 recipes.
Some rotisserie ovens also offer two-stage cooking in addition to the holding feature, enabling them to spend a few minutes cooking at a high temperature to crisp the outside of the meat, then shift to cooking slowly at a low temperature for a tender, juicy final product. Ventless rotisserie ovens may be an option for some kitchens, which can be a much cheaper option than installing a vent over the oven, but this is not allowed in all areas, so check your local codes.