This type of oven provides even and consistent cooking thanks to rotating spits that move food through the cabinet as it is heated from all sides with radiant heat from burners or elements, which virtually eliminates the possibility of cold spots. The turning also helps keep moisture in the foods by keeping them from sitting with one side down for long. These are designed to cook products at high temperatures, then switch to a low-temperature holding state so foods can be kept at safe levels for extended periods of time.
They're especially popular in grocery stores, where floor models are common, and convenience stores, which typically opt for countertop versions. The smallest countertop models hold fewer than 10 birds, while larger ones will cook a few dozen birds at once. Full-size floor models can hold nearly 100 chickens.
Spits are the classic method for holding products in this equipment, acting as skewers that hold products horizontally to carry them through the cabinet. Lazy Susan designs are a bit easier to load because one bird can be added or removed without disturbing the others. They include round racks attached to a rotating vertical center post. These are a little easier to load and unload, but aren't quite as space-effective as the horizontal variety.
Gas vs. Electric
The heating in a gas commercial rotisserie is done with either LP or NG, but the rotation and the illumination of the cabinet require electricity. Models that run only on electricity might be a little more convenient to install. In areas where electricity is cheaper than gas, they may also be more economical. The downside is that electric models typically do not deliver the same level of power as gas, so they may cook more slowly.
Options to Consider
- Ventless models are UL-certified for operation without being installed underneath a hood. This not only frees you to install the oven virtually anywhere, front- or back-of-house, it also can save you from having to spend a considerable sum to build a larger hood. However, you'll need to check local codes or speak to an inspector to ensure ventless operation is allowed in your area. You should choose this type if you'll be using your unit primarily as a display merchandiser.
- A self-cleaning feature can cut down on the time and effort spent on care and maintenance.
- Pass-thru models have doors on opposite sides, so food can be placed in one side and taken from the other. This is a good choice if you're going to locate the oven between a kitchen and a service area, because it can be loaded by kitchen staff and the food can be retrieved by employees behind the counter. This setup is a win-win, as it gives your guests a view of the product while keeping it convenient to employees.