Grilling Turkey – Rotisserie Method

Turkey on the rotisserie

Constant turning of the meat while rotisserie cooking allows it to self-baste with natural juices resulting  in an exceptionally moist and tender bird.


Lay turkey breast side down. Bring neck skin up over neck cavity. Turn under edges of skin; skewer to back skin. Loop twine around skewer and tie. Turn breast side up. Tie or skewer wings to body.

  • Put a spit fork on rod. Insert rod in neck skin parallel to backbone; bring it  ut just above tail. Put a second fork on rod. Insert forks in breast and tail area. Test for balance. Tighten screws. Tie tail to rod with twine. Cross legs; tie to tail.
  • Most rotisseries have a counter balance, ensuring consistent rotation for best results.  Test for balance by loosening the rod handle to allow the balancer to turn freely. Set the rotisserie rod in the slots of the barbecue casting. Let the heaviest side of the meat rotate to the bottom. Adjust the balancer to the top of the rod, opposite the heaviest side of the meat. Tighten the rod handle. Periodically, check to see if the meat turns smoothly while cooking. Adjust the balancer as necessary.


There are two ways to cook a turkey on a rotisseries.   Your barbecue may be equipped with a rear rotisserie burner or you may use the lower burners. We have outlined the grill set-up for both kinds of rotisserie cooking below. .

Using the Rotisserie with the Rear Rotisserie Burner  

  • Remove cooking grids and warming rack from barbecue grill
  • Centre a drip pan on vaporizer and position it beneath the centre of the food.
  • Fill the drip pan to 1” from the top with water, wine or juice and any herbs that might complement the flavours.   (As the juices and drippings fall , they mix with this liquid.   The mixture vapourizes and rise up to base the meat.)
  • Preheat the barbecue with rotisserie burner on MEDIUM HIGH for 10 minutes

Using the Rotisserie with the Main Burners.  

  • Remove cooking grids and warming racks from barbecue grill
  • Centre a drip pan under the rotisserie, positioning it so it will be beneath the center of the bird
  • Fill the drip pan to 1” from the top with water, wine or juice and any herbs that might complement the flavours
  • Preheat the barbecue on MEDIUM for 10 minutes

Place spit rod with carefully positioned meat into the rotisserie motor, and turn on and close the lid.

Periodically check to make sure the meat is turning smoothly and adjust the balancer as necessary   Also be sure to monitor the level of liquid in the drip pan,  adding more liquid as required.  Never let the drip pan dry out.

The only accurate way to tell when meat is done is to use a meat thermometer   Insert a thermometer into the centre of the meat.  Do not allow the thermometer to touch the bone.   Remove your turkey when meat thermometer reads 170° for breast meat and 180° for dark meat.

Cover the bird and let stand 15 – 20 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to set and makes carving easier.

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