The Basics of Spit Roasting and How to Choose the Right Charcoal for Such

August 9, 2021

Australians are known for their love of barbecuing and spit roasting foods. While most people are adept at barbecuing foods, many are new to setting up a fire for spit roasting and aren’t sure how much charcoal is needed. To better understand the answer to that question, it helps to know a little history about spit roasting and how it became a very popular way of cooking delicious food.

Spit roasting is when a long solid pole or rod is used to hold large joints of meat or entire animals, such as chicken, pig, and even beef over an open flame. Whether over a fireplace, a fire pit, or a campfire, food that is pierced through with a solid rod is turned continuously over an open flame to allow meat to be evenly cooked in its own juices.

In medieval times, spit roasting was the preferred means to cook animals for large families and special events. The task of continually turning the spit rod was typically assigned to boys that were called “spit boys”. It was a job that required a boy to sit next to the fire and slowly turn the metal rod to make sure that meat was cooked evenly over the open flame.

While there are now electric driven motors to continuously rotate meat over an open flame, some people choose the job of a spit-boy and turn or rotate their meat over an open flame themselves.

How Much Charcoal is Needed When Spit Roasting?

How much charcoal is needed when spit roasting? This is a common question people ask when first getting into spit roasting foods. The best answer depends on a few factors, such as what type of food you are cooking and how large are the joints of meat you want to spit roast?

To assure the success of your spit roast, it is recommended to use at least one kilo of charcoal per one kilo of meat you area spit roasting. For example, if you are spit roasting a joint of meat that is 10 kilos, you will need at least 10 kilos of quality charcoal. It is advised to use only premium charcoal, as cheaper charcoal will not burn as long and may taint your meat with an undesirable taste, even if you seasoned your food perfectly.


If you need a reliable resource for quality charcoal for your spit roast, or you would like to inquire about the types of charcoal and firewood to use for barbecuing food, then contact us here at John Tiras, we can help answer your questions.

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