What Is a Rotisserie Motor?

Eugene P.

A rotisserie motor is an electrical device used to rotate a spit or other cooking element over a grill or other heat source. The motor can be an independent unit attached to the side of a grill, or it can be integrated into the workings of a grill or other oven-type cooker. There are several designs for a rotisserie motor, with some units using a tight rubber or plastic belt to turn a wheel that, in turn, rotates the spit, or the motor could consist of a series of gears and cogs that rotate together directly. The power source for a rotisserie motor can be standard batteries, a rechargeable battery pack, an electric cord for an outlet, or electrical leads that can be wired directly into a power source, such as the grill itself or an external electrical fixture. Most often, the rotisserie motor has a small, squared or hexagonal socket where the end of a spit can be inserted so it can be rotated, while in other models the motor turns a toothed wheel designed to be used with spits or baskets that have a matching cog on the end.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

There are several measurements that can be used to determine the strength of a rotisserie motor. The actual power of the motor is one measurement, usually given in fractions of a single horsepower. Another measurement that can be given, which is based on horsepower, is the torque in inch-pounds of pressure, which ultimately determines how much weight the motor can comfortably turn. Some models also plainly state the maximum amount of weight the rotisserie motor can handle, which can be important if items such as a whole pig are going to be cooked.

Many home grills employ a rotisserie as an optional attachment. In these cases, the rotisserie motor usually is a small box that attaches to the outer casing of the grill where, through a hole in the wall, the end of the spit can be inserted into the motor. Some countertop or oven-like rotisseries have the motor built in, meaning the motor itself usually is not seen and could use a number of different methods to turn the spit. On large commercial or industrial rotisseries, the motor might be a large unit mounted to the floor next to the oven so it can generate more power than home versions, potentially turning several spits at the same time.

Depending on the design of the motor and the unit in which it is working, the rotisserie motor could be powered by replaceable or rechargeable batteries. It also might have a standard electrical plug that can be used with an outlet. In some cases, the motor could have wiring connections so it can be directly attached to a permanent power source, such as an electrical connection directly to a home.

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