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Spit Roasting 101

Ever tried spit roasting wild game or fish?

It's that time of year again. Time to get outdoors, smell the fresh air, and indulge in some small game hunting and good old fashioned fishing.

This year, why not try cooking right in the outdoors on your own spit?

Picking your Skewer

The first thing you do when you plan to cook your fish or game on a skewer is to find the skewer itself. There are a few key things to remember when you do this.

Find green wood. Look for living branches or saplings about the thickness of your thumb or middle finger. These will be both malleable enough to work with and unlikely to catch fire.

Be sure to use non-toxic wood. Just because a branch looks like it's going to be the perfect skewer doesn't mean it will. Learn to identify poisonous woods and give them a wide berth. Suggested woods include willow, pine, or hazel.

Make sure the skewer is long enough to hover over your fire. If you're going to cook game, it's also recommended to find wood that still has small branches jutting out, as these can help to support much heavier meat like rabbit or chicken.

Get Spitting

Whether it's fish or game, gut it first by cutting into the belly and removing any unwanted innards. If you are cooking game, this is also the time to skin it.

The next step is, of course, to put your meat on the skewer.

Sharpening the skewer should be relatively simple. Using a knife, sharpen the end of your skewer until you are satisfied it can pierce through the meat of your fish or game.

Insert the sharpened end of the skewer into the open cavity in the stomach and push through the mouth. If possible, try to specifically pierce areas with thicker meat. This will help the game or fish to remain securely on the skewer.

RELATED: Silver Turtles: A Campfire Delight

Season to Perfection

Like any meat, it's important to skewer it beforehand. This will allow whatever seasoning, whether you prefer herbs or simple salt, to sink deep into the meat. If you decide to stuff the inside of your fish or game with seasoning, be sure to use a piece of string to secure it so all that spice doesn't fall into the fire.

Add Fire

You can check out "How To Start a Fire in the Field" to get a better idea of what's involved, or view our selection of fire starters in our web shop.

Since flames are difficult to predict and control, wait to cook over hot coals. A roaring fire is great for warmth, but not for cooking. You'll want to let it burn down to coals or small flames and cook over these.


There are two ways to cook with the skewer.

Simply stick the dull edge of the skewer into the ground at an angle over the hot coals. Be sure to shift them occasionally to cook the meat evenly. Or, you can also balance the skewer on a pair of Y-shaped supports over the fire, turning regularly to give your meat an even roast throughout.

How Long?

Fish should cook approximately 15-20 minutes. Game 40-45 minutes. Fish meat should no longer be translucent, and the scales should be crispy. Be warned that the fish tail may catch fire. Keep an eye on this and don't let it burn the rest of the fish.

Leave your spit roasting recipes below, and add any other suggestions for helping folks wanting to cool over an open flame in the great outdoors.

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Spit Roasting 101