Learn how to build a rotisserie BBQ pit

Rotisserie BBQ Pit

I don’t weld, but thank goodness for friends who do. (You’re the best Larry!) We used an old food-grade drum (cut in half length-wise), some scrounged bed-frame angle iron, and a 1/2″ threaded rod to whip up this hinged lid.

Rotisserie BBQ Pit

My advice would be to measure often here. We just barely managed to cover the length of the BBQ opening, but it worked! With some patience, we made it square and then used a hockey stick for a handle, spaced away from the BBQ with 5″ bolts and copper pipe. The caution here because the handle can get a little toasty when there’s a roaring fire.

Rotisserie BBQ Pit

A ‘secret’ feature of this BBQ is the adjustable warming plate. The steel drum wasn’t wide enough front-to-back so we added a 12″ wide steel plate on the back.

Rotisserie BBQ Pit

This makes a great surface for keeping dishes & plates warm while dinner is cooking. It can be moved to allow for more or less smoke to escape too.

Rotisserie BBQ Pit

To make the lid rotate we welded 12″ lengths of threaded rod to the back of the lid (on the angle iron bracing).

Rotisserie BBQ Pit

This is then fed into vertical hinge brackets on the side of the cinder blocks and secured with bolts, allowing for a fully open BBQ when needed.

Rotisserie BBQ Pit

It probably goes without saying that no one wants to BBQ with toxic vapors floating around. For that reason, we had a really good & hot fire in the BBQ prior to using it for any kind of cooking. It burned off all the various finishes, though surprisingly, the exterior drum paint was hardly affected.

Rotisserie BBQ Pit

To protect the steel from rust I’ve been told to use “High-Heat” flat-black paint on the exterior surfaces. Other internal parts can be protected with repeated applications of Canola oil which has a higher smoke point than most other oils.

Rotisserie BBQ Pit

And here’s the finished product in use. We spear the turkeys length-wise and then use large steel ‘nails’ through holes in the spit to keep the meat from spinning freely. Wrap it all securely with stainless wire and foil, and even more, wire, to keep it a tight-knit bundle of goodness.

Rotisserie BBQ Pit

Our 20 lbs birds took about 6 hours of cooking, removing the foil near the end for an hour of browning. Note that we sometimes supplement the fire with charcoal briquettes for a quick and long-lasting heat source.

Rotisserie BBQ Pit

After the turkeys and rotisserie are removed two more pipes can be laid down on the support arms and a grill placed on top to keep food warm.

That’s how we did it… Now go try it yourself… Good luck!

Thanks to  for this great project!

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