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Author Topic: Big Fish  (Read 9363 times)
Chief Kangaroo, Auspit North America
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« on: April 24, 2010, 09:46:05 PM »

OK folks, in an effort to follow in the footsteps of Extreme Auspiteer Bob in Jacksonville Beach, today I attempted my first big whole rotisserie fish.  This was one of the most difficult things I have ever tried on rotisserie.  Has anyone else tried this? Any tips?  Based on the speed it cooks and the delicious healthy food you end up with, I think this has a lot of potential but I first have some room for improvement since mine came out a bit undercooked in the middle, but it seemed like it might fall apart if I didn't take it off when I did. 

I had been thinking about trying this for some time, but it was because the BBQ Brethren forum was having an "extra large" category online competition that spurred me to actually give it a go.  Here is the full post I made ( ):

As the category for this week is XL, clearly this would be the week to go BIG and try something for the first time that had been lingering in my BBQ imagination for some time: fish. Not just any fish, but a fish that would push the physical limits of my rotisserie.

This was also to be my parting gesture to the West Coast because I leave tomorrow to head East for the summer. The weight I was after was 18 pounds, which is the maximum weight my spit can hold. I went right to the docks where once a week they let mere mortals buy the good stuff coming right off the boats in San Pedro, across from the port of Long Beach. 

You have to get there early. I had read that the shops open at 4ish (AM) and you donít want to get there after 5 because all the good stuff is gone by then. So I found myself bleary eyed, milling around this pre-dawn fresh fish market amongst a mostly Asian clientele. The place actually closes before 8am, but by then, I already had Charlie in hand, my new blue fin tuna that had a hot date with a spit and fire.

Charlie weighed in at 21.5 pounds loaded and came in at a perfect fighting weight of just under 18 pounds once they gutted him for me. I went for a tuna because the only other big fresh whole fish available today was yellowtail and by the time they get in the 18 pound range, they are way too long for my spit (and the fire required would likely trigger a visit from the fire department).

The next task was finding a place to cook him. It turned out that luck was with me because the first place I tried, Cabrillo Beach, was right around the corner from the fish market and turns out to be only one of two places in all of Los Angeles County that has fire pits and allows open fires. Even better, when I went to set up, there were still some excellent big pieces of wood already smoldering from the previous nightís beach party. I didnít even need a match to get my cooking fire going. I believe the wood in there was red oak and to that I added some avocado and eucalyptus.

So then came the challenge of trying to figure out how to set up Charlie on the spit. It wasnít easy. I ended up re-impaling him several times before I got him nicely balanced on the spit. For preparation, I jabbed some slits up and down the meaty parts and then stuffed them with basil pesto. I gave him a pesto full-body rub down as well. A squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt, pepper & onion powder then off to the fire he went.


Cooking went great.


Pretty much everyone walking down the beach came by to see what the heck was going on. Charlie would just wave nonchalantly to the crowd with his fin spinning through in the air. If you ever wanted to make a bunch of friends at the beach, just throw an 18-lb fish over a fire.

After an hour, I basted him in butter, diced garlic and lemon and then wrapped him in foil to try and get the inside further cooked without charring the outside. About a half hour later, Charlie was making some twisty dance moves that seemed to indicate I better get him off the spit before he fell off on his own.


It turns out that he had not cooked all the way through at that point, but it made for a thick seared ahi kind of feel with the fully cooked portion going in 2-4 inches and then gradually becoming a bright red center. The flesh was all succulent, tender and frankly superb, which was confirmed by the many passersby including someone from the park staff that helped me with the tasting and polished off a few pounds of Charlie in the process.
Trust me, there was PLENTY left after gorging ourselves. In fact if anyone reading this is between LA and New Orleans, I can drop by and give you a taste on my way. In any event I think Charlie is going to be with me for some time because much of him will be going in the freezer or otherwise I will overdose and may never be able to look a tuna in the face again.

--Jonny Rotisserie
Paul B
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010, 01:05:10 PM »

Great job there Jon....

I've got to start using mine.

Paul B
SS Auspit

Paul B
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