Shifting Gears On Your Pig Roasting Spit


[Tim] and [Jon] have a hankering for some pork product of their own making. Your average residential kitchen is ill-equipped to handle an entire pig, so they got down to business building this pig spit out of old bicycle parts.

The main components in the project are two stands built out of square tube which go on either side of the cooking fire (coal bed?). They include bearings to support a horizontal bar on which a pig carcass is somehow mounted. The whole point of a spit is to turn it while cooking, and that’s where the gear system comes in. The front crank from a bicycle was welded onto the spit, with one pedal still in place. This way if the motorized system breaks down they can still turn the thing by hand.

The crank connects to the cogs with one chain, while the other chain connects the cogs to a windshield wiper motor. When connected to the specified 12V it turns around 6 rpm; close but a bit too fast. After some trial and error they found a 5V supply turns it at the optimal 2 rpm.

We wonder if you can put a whole pig in a meat smoker?

[via Reddit]

23 thoughts on “Shifting Gears On Your Pig Roasting Spit

  1. Hi! Maker here… The hog roaster is being made for my 31st birthday. I’ve not put in the diagonal supports or the charcoal pits yet – they’ll be base from steel barrels either side of the pig, with a tray to catch the drippings. Feel free to comment here or on the blog and I’ll get back to you.

    1. Are you putting one, or two, rods through the pig to turn it? Another thing to consider would be putting the pig in a cage that rotates – you should be mindful that the pig could fall apart on the spit just from it’s own weight as it nears being done. (That, or you could bind the crap out of it with butcher’s twine to hold it together.)

      Happy grilling!

      1. I’m using one rod through the pig, two spikey ends that sit on the rod securing the pig from turning and I have stainless steel wire (1.4mm) to wrap round the pig to preserve as much crackling as possible.

    2. We built something similar for a party in New Orleans a few years ago.

      We took a steel chair and welded square stock to it and welded our first crank in a position so that a sitting person could comfortably sit and pedal. We then ran a second chainline up to a second crank with a piece of pipe welded on it (oriented so that it could spin obviously). We welded bent steel to it in a sort of L shape so that we could mount whole chickens on it. It could accomodate 2 chickens at a time.

      The whole thing was then mounted to a 30 gallon barrel which was cut in half to make a grill with the chickens rotating above it. For the stand for the barrel we used/modified a bench press rack.

  2. Made the same thing out of a 60:1 gear box with some belts and pulleys. I also used 2 1/2″ u-joints from a socket set for the spit. 4 pigs 1 goat and 1 turkey later.

    1. Would have done but they’re pretty hard to come by. 2nd hand on are still expensive, windscreen wiper motors have plenty of strength and go very slowly. Slow is good when roasting a pig!

      Lots of torque on the bar, so much so it’s difficult to slow it with hands alone.

  3. Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID

    Hack a Day wrote:

    > a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; } a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; } /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ Mike Szczys posted: ” [Tim] and [Jon] have a hankering for some pork product of their own making. Your average residential kitchen is ill-equipped to handle an entire pig, so they got down to business building this pig spit out of old bicycle parts. The main components “

  4. My thought is, based on my experience with home-made pig roasters, that this mechanism won’t survive the 8-24 hours it takes to roast a several hundred pound hog. My family’s attempts — based on 220VAC concrete mixer motors and lots of pulleys and automotive belts — almost always had something fail about halfway through cooking. The motor, as heavy-duty as it was usually survived running continuously for the entire period, but a belt or pulley axle would break. One time, the spit itself softened under the heat and bent under the weight of the hog — fortunately, it was hollow so we hammered a few pieces of rebar down the center to straighten it back up.

  5. There’s always the smoker they have plans for on compuvices. Failing tech & if spit turning it still required, there’s always the traditional method of 2 guys and a lot of beer to keep it turning through the night. (or the morning for a small pig)

    1. Lack of additional gears (bought from a recycling project) and time – need to get it ready for the main event. I also think the power supply was having issues. The motor was behaving badly on 12v, not keeping a consistent speed. If I have time I’ll shorten the chains and try and get another set of gears in.

  6. As the aforementioned Jon, I’d like to add a couple of things:
    This is Tim’s project
    The other *major* contributor is called Gary
    I had very little to contribute apart the 5v (which seemed to give it much more torque) and a couple of tweaks. The speed change was made by using a different terminal on the motor.

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