How To Test Your Smoke Detector

This was supposed to be about doing a rotisserie chicken. But if you read the headline, and if you have any sense of foreshadowing at all, you’ve already figured out that’s not what happened. As my daughter and I say whenever someone has a stupid idea on TV, “This will not end well.”


whole chicken, about one third smaller than the capacity listed in your rotisserie’s manual
olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper


Remove the giblets — the internal organs that get stuffed back into the cavity — and rinse the chicken inside and out. Then pat try with some paper towels, and rub down with olive oil. Make sure you get the breast and the back. (That’s the top and the bottom, if you don’t like to think about your food as a dead animal. Oops, sorry.)

Coat liberally with salt and pepper.

Run the rotisserie rod through the cavity. Make sure the tips of forks go as deep as possible into the chicken, preferably into the ribs. Not like you see below.

It may not be clear what’s happening there, but the chicken is a bit too big. The fork fits completely inside the cavity. I folded the skin into the opening and stuck the forks through that.

This, by the way, would have been the part during a TV show when my daughter would say, “This will not end well.”

I stood the rod on end and put the fork onto the other end. On this side, the fork kept hitting the wishbone. So that one also wasn’t especially tight.

Tie the ends of the drumsticks together with some butcher’s twine so they don’t flop around. If you can’t find the twine in the grocery story, just go to the meat counter and ask them for a couple of feet. They’ll give you some.

Put the chicken breast-side down and put another piece of twine across the back and under the wings. Then flip it over and tie it on top of the breast. This will keep the wings from flopping around. (I almost wrote “flapping” but thought better of it.)

Load the mounted chicken into the rotisserie.

If you look closely, you’ll see that the right side is a bit low. That’s because the fork isn’t into anything solid. So the chicken kept adjusting itself and dropping as it rotated. I thought, “That doesn’t look right.” But I convinced myself that if the manual said it was good for up to four-pound chickens, then this would be fine.

And for a bit over an hour, it was fine. The smell in the house was amazing. The couple of times I checked it looked great. Then, about ten minutes before I was going to pull it out, the smoke detector started beeping.

I ran into the kitchen and saw smoke pouring out of the rotisserie. “Well damn,” I thought to myself. Turned the rotisserie off and opened the front.

Apparently all the bouncing around finally wore out the back and it broke in half. A large piece had dropped off and was sitting on the heating element. Much as I wanted to get a picture of that to share with all of you, I decided that I had enough smoke in the house already.

This piece in the front is what was sitting on the heating element throwing off all the smoke.

And here is the result. Doesn’t it look just fabulous?

Tell you what, though. It still tasted great.

What … you thought I was going to throw the whole thing out just because of a little smoke?