Appliances

Does This Machine *Really* Make the Best Chicken?

April  6, 2017

The Roto-Broil 400 has a cult following for producing the juiciest, spit-roasted birds. Jeffrey Steingarten has written numerous times in praise of this countertop rotisserie, as has the Times; online forums are lively and loud.

Our reason to be suspicious? It was made in the 1950s. For today’s episode of our podcast, we put one to the test. Does it work better than the chicken-cooking methods we already know and love? Does it work at all?

Download the episode here—or stream below. And hit "subscribe" to get each new episode downloaded to your phone automatically.


Meet the Roto-Broil 400

Its first glorious test run, in my home kitchen.
This hanging door was (and remains) a bit of a mystery to me, but it didn't slow me down.
Sitting pretty in its original, 1950s box. "DE LUXE" (!)

To learn more about our show, head here.

38 Comments

Connie M. January 12, 2018
I have 4 of these. 2 of which have never been used. Spit parts in original packaging. I grew up with one and use one regularly. Make great rotisserie chickens and pork roast. I just gave my 5th one to my brother. They are getting hard to find now.
 
Jason R. September 19, 2017
Hey i have got to say the roto boil atomatic fryer is fantastic for caning . Frying .boiling . Its fantastic and easy to work on my great grama used one of theas fryers years ago hoster chicken diners people would come all over manitulin also so torrests lots of them back in the 60s some were arond there any way she use one for years used it for many things anyway that fryer had sat for years the cord was shot but i lately rewiered it with some hi temp wiering and a extettion cord that was rated at 1600 or 1646 watts i cant remember 16 gauge polarized 3 prong cord from giant tiger it was a heater block extention cord i choose very carefully i spent mouth looking for a cord last place i looked was giant tiger blue heater block extension cord i was very surprised how good of quality<br />Not bad it is it was 9 bucks i put it back together and it works beautifully i fell in love with it i encorag you to look at your cords and see if ther descent also see if thete heating up at all if so consider replacing it chose a cord wisely and look at the temp rating i consider geting one of thease rotisery 400s
 
Nancy June 30, 2017
We had one of these in my childhood home. Made great chicken, and provided a show for us kids. Great flavor when winter prevented our using the outdoor grill.
 
SophieL April 9, 2017
I have a Ronco Showtime rotisserie and have made delicious chicken, pork chops, port ribs, beef ribs, lamb riblets, as well as bratwurst and other sausages. It's easy to clean the parts in the dishwasher.<br />Coincidentally, last week on NPR, the Marketplace segment was talking about infomercials and Ronco was specifically mentioned; on the Marketplace website, you can click on one of the early Ronco infomercials with Ron Popeil himself - so kitschy now, but what a salesman.
 
Yarbus April 7, 2017
I second Bonnie C.'s recommendation Ronco makes one for under a hundred bucks. Works like a champ!