Introduction: Waterwheel Rotisserie Pulled Pork - a Sustainable, Green Energy Way of Rotisserie Cooking

About: Don't take the world to seriously relax a little and enjoy the ride.

River Side Rotisserie Pulled Pork !!! Just the sound of that can get the attention of just about anyone,

I have had this idea for some time now and finally got the chance to try it out. As the world shifts to cleaner forms of energy use what could be a better way of rotisserie cooking then using the power of water. For this instructable I will go through the steps needed to make and set up a Waterwheel Rotisserie Cooker for a delicious river side lunch/ dinner.

Sneak Preview - Waterwheel Rotisserie

I decided to make pulled more because this was my first time cooking this way and a pork shoulder is a very forgiving meat to cook. It is big enough that it can handle some charring but still be delicious and has enough fat content to remain moist through out the cooking process.

Materials Needed:

For Waterwheel

1 - Piece of 5" x 1/4" x 4' hobby wood (From Hardware store)

2 - pieces of 1.5" x 1/4" x 3' hobby wood (From Hardware store)

4 - wooden dowels 4' in length x 1/2" thick

16 - wood screws about 3/4" in length

8 - brackets ( not sure the exact name )

1 - Piece of wood 10" x 10" x 3/4" (For the center piece)

1 - 72" x 1/2" threaded steel rod ( Found this at the local building store for $9.98)


Pork shoulder/ butt (Or any awesome rotisserie worthy piece of meat)

Meat thermometer


Forks x 2


BBQ sauce

2 aluminum trays

Paper Towel


Drill / Screw driver



Wood Glue

Hot Glue

Tape or Rope

palm sander

Garbage bags for clean up

Natural Materials

Tree Limbs

River with decent flow rate

Waterwheel Working Perfectly

Step 1: Building the Waterwheel

This is the main part that involves a little planning before you head out to the river. Now I wanted to make something that comes apart because I didn't want to have to carry a massive waterwheel into the bush, as that would be awkward and annoying.

This waterwheel comes apart in to sections and can be made right on the shore. It fits into a grocery bag and its very light which is key for carrying along with other gear.


1- Cut the 5" x 4' piece of hobby wood in to 8 sections. The board is 48" long so 48 / 8 = 6 so cut the board every 6" giving you the 8 sections.

2- Now cut the 1/2" x 3' board into 8 pieces 5" long to go along the bottom of the larger piece.

3- Glue the smaller 1/2" x 5" piece to the larger 5" x 6" piece to create an L shape paddle.

4- Find a way to clamp the pieces together or lay them down and add weight to them to help bond the wood together. Allow them to dry for at least 2 hours before working on them and at least 24 hours before actually using the waterwheel in the water.

6- Cut the wooden dowels in half at the 2' mark and Hot Glue them to the paddle as shown.

7- slightly bend the 8 small metal brackets over a dowel to give them a slight concave.

8- cut some wood to form a 10" x 10" square ***This piece will form the main or middle section and should be at lease 3/4" thick*** Now cut the corners off the 10"x10" square as evenly as possible to give you a hexagon shape

9- Place the bent brackets at each edge on the wood center piece and secure with a wood screw that is at least 3/4" long.

10 - find the center of the center piece and drill a 1/2" hole that will be the main turning point for the waterwheel.

11- using a palm sander sand down the open end of the dowels attached to the paddles to allow them to slide under the brackets easier.

12- test fittingand sand more if needed.

Now that you have constructed the main part of the waterwheel you will have a better understanding of how it works and will be easy to build at the rivers edge.

*** when you take your wheel apart and get it ready to bring to the water DON'T FORGET to bring a screw driver to tighten the screws back down when you are at the river*****

Step 2: Prep Your Meat

Prepping your meat the day before can help insure amazing cooking results and an extra delicious finished project. Pulled pork is very open to all different kinds of marinades but I will give you a simple recipe that works great every time.


Pour 1/2 cup of olive oil into a bowl and then add 1 good handful of brown sugar. Now add 4-6 TBS of your favorite rib rub or steak spice. add 2 tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar and then a generous amount of sea salt. Add a bit of pepper and then mix everything together very well. It should form a paste and which you can rub all over the pork shoulder and place in a large freezer bag to rest over night.

Step 3: The Perfect Location

Finding the correct place to set up your waterwheel rotisserie is essential to the success of the project. You have to find an area of the river that the water inst moving to quickly but has enough depth and force to rotate the wheel. It has to be close enough to shore to have a fire and deep enough that the paddles will not hit the ground when spinning.

Once you have found a good location you can begin to gather building materials for the stands needed for the rotisserie.

If you have found a good spot you can move rocks around to increase or decrease the flow to the perfect spinning speed.

Step 4: Building the Rotisserie Cooker

Now that you have choose a location its time to gather the materials. You will need 6 sticks about 5' in length that are about 2" in diameter.

Begin by standing up 2 sticks in an "X" shape and secure them in place by piling river rocks around the base.

Repeat this process 2 more times so you have a total of 3 supports for the rotisserie.

Now construct your waterwheel and make sure all the screws are very tight.

Using rope or tape wrap it around the intersections of each support making the supports sturdy.

Slide the waterwheel onto the steel rod and secure using tape. **** I used some tape and wrapped it around the rod a few times making it thicker then slid the wheel over top creating a pressure hold***

***Be sure to place the paddles in correct direction to catch the most amount of water. in the link below you can see how the extra piece we glued on helps more water to hit the paddle and create a better turning rate***.

Now place the entire rod and wheel onto the supports. This may be tricky as it will start turning right away but you need to make sure you are at the correct height. It may take a little shifting of the supports but try to get to the perfect level so the water is hitting all the paddles evenly and the paddles are not hitting the ground as they rotate.

Once you have got everything worked out the rest is quite simple

Building your fire

Using the rocks around you build a platform so that the fire will be closer to the steel rod and away from the water.

Now grab 1 of the aluminum trays and place it on the platform you have created. This is essential because river rock often has air pockets in it and will actually EXPLODE if the fire is made directly on them. The aluminum tray will create a barrier as well as keep any water splashed away from your fire. Go get LOTS of fire wood I found dead wood all around me its quite easy to find in a natural setting like that but you can always bring fire wood but that's just more to carry.

Build your fire and attach the meat to the steel rod directly above the
fire. Use the butchers wrap to secure it or use some butchers twine and tie it on as tight as possible.

Here is a short clip of it working perfectly Waterwheel Rotisserie Cooker

Step 5: Cooking

There is not a whole lot to do at this point so grab your fishing rod and have some fun. Always keep and eye on the fire and keep it stocked with wood. You want a good flame but not so big as to burn the supports you made.

Cooking will change depending on the wind and other factor's so I put a meat thermometer in after about 2 hours and cook until I reach an internal temp of 180

Once you have reached your internal temp of 180 remove from the spit and place in the second aluminum foil tray and allow to sit for 10 mins

Step 6: Finish and Serve

Now after all that hard work you have an amazing lunch to enjoy. Using 2 forks shred the pork into the classic pulled pork. Add your favorite BBQ sauce and get some buns its eating time!!!!!

Step 7: Clean Up

Being able to head into the bush and have such an amazing afternoon is a massive bonus of living in southern Ontario. The summers are hot and the winters are cold which provides so many different opportunities for great outdoor fun. Having said that Its any Outdoorsmen's duty to leave and area cleaner then when you found it. I make sure to pick up all my garbage as well as any other garbage I see in the area regardless if its mine o

Respect our environment and make sure to bring garbage bags and don't leave anything after you are done enjoying the day

I hope you guys like this instructable I had so much fun making this and cooking river side I would really recommend giving it a try.

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