Learn the Essentials of Choosing a Stainless Roasting Pan, from Construction and Shape to Indispensable Extras
Do you love cooking a holiday meal for your family? There is nothing like the smell of the roast in the oven. But for creating a perfectly roasted turkey, you need the best stainless roasting pan. If you end up with an inferior roasting pan, it could result in meat that is burnt in some areas and raw in others, scorched gravy, and a pan that is too hard to get out of the oven.
First, the size of the roasting pan matters. Ideally, your pan should fit in your oven and still leave 2 inches for air to circulate between it and the sides of the oven. In addition, you don’t want a pan so large that the juices from your average roast will have too much room to spread and will burn.
Secondly, the kind of metal in your pan matters. Two factors are the weight of the pan and how evenly is conducts heat. A good heat conductor is aluminum. However, ingredients with strong acids such as tomatoes and lemons can react badly with aluminum. This can add a sour taste to your recipes. Stoneware may not be your best choice because it can be fragile or heavy. Stainless steel is a great choice because it is relatively light, non-reactive, and sturdy. However, it is not the best conductor of heat. The best choice is a a roasting pan made up of different layers of stainless steel and aluminum and possibly copper.
Your turkey roasting pan must also be able to stand up to high oven temperatures and the high direct heat of the stove top. You often will want to use your roaster on the stove top to sear the meat and also to make gravy after roasting. Some lightweight pans can buckle under high-heat conditions. The poorly made pans can also distribute heat unevenly and cause burning and scorching of your roast or gravy.
The construction of your pan matters also. You should look for a rectangular roasting pan with rounded sides. The rounded sides allow for easy removal of remaining bits for cleaning or use in your gravy. The best height for the sides of the pan is 2 1/2 inches to 3 inches. This is low enough for good air circulation when cooking, but high enough so that juices don’t spill while you are transporting your roast to the counter. Handles are also something important to consider. The worst handles fold down and make it very hard for you to grasp the pan with your hands in potholders. The best are riveted and stand straight up from the pan so that oven space is not wasted.
There are deals on pans that include handy extras. A rack is one. My favorite extra is heavy forks. Even if I only use my forks once a year to lift that heavy turkey out of the pan onto my serving platter, they were worth it.