When my cousin Mary took the turkey out of the oven this past Thanksgiving, a disaster almost happened. Her disposable aluminum pan did not keep its shape and the roasting juices started to spill on the floor. Luckily, enough of the juices were spared and she was left with enough to make the gravy.
If you are like my cousin and only need a roasting pan once or twice a year perhaps for a big holiday roast, you should seriously start thinking about getting yourself a good roasting pan and you do not need to break the bank in order to get one.
First, the basics:
Choose a pan that is flameproof so you can use it on the stovetop if needed; that leaves out Pyrex, stoneware and ceramics. The best roasting pans are called “French” roasters; these have low walls, have sturdy handles and are made out of stainless steel or aluminum.
The size needs to be at least 15 inches long. Think of the 12 pound Thanksgiving turkey and you will understand what I mean. A roast is cooked by the oven’s hot air and that is why it needs that extra room on the sides. On the other hand, if you only need a roasting pan for smaller birds or a single rack of lamb, you might want to get a smaller pan because the drippings from a smaller roast might burn in a large pan.
The material should be thick enough to withstand the high heat of the oven (forget nonstick). If the material is too thin or of poor quality, your roasting pan might buckle if you place it in a very hot oven or on top of the stove. An excellent choice is good quality anodized aluminum (without the nonstick surface) or a stainless steel pan that has and aluminum core. A copper core is also very good but keep in mind that copper is heavier than aluminum.
With a good roasting pan you should be able to make your holiday meals enjoyable even in the kitchen!
And what about cousin Mary? Well, she decided to take my advice (after I chewed her ear, of course) and bought herself a stainless steel roasting pan that came with a rack, and she got a bargain.
Here it is:
Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Steel Roaster with Rack
Recommended by America’s Test Kitchens, Yours Truly, and cousin Mary.
If you want to buy it on sale, click here.