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Before You Buy a Roaster or Roasting Pan

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Roaster Oven Turkey

Photo © Mifflin
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Closed Oven Roaster

Photo © Mifflin
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Cuisinart Open Roaster

Photo Courtesy PriceGrabber

A roasting pan can fill many cooking needs but the key is to buy a roaster that meets your particular needs. Not only is it perfect for roasting a turkey if the size is sufficient, but a roaster can be used for many other succulent meals or large batch cooking. There are many roasting pan styles and various sizes to accommodate every need. And expect to have more than one roaster size in your cooking equipment, because one size does not work when it comes to meals.

When it comes to cooking a large turkey, some opt to use a foil roasting pan because the bird is too large for their assortment of roasters. While this an affordable and only choice for some, foil roasting pans do not always result in mess-free cooking. Read my Tips on Using Foil Roasting Pans for helping information on foil roasting pan use.

Maybe you already have a roasting pan, but would like something a little nicer to show off that luscious bird. Or maybe an electric roaster would better meet your roasting needs. Here's a few tips and options to consider when shopping for a roaster or roasting pan.

Read and write reviews on turkey tools and roasters

Granite Ware Covered Roasting Pans: Economical and Practical

You probably remember seeing your parents and grandparents use these for those memorable dinners. Granite Ware roasting pans are still around and are one of the most economical, tried and true roasters. Available in different sizes, they clean very easily, are lightweight to handle and are very durable. The covers usually nest easily upside down in the pan, making them easy to store.

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Open Roasting Pans: Easy to Store and Versatile

Types of open roasting pans include 18/10 stainless steel, enamel on steel or porcelain, aluminum, cast iron and carbon steel. So versatile, open roasters can double as serving trays. Some models are available with non-stick coatings for ease of cleaning. Cookware construction and prices do vary.

An open roaster is very practical for cooking roasts, poultry or entrees, or for baking large cakes and desserts. When buying an open roaster for cooking poultry, ensure the pan has at least 3" high sides for meat juices to accumulate safely. Open roasters are generally easy to clean and store.

Covered Roasting Pans: Seal in Flavor

Covered roasters usually have higher sides which provide ample room for meat juices with no threat of overflowing during cooking. Covers help to seal in flavor better than a foil covering. Covered roasting pans are available in stainless steel, enamel, porcelain and carbon steel. Prices and styles vary considerably. Some have a removable rack, making it easy to transfer meat safely to a serving plate.

Electric Roaster Ovens: Roasting and Portability

Not only do these appliances seal in flavor, but roaster ovens promote juicy, tender meals. These look like a large slow cooker, but they roast like an oven. They are practical for many large meal uses and portable to the outside courtyard. Some have optional buffet serving inserts, adding to their features. Although prices vary depending on construction and features, they are very affordable. A little more cleaning time is required.

Portable Rotisseries & Outdoor Cookers or Fryers: Roasting Display

Not only does a rotisserie get everyone's appetite rolling, but it's a great conversation piece. Who wouldn't want to monitor the turkey's progress? Poultry or roasts are rotated on a spit in a rotisserie and with some models, other foods can be placed in a basket for companion cooking. Portability is a great feature of rotisseries but storage can be problem for some as these are bulky appliances. There's also more meat removal care and cleaning time for this roasting appliance.

An outdoor propane fryer is a good option for a turkey or large meat item. Most outdoor fryers and roasters are propane operated and can definitely create a wonderful atmosphere at a gathering, picnic or tailgate meal. And for those who want a safer outdoor cooker, there are oiless models available.

What Else Should You Consider?

  • Pan Finish: Whether your roaster should be non-stick or not. Non-stick eases cleaning, but these pans need more care.
  • Timing settings: Quick cooking or slow cooking/roasting controls.
  • Handles: Quality of construction and how they are attached.
  • Accessories: Practical items such as meat racks or turkey lifters are great tools.
  • Capacity: What size of poultry or roast do you usually cook? Ensure the pan is a sufficient size for your needs.
  • Storage requirements: Storage could be a concern, especially with a rotisserie.
  • Warranty information
  • Weight and ease of handling
  • Manufacturer's care and cleaning instructions.

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