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What's the best roaster pan?

  • m

What's a good mid-range price roaster pan? Debating between a Calphalon Hard Anodized (the basic black metal) or the Calphalon Stainless Steel roaster. Does stainless steel have a cooking advantage or is it just cosmetic? Thanks!

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  1. I'm going to be a bomb-thrower here and say maybe neither. Perhaps you don't need to spend much at all on a roasting pan that you'll use infrequently that requires a lot of storage space. Your grandmother may well have done just fine with a lightweight graniteware pan and made terrific gravy in it. Lots of people still do. An expensive name-brand won't guarantee a fabulous Norman Rockwell turkey. Examine some alternatives.

    This week Macy's is offering a promotional roaster for $5. Bed, Bath and Beyond has a heavier weight pan for $20 with a $10 mail-in coupon and the usual 20% off coupons or other promotional deals. Those are hard to beat since they cost little more than the throw-away aluminum things from the supermarket.

    Years ago, my good roaster was in storage while we were completing a move back from overseas and I bought an inexpensive roaster with a rack from Costco for $30. I'm still using it and it does a terrific job. My sister got one of the BB&B specials ($20 after the coupons) and I used it last year at her home, even making the roux for the gravy in it. No complaints whatsoever.

    Those pans are both thick and sturdy. No name plates. No prestige. Who cares? We roast great turkeys, cook other things in them year round. When and if they get shabby or whatever, we can pitch them and start over. We've saved a lot of money that we've put to other uses.

    Look at all the options. From $5 to hundreds of dollars is a lot of territory.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MakingSense

      MS, Do you know if this $5 roaster at Macy's is a nationwide offer? I can't find it online, and will have to wait for tomorrow's ads if it's still offered. More details, please!

      1. re: amyzan

        It was in their newspaper ad in the Washington Post. Jfood reported seeing it as well and he live in New Jersey - NY paper?
        Many stores offer "promotionals" to attract customers into their stores hoping that they will make other purchases while they are there - even saying that the item is not available by phone or on-line.
        Bed, Bath & Beyond has had offers similar to this of roaster that end up costing less than $20. My sister's is heavy and if you didn't know better, you'd think it was one of the name brands.
        Theory, why buy a Porche if you're always stuck in city traffic? Do you need to spend a lot of money on a roaster if you don't have to?

        1. re: MakingSense

          Yeah, I agree, unless you're using the roasting pan more than a few times a year. I found the ad for the Macy's pan, but it's nonstick, for which I have an irrational dislike. Well, not entirely irrational, but I'd rather have a stainless pan, so will likely have to spend a bit more if I end up buying one. I'm thinking of going through my mom's basement to see what might be there...

    2. I have to say that I am a fan of the graniteware roasters (the Big Blues) that Making Sense mentioned. I don't want to be - what I want are fancy roasting pans with commensurately fancy racks and the like - but it all boils down to the fact that the Big Blue roaster works wonderfully.
      The grooves in the bottom of the Big Blue are a waste, I must admit - if i need to drain fat away, I use a small grate or wads of aluminum foil. But the size and utility of the cheap roaster cannot be dismissed. Ours will be in service for the T-day bird, as it has been for years, and it's withstanding a Weber roasting these past few years.

      Don't worry about the provenance of the pan more than the cooking of the dish. I could make a great roasted bird in a hundred-plus dollar pan as well, but the Big Blue graniteware seems to do a fine job, and then some. As MakingSense said, look at all the options.

      1. jfood agrees with Makingsense with one caveat. jfood owns both an inexpensive and a Calphalon NS. When jfood want to make a pan gravy after the roast is complete he uses the NS and for everyday hacking around the less expensive with tin foil is used. Why? Jfood major gripe against the Calph is the handles, they stick up and limit the placement of the racks and the less expensive has handles that flop down. The disadvantage to the less expensive is the coating is horrible and jfood would not make a sauce in it, hence the reason for the tin foil. And after a year or two, he throws it out and buys another one.

        He looked at the $5 Macy's in the ad and looked at his. If he is near a Macy's he will probably buy but not a special trip.

        1. Cooks Illustrated recommends the Calphalon Stainless Steel roaster, which also comes with a V-rack. I just purchased it on Amazon for $99. The recommend the SS so that it is easier to scrape the bottom for gravy, as well as the SS conductivity.

          4 Replies
          1. re: meggie t

            Whatever you do, stay far far far away from anything anodized or non-stick. From there, the rest of the suggestions are good. A regular graniteware pan will work fine, but it's not as pretty! ;-) jfood mentions something I disagree whole-heartedly with. The handles are by NO means a hindrance. They don't get in the way of racks or anything... I've roasted chickens in that pan that stick up higher than the handles do, so if the handles are in the way then so is the food... And the food really can't be in the way... Anyway, I have the Calphalon Stainless roaster, and unfortunately you missed a great deal on Amazon this past Thursday morning - they had them for $70 on sale but it was on for a few hours. I strongly recommend grabbing the Calphalon stainless tri-ply.

            1. re: meggie t

              Conductivity isn't an issue if the food you are roasting is on a rack. The air around it is doing the roasting.

              Again, we're just saying that people need to examine options. Many people don't make their gravy or sauces in the roasting pan so scraping the pan may not matter. I've made successful rouxs in non-stick pans with no trouble. Lots of folks have also made terrific gravies for generations in plain old graniteware.
              No sense in buying a $100 roaster for once or twice a year if a Macy's special will do.

              1. re: MakingSense

                i also make lasagne in my rectangular graniteware roasting pan. i wouldn't waste money on anything expensive for roasting....other cookware, it depends on the piece.

                1. re: alkapal

                  Totally agree. There are some times when you absolutely cannot afford to "cheap out." It's a false economy to buy a crappy sautée pan and expect good results. Get one really good, all-purpose one and take good care of it. But there are definitely places where the budget-conscious, or even just sensible folks, can save some of their hard-earned cash.

            2. Bed Bath and Beyond was selling this Cuisinart roasting pan for $40.00 w/ a $20 mail-in rebate yesterday. http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/produ...

              The sale does not show up online, but they had a large stack of them at the store entrance when I was there yesterday. http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/produ...

              1. I was asking myself the same questions too. I did a little research online and found Foldtuk roaster. It hasn't been long since they're in the market. I was stunned by the innovative and fashionable design to begin with. The thing is made of silicone so it's collapsible and saves space. It can collapses to less than 3" high. The nature of silicone made the roaster nonstick too. I was just wondering if there is anybody tried out that one yet?

                12 Replies
                1. re: gogoj

                  A roaster made of something as flexible as silicone sounds downright scary. I'd hate to pull a 16 pound turkey with hot grease out of the oven in that.
                  Can't say that I'd sacrifice safety for "fashionable design" or the ability to fold it up.
                  Yikes! What are they thinking?

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    i was wondering the same. silicone? no way, josé!

                    here's what it looks like: http://www.foldtukroaster.com/

                    1. re: MakingSense

                      they might have their own reason. silione is safer, wouldn't release chemical stuff to your bird like those nonstick roaster. i agree silicone gives people impression of being flimsy. But sounds like that Foldtuk thing was structured with steel frame and bottom. it should resolve the "safety issue". fashionable design, and save space is always a plus. i don't really know i never tried myself.

                      1. re: gogoj

                        a nonstick roaster - by which I assume you mean Teflon - would not "release chemical stuff" at home oven temperatures.
                        I've had silicone melt in my dishwasher when it fell against the heating coil though. It smelled like hell. Wonder how bad those fumes were?

                        1. re: MakingSense

                          educate me if i'm wrong, MakingSense or not.
                          as far as i know, silicon is used in many industries because of its tolerance for heat
                          even if you burn silicone or heat silicone directly, it won't cause health issues. cause silicone is polymers that include silicon together with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and sometimes other chemical element. And carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are three of the four most common elements in any living organisms. and there should be NO smell when you burn silicone. Wonder where the bad fumes come from in your case.

                          1. re: gogoj

                            I'm not a scientist, and my report was purely anecdotal. There are different grades of silicone as there are for many products, and the ones used for common household products obviously don't have to be "industrial"-strength.
                            The label on my LeCreuset spatulas say not to use above 800 F, a temp not likely in home cooking. I have no idea what the rating is on the item that partially melted in my DW. It's not marked. It's still usable, although ugly.
                            It smelled horrible although I doubt that it was dangerous. Nobody got sick or died. Even carbon smells bad,

                        2. re: gogoj

                          the crux of the issue is the "crush" of the issue -- the pan is *designed* to collapse. as there is no vertical metallic structural rigidity, then the pan could inadvertently collapse when it is filled with food in the oven, or -- worse yet -- when one is pulling it out of the oven.

                          i am fine with silicone cupcake cups, and even a meatloaf pan (which -- while not collapsible -- still has to be handled via a sheet pan underneath) -- but a big, collapsible roaster -- even on a heavier sheet pan), no sirree bob. have you used *any* silicone cookware, gogoj? one has to be careful with anything that has height or bulk.

                          as to a couple of other matters, a roaster is not really a "non-stick" *must*. it's not like an egg skillet, where that's important.

                          and it's not long on the market? i'd be interested to see how long it remains on the market -- esp. after a couple of inevitable liability lawsuits.

                          and fashionableness is great -- so long as it doesn't compromise safety.

                          finally, you indicate that it collapses to less than 3". my roasting pan is not much more than 3 inches really -- maybe 4 1/2.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            Agree with you that a collapsible roasting pan sounds dangerous. You would think they thought that part of the problem through, but who wants to take a chance?

                            Personally, I try to avoid true "roasting pans" for roasting, because the sides are too high. I find that meats don't brown as well -- I think they need more room for air circulation. I use heavy duty sheet pans with a 1" (more or less) lip. Enough to contain juices (I'm not braising in them), and promotes great crust.

                            1. re: sbp

                              I haven't used the Foldtuk, but I did see it at the Chicago Kitchenware Tradeshow.
                              Its sturdier than it looks. The bottom is metal. Just the sides are silicone, and the weight of the roast should keep it from collapsing.

                              1. re: sbp

                                sbp, """You would think they thought that part of the problem through.""

                                ~ one would hope. i think glad's stand and zip bags were pulled from the market because of lawsuits. i loved them, and handled them wisely, as did many others -- but....then there was the other small percentage of the nation who didn't.

                              2. re: alkapal

                                sounds like the pan and cover together could be collapsed to 3". the steel frame should help hold a turkey without a problem.

                                1. re: gogoj

                                  this will be my last post on this matter, but the steel frame ain't gonna make a hill of beans difference regarding whether there is a catastrophic collapse in the oven, while full of turkey, juices, etc.

                                  but you go right ahead and get one. i'll stick to my stainless or graniteware. please be sure and let us know how it works out for you. ;-).