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Nov 16, 2007 07:19 AM

What's the best roaster pan?

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.

              The sale does not show up online, but they had a large stack of them at the store entrance when I was there yesterday.