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Help with buying roasting pan - moved from Home Cooking board

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Hi, I have never had a real roasting pan... I tend to cook things on top of the stove or bake fish and chicken pieces in a corningware pan but now I finally need a roasting pan for real. My main uses for it will be roasting root veggies and roasting a whole chicken or a roast beef for entertaining a crowd.
My biggest question is if I should go with non-stick or not. Non-stick may be good for roasting veggies but then for meats, would a regular pan be better for making the gravy (getting a good fond) on top of the stove? I don't really want to buy 2 pans.......
I have $50 gift certificate for Williams-Sonoma so would chip in significantly to get something of very good quality.
Thanks so much!!

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  1. Stainless steel with an aluminum core is your best choice by far. America's Test Kitchen's highest ratest was the Calphalon for $129, but the Cuisinart at $80 and the Kitchen Aid at $50 were also recommended. Don't get non stick, don't get dark.

    1. The biggest problem I have with non-stick roasters is that they never seem to get really clean. Something about fats bonding to plastics, as I learned on Good Eats the other night. One of our roasting pans in stainless, and I find that I reach for it more than any other of our roasters. However, there are so many pans that can double as a roaster that I think you have a very wide choice. For example, I have a Mario Batali lasagna pan that is enamel covered cast iron, and I have used that as a roasting pan. Likewise, a pyrex pan can also be used as a roaster. For roasting vegetable, I prefer a utility sheet pan since the sides are lower and it allows the veetables to caramelize more easily. Those are extremely inexpensive at a kitchen supply store, and IMO, indespensible in the kitchen. But duck the teflon.

      1. DO NOT buy a non-stick roasting pan. It's a waste of money. Buy stainless, and I agree with bnemes3343, the Calphalon pan is the best bang for your buck.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Squirrels

          I agree that stainless with an aluminum core is the way to go, no, no, no to nonstick! As you note, you want the fond, yes indeed!

          Buy the best quality you can afford. I needed to upgrade my roasting pan to a super large size and avoided the All-Clad because of the $200 cost. I bought something that was horrid -- too thin and dark. I then had to buy another pan.

          If you're roasting a small amount of veg, the all clad saute pan (well actually fry pan -- the one w/ sloping sides) works great.

          1. re: NYchowcook

            AFAIK the All-Clad roaster does not have an aluminum core

            The KitchenAid 5 ply does

            In any event I use a 1/2 sheet pan for roasting veggies and a cast iron skillet for roasting chicken

        2. I want a roaster with a flat rack. Any suggestions?

          1. I have both - a very big non-stick and two stainless, plus a bunch of cheap metal things. In general I go for the stainless.

            I use the non-stick when I am going to be 'steam-roasting' something. That's my phrase so I had better explain. If I am cooking a large turkey I will put two inches of water in the pan then a baking rack on top of that with the bird above. The juices drip into the pan making your stock and clean up is a breeze. No fond though. The other advantage of this way is that it cooks a lot quicker. The steam stops things from drying out and the specific heat of the humid air transfers a lot more heat at the same temperature. (cf. adding water to the rocks in a sauna). It reduces cooking time by at least a third. When combined with a meat thermometer it is pretty hard to screw up your piece of poultry.

            I am an oft advocate of cooking the roast out of the pan onto a rack. So make sure you can get a heavy stainless steel rack that fits snugly inside the pan.

            1. There has never been a stuck on residue that did not come off a stainless steel roasting pan in my kitchen after letting it soak a little while filled with soapy water. A green scrubby sponge is usually enough, but the worst stuff may require Brillo. Brillo is not really needed unless there is a lot of burned-on, sugary drippings.

              I'd go with stainless steel so that you can put the pan over a burner to make pan gravy one day. I do not know how a non-stick will work. Also, you may want to turn your broiler on in some cases, for example, if you are trying to brown the skin of a chicken, and the extremely high heat of the broiler is not good with most non-stick pans because it exceeds the recommended maximum temperature. If I had to choose one, go with stainless steel. You can always line with foil if you are afraid of scrubbing or soaking.

              BTW, two of my favorite roasting pans are former restaurant hand-me-downs that must be nearly fifty years old. They look great, all things considered (you have to ignore some of the dings with things this old). They are both heavy gauge stainless steel. No way a non-stick would have survived this kind of hazard duty.