Best roasting pan.
After a tragic, spontaneous Pyrex explosion in the oven on New Year's Day, and my Husband nearly requiring stitches from the aftermath, I'm looking for a new roasting pan.
I have a good-size oven, and would like to be able to use it at high-temperatures (500F). Would stainless be my best bet? I'd rather avoid any possible health risks from aluminum. Am I missing much if I rule out glass altogether?
As far as aesthetics go, something multi-purpose would be my best bet. Something I can use for potatoes, vegetables, tofu, etc. It doesn't need to be lasagna-dish shaped, if another shape would do the job better.
Oh, and I'd like to keep it under $50, unless your argument is really convincing.
I purchased the Calphalon tri-ply stainless roaster just over a year ago and have been very pleased with it's performance both in the oven and on top of the stove. Don't love the handles, but I'm getting used to them. Cleans up nicely. It's a generous size so it's great for braising ribs, etc.
Could you be more specific about the spontaneous Pyrex explosion? How hot was the oven? What sort of pyrex? This sounds alarming.
For roasting veggies, I'd use a good jelly roll pan, for lasagne I'd use a rectangular cake pan or lasagne pan, for a roast chicken I'd use an enamel chicken roaster. I don't think glass is as good a heat conductor, as is metal. Aluminum is not a health hazard, but if you want easy cleanup then I'd get stainless.
It was a blue, translucent, oblong Pyrex baking dish in an oven of 350F or maybe 400F, with room temperature ingredients inside. It wasn't going freezer to oven or anything. It wasn't even in the oven very long -- I can't imagine it being much more than 15 minutes.
It wasn't a brand new pan, so I'm assuming it must've had some sort of very fine crack that no one noticed that caused the explosion. About a week beforehand, it was stored in the fridge for a few days after being baked, but it had been cooling at room temperature for a few hours beforehand. I'm really at a loss for a good explanation.
Another vote for Calphalon tri-ply SS for a roasting a turkey and relatively big roast.
I actually like handles as the space in the arm is bigger than other roasting pans. As Loninator mentioned already, cleaning is very easy. I think this pan has got a better review than the older version (straight side one, not with flare ) of All-Clad by America's Test Kitchen.
The price tag might be higher than $50, though. I see the prices at online shops are around $110-130. I got mine last year for $75 at Macy's and to me it is worth the money, but I am not sure if I would want to pay more than $100 for a roasting pan.
Other roasting pan I would consider is, Sur La Table SS and Le Creuset SS (They have just rolled out this product last winter), both of them are more than $50 and close to $100, though.
Oh, last note: Calphalon, Sur La Table, and Le Creuset, I guess all of them are made in China. Just for your info.
A glass pan can explode if there is a tiny crack or if a hot pan is placed on a cold surface.
Among the large triply or clad pans the best deal is probably Sur la table, often on sale for a hundred bucks. They sell a smaller version also, but the big one will hold that T-day turkey.
The explanation for the "explosion" is that the dish is made of tempered glass, which contains internal stresses. This material is used deliberately for this property, because the many small fragments of breakage are safer than the large, razor sharp shards which result from breakage of other glasses. It is the same reason that this glass is used in automobile windows.
The downside is that a small defect in the material can propagate through the dish rapidly, causing it to "explode." The defect doesn't have to be a visible crack. A tiny scratch or nick, combined with the stress of ordinary temperature changes encountered in cooking (not sudden thermal shock), can lead to failure. It is important to avoid using abrasives to clean glass cookware, to avoid scratching or nicking them, and to discard them if they contain any noticeable defect.
Here's an inexpensive carbon steel roaster:
The handles are aluminum, but that shouldn't matter. The rack is also aluminum, but you can easily replace it with a SS rack. I don't like the nonstick lining, however. I have a plain steel de Buyer roasting pan, but it's expensive and hard to find.
Then there's all SS, which can be had within your price limit:
Love my old enamel that I bought used from Denio's in Roseville Ca. May love it mostly due to how it looks, old yet functional. This is exactly like mine. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vtg-Savory-Lt... Have a yellow LeCreuset one like this that I do like, but it's very heavy of course. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Le-Cr... One I don't use much but is pretty, uh........is this one. http://www.ebay.com/itm/PAMPERED-CHEF... Also have pyrex like most others do, they're fine and do their job no question plus the price is always right. Thinking that may be your best bet. Bought this last one years ago and couldn't resist- it's Copper, it's gorgeous and I have used it a lot. Very special but very pricey. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Korea-Copper-...
I didn't buy any of these online or at ebay, but the photos posted are just to show you what I'm speaking of, visual if you will.
IMO, the "best" roaster is not consistent with your other requirements. Which is most important, not aluminum, sized for a large oven, 500F, or <$50? If "best" means fitting within your other stated limitations, an enameled steel pan might be your only choice.
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