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Dec 28, 2010 09:02 AM

Cookware for cooking meat for a crowd?

We have 4 kids and about once a month have weekend guests, which will bring our dinner total up to 7 - 9. (Kids are all 12 and under, so don't eat a ton. I have 3 boys, so that WILL change!!!) We eat a lot of chicken breasts, pork tenderloin, and pork chops. A lot of my recipes call for browning on stove top and finishing in the oven. I need to find a good way to cook 6 chicken breasts or 4 pork tenderloins or 6 pork chops. My 12" All Clad fry pan just doesn't hold enough.

I have a LOT of Christmas money to spend, so I can get more than one item. I like my All Clad SS so am probably going to stick with it. Cast iron is not an option due to neurological issues and muscle weakness I have. I have a gas stove with 8" burners. One of them has a 4" diameter where the gas comes out (don't know the correct nameā€¦), so it can take bigger pans.

I've been researching a lot, and I'm assuming I need something with sloped sides for the stovetop since I'm browning flat foods? I had thought of a 14" fry pan, but I don't know if it would fit into my stove. I'm also considering a 13" brasier with sloped, 2.25" tall sides, but not sure it'd hold enough. Or on the HUGE end, a 16" paella pan - not sure if it's the right pan for my needs, though. OR should I just buy another 12" fry pan?

I do have a 16" x 11" roasting pan I'm going to try in place of the 13x9 glass baking dish + square baking dish I sometimes use in the oven for chicken. If you have a better Idea, I'm open to suggestions.

I'm already planning on getting an 8qt All Clad stockpot/dutch oven. I have a 4qt sauce pan, 12" skillet/fry pan, the roaster, a double griddle, and nonstick skillets. I you have any suggestions on how else to pend my money, I'm all ears! LOL! (OK, I do have a 7.25qt LC dutch oven, but I never use it as it's too heavy.)

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  1. This:

    But you might want to seriously talk to a kitchen designer, as a new stovetop to fit your larger pans might be needed.

    1. sreese: A few ideas:

      (1) A large--like 14"--commercial aluminum shallow braiser pan. Try Vollrath.

      (2) A large outdoor grille/BBQ w/ a rotisserie and a plate griddle.

      (3) A much larger stocker/DO. 8Q is pretty small cooking for 9. 14-18Q

      (4) A new La Cornue range (You did say you have a LOT to spend).

      1. Thanks for the great suggestions! I'm looking into them. We will do a kitchen remodel in the next 1 - 3 years, and I plan on a bigger stove. I may even get one before we remodel since I have space for it, but I'm not really even planning for it yet. It's more just an idea in the back of my head at this point.

        1. Not to nit-pick but we cook for a much larger group with some regularity so 7-9 doesn't really seem like a "crowd." If I'm browning I'll do it in batches or outside on the grill. I do have an oversized skillet which will easily handle 6 chicken breasts but even then we rarely ever cook just 6. Doesn't seen to be all that burdensome to brown 2 batches. But that's just me. No grill access? That's always the easiest and we keep ours just steps outside the door so it's very easy access to the kitchen (even when I have to clear a foot of snow off the cover to open the lid).

          1. Use your 16x11 roaster across two burners to cook/fry anything you'd use a skillet for. That size would easily handle the quantities you mentioned above; then like ferret said, cooking in batches also works well - just save the juices to add back in. Other than that, All-Clad makes a 16 3/4" x 13 3/4" x 2 1/2" high overall roaster. I have it and I *know* that would suit your need. If you need a lid, a cookie sheet or heavy duty aluminum foil easily serves that purpose.

            For roasting, frying and braising, with improvisation, it seems like you have what you need for your immediate family (even when they are "bigger") without spending a lot of money for "company cookware".

            Put the money in your "remodel the kitchen slush fund" or if you don't already have one, as others mentioned, buy a grill - you can grill, roast, lightly smoke, use as a heated holding area during the holidays.......