Exactly What is a Roasting Pan For (or at least what do you use yours for beside your annual feast)?
There has been a lot of Roasting Pan talk here the last few days, and it all happens to coincide with me returning my warped All-Clad Roaster to the retailer. I do have various glass, ceramic, and stoneware dishes that I can roast in, several jelly roll pans, and an assortment of skillets and frying pans. However, my impulse is to replace my roasting pan with another, but why? Nostalgia? Presentation as the annual big bird comes out of the oven? Just because I couldn't possibly care about cooking and not own a proper roasting pan? I rather wonder if a single large (or an assortment) of oval au gratins might make more sense. Help me out here. Why do you have and use a roasting pan instead of using other pans in your arsenal, and what do you use it for other than the occasional large bird? I hope this doesn't sound inane, but I am questioning the necessity of a traditional roaster altogether, so I'd like to know.
We have two but they are wobbly and don't conduct heat well...but if they DID, then I would use them when I wanted to put the pan on the stove to either deglaze it or sear it first (like two really big briskets. Which I tried once, and that is how I found out that they don't conduct heat well.)
I like to make a couple of big turkeys a year, even if only for us. To get great gravy, you have to have the right roasting pan....something that can go directly on the burner. Plus there has to be enough air around the bird to get it to cook right. I've been cooking long enough that the couple I've owned have paid for themselves, at least in my mind. When not in use in the winter, they make great holders to start my seed containers in the spring/early summer.
We own 3 roasting pans: A small oval (speckled enamel) roaster that gets used throughout the year when we roast a chicken, pork roast, or roast beef for just ourselves -- in winter months we probably use it at least 2/month. A larger, rectangular Corningware French white roaster, for larger roasts, 2 chickens, or a smallish turkey (up to about 12-14 pounds) -- it also works well for lasagna.. And, a very large, rectangular roasting pan, for large turkeys (18-22) pounds, which we use at most 1/year, when we are hosting a large Thanksgiving dinner (which we did every year for about 25 years). We have a large kitchen with lots of cabinet space, some of which is more accessible than others. The large turkey roaster is on the top shelf of a cabinet above the fridge that can only be reached by stepstool -- i.e., the perfect place for items that are used very infrequently.
I use mine for roasts and turkeys...but also when I make a mega-size baytch of "chex-mix"..and with a rack inside, I use it to slow cure-cook my home-made bacon ( I make 3-5 lbs at a time)
Like everyone so far, our large roasting pan comes out about twice a year to roast a large fowl. I think that's the only time it gets used lately. We had cooked briskets in it in the past, but a new smoker took that out of play, same for pork butts and it's too large for anything else. However, if you only need it once a year, you need it.