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Mar 1, 2013 01:57 PM

Roasting pan moat

I am curious. why is there a "moat" i.e., a 1" ditch around the perimeter on the inside of a roasting pan? I like my roasting pans to be flat on the inside. totally flat. But it seems that every one I order has this "ditch." why? It's horrible for making gravy at the end, and as far as I can tell serves virtually no purpose whatsoever.

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  1. I agree. Let's start a protest!

    I think they are trying to make it look like there is a built-in rack for dry roasting. This is silly, because clearly if your meating needs to be on a rack, it would have to be much higher than those silly bumps.

    1. It is meant to hold or retain the residual fat as it cooks off the meat as it roasts. Like water, it runs downhill to the moat.

      Old skool or seasoned cooks use a rack or some type of elevated plate with drain holes to keep the meat from the pooled fat in the bottom of the pan if they feel the need.

      Some designer thought it would be neat to keep that to the edges.

      Thus why, like any tool, including a table saw, that you buy should work for you and not assume that they are all the same design.

      Thus why I mainly buy at rerstaurant supply houses. High quality, simple, and waaay cheaper than Willaims Sonoma.

      1. I am not sure if there is truly a moat (something I have never seen in a roasting pan) or if you are seeing the migration of hot oil to the edge of the pan. I read Harold McGee's explanation of why this happens but don't remember it. You know how when you are heating a frying pan/skillet with a little bit of oil, there's a dry area in the center, with the oil retreating to the perimeter as it heats up? The pan does not have a convex bottom, nor is its contour changing as it heats up. Chemistry and physics do have a name for the migration of the oil.

        If there actually is a high spot in the center of the roasting pan, it would be to keep the contents elevated above the liquid so the bottom browns rather than poaches in the juices/liquids that accumulate in the pan.

        2 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          With all due respect...that is why we have racks!!!!

          I can understand this now and then, but if you look at the comments RE roasting pans on all the websites, you will see a rather good number asking about FLAT BOTTOMS. Are the makers obtuse, or trying to start a new cooking trend? FYI, some of the higher end ones DO have a totally flat bottom.

          1. It may be a moat or a ridge, it is to prevent the pan from warping or twisting.

            If you want a flat roasting pan, they are available; they are thicker, heavier, and are more expensive.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Alan408

              Aaaah! That's what it is. I have two inexpensive roasting pans that I use for roasting in my gas grill, and they have the ridge. My very expensive French one does not. Thanks for clearing that up. I will stop shopping for a cheap one without the ridge.