Roasting Pans

Written by Charles Peacock
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Roasting pans are a necessity for any serious chef. If you want to cook large pieces of meat or whole birds for the family or a group of friends, there is no better way to do it than in a good roasting pan. Ham, leg of lamb, turkey, goose, and chicken can all be cooked to perfection in these useful pans.

How Roasting Pans Work

Any good roasting pan is made from a single piece of forged, high-grade, conductive metal or metal compound. This allows the heat from the oven to distribute evenly around the pan, cooking from the bottom and the sides. Roasting pans typically have sides that are raised up a few inches, which allows heat to be reflected inward towards the piece of meat.

The size of your roasting pan is important, because you want to be able to collect juices in addition to properly roasting your meat. If your pan is too small, the juices will collect around the bottom of the piece of meat and will cause the bottom to be soft. A good amount of space around the outside of the meat allows the juices to escape into the pan, where they can be collected later for basting or for making into gravy.

Roasting pans typically have two handles--one on each side. While it's nearly impossible to create handles that won't conduct heat at all, many good pans have handles made of materials that will stay cooler than the rest of the pan. This allows you to pick up the pan (using pot holders, of course) without having to worry about singeing your skin.

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