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steel vs cast iron roasting pan

mikemac_99's picture

I read the Oct/Nove 2006 issue of Fine Cooking and they recommend 4 stainless steel roasting pans. With the cooler weather I'm going to want to use a roasting pan to make roast chicken and other things.

I'm a relatively novice at cooking, and I have a heavy Le Creuset porcelain-covered roasting pan with rack. I was planning on using this, but after reading the article I was wondering if it is best for roasting.

What difference would I see if I got a stainless steel roasting pan and used that instead of the cast-iron pan?

Heather's picture

(post #55377, reply #1 of 28)

Cast iron is great for small roasting pans but most people couldn't lift a big one with a turkey in it.

madnoodle's picture

(post #55377, reply #3 of 28)

That was my first thought.  I can barely lift my cast iron frying pan--even empty, a roaster would be beyond me.


Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

 

Glenys's picture

(post #55377, reply #6 of 28)

You need to work out more. Every girl from or on the prairies should be able to lift twenty pounds.

Philter's picture

(post #55377, reply #7 of 28)

...in each hand, while haying!


 


"If 'tis to be,'twil be done by me."

"If 'tis to be,'twil be done by me."

Glenys's picture

(post #55377, reply #8 of 28)

Haying, we're turning over stubble now! Unless of course one waxes.

madnoodle's picture

(post #55377, reply #11 of 28)

Hey, I'm a prairie CITY girl.  But yeah, I have the upper-body strength of a 6-year-old.


Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

 

Glenys's picture

(post #55377, reply #18 of 28)

Bad, bad, bad. We don't want you getting a dowager's hump or osteoporosis.

madnoodle's picture

(post #55377, reply #28 of 28)

You've been talking to my mother again, haven't you?

Saskatchewan:  our mountain-removal project is nearly complete.

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

 

Glenys's picture

(post #55377, reply #5 of 28)

The standard Creuset rectangular roaster that's been around for decades, as with me and mine, holds a twenty pound turkey and it's still a favourite with me. No buckling, no burning, it just does it's job.
Edited to say it weighs under nine pounds and just to be sure it's 16X9X3".


Edited 10/11/2006 12:57 am by Glenys

Heather's picture

(post #55377, reply #9 of 28)

I have a bad back and lifting over 30 pounds of pan and bird in and out of the oven just doesn't work for me. I'm glad you are in such good shape!

Glenys's picture

(post #55377, reply #10 of 28)

After lifting a 20lb bird in a diposable aluminum pan this weekend, anything a bit heavier but stable would be easy-peasy.
I've never been any sort of fitness type like Sally, but at fifty plus I'm not a weakling. Having worked with cattle, horses and in the food industry, I often wonder what injuries people encounter in their lives that causes injury.

Heather's picture

(post #55377, reply #12 of 28)

I can tell you exactly what caused the beginning of my back trouble--nothing so obvious as tossing hay bales--my mother came to visit about 10 years ago with a really heavy suitcase with a broken pull handle so I had to bend over, grab the regular handle, and roll it that way all the way out to the car. Two days later I was at a surprise birthday party where the host made us stand in the darkened marble foyer of her house for about 30 minutes waiting for the surprisee. When I got home I had a huge back spasm, fell to the floor and that was it for the back. I had about 6 months of recuperation. Not a very exciting injury, but it's never been the same since.
So I don't mess around with getting heavy, awkward items in and out of difficult places. It just isn't worth it.

Gretchen's picture

(post #55377, reply #14 of 28)

Do some isometric back exercises.


I occasionally have it happen to me--it is positional and absolutely unpredictable. Usually something of the caliber of leaning over so slightly to brush my teeth or pet a dog. Sends me straight to the floor!


Gretchen
Gretchen
Heather's picture

(post #55377, reply #16 of 28)

I take a ballet barre class which helps a lot with strengthening my center as well as keeping my balance tuned up. I'll have to look into isometrics. Backs are so darned tricky--and a back-attack can really ruin your day (month).

mark_k's picture

(post #55377, reply #2 of 28)

I would concur with the weight issue. Plus, you wouldn't want to be running your whisk on that cast iron when making the pan sauce.

I do use my cast iron for nice slow braises, where i need even and constant heat.

Glenys's picture

(post #55377, reply #4 of 28)

Why not whisk in cast iron? The wires on quality whisks are stainless "piano wire", they won't scratch or rub off on the surface. Not understanding the cause and effect on that one.

jaq's picture

(post #55377, reply #13 of 28)

In a related question- I don't have a roasting rack.  My chicken seems to turn out just fine without one, but am I missing out by not having one?

Gretchen's picture

(post #55377, reply #15 of 28)

I don't use a rack for turkey for example. I sometimes do for chicken but my "roaster" is just a 9X13 roasting pan--or a larger 14X20 for the turkey.  I like what it does to the bottom skin!

Gretchen

Gretchen
jaq's picture

(post #55377, reply #17 of 28)

I love crispy skin!  What about for, say a boneless leg of lamb?

Glenys's picture

(post #55377, reply #19 of 28)

It's not really pros or cons with rack use, but rather results with different cuts. I like "true" roasting, with air circulating around a boned leg of lamb, giving all sides a crispy finish. For a bone in gigot, I still prefer a rack because it evens out the roasting results. With prime rib or a bone in cured ham, it elevates the meat so that it doesn't sit in its rendered fat while roasting.
I agree, a little chicken doesn't need a rack and in fact if I'm not spatcocking to save time, I'll roast a four pound bird in a 10" skillet; the perfect size roaster. Gretchen likes her turkey in "contact mode" but I prefer a rack so that the juices gather but it's not sitting in the juices. Either works.

jaq's picture

(post #55377, reply #21 of 28)

Thank you!  That helps and gives me something to think about.

Glenys's picture

(post #55377, reply #23 of 28)

Many new oven come with a pan and rack assembly just for roasting. It's not the old broiler pan with holes, but an oven rack that slides over a pan to catch the drippings. The recognise that the pan has to work with the oven for optimum results. Not all cookware companies are grasping that so far.

Adele's picture

(post #55377, reply #25 of 28)

but an oven rack that slides over a pan to catch the drippings.


I have one of the new ones, though it's little like my oven.  Took me a broken nail before I realized it slid.  LOL


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

Frankie's picture

(post #55377, reply #20 of 28)

I think a nice rack is important. It's not about size. It's about function. The adjustable ones are useful and can hold roasts of a variety of types and sizes.

Then there are the fixed size units which can hold UPTO a particular size. Thes are good for stability, ease of cleaning and they don't have parts to loose.

Either type of rack holds the roast away from the pan allowing the skin of the roast to brown (crispy) rather than boil and allow the juices and fat to create the nice brown bits in the bottom of the pan. It also makes more room in the pan for potatoes and vegetables.

Frankie


One creates these beautiful dishes. Then people destroy them with their teeth. You might like to take a photograph of your own grilled sole with samphire. It won't be as good as mine but it will be something.

Richard E. Grant as Simon Marchmont - Posh Nosh


Flay your Suffolk bought-this-morning sole with organic hand-cracked pepper and blasted salt. Thrill each side for four minutes at torchmark haut. Interrogate a lemon. Embarrass any tough roots from the samphire. Then bamboozle till it's al dente with that certain je ne sais quoi.

Arabella Weir as Minty Marchmont - Posh Nosh


Glenys's picture

(post #55377, reply #22 of 28)

I bought a roast rack a few years ago, don't know the brand, but it's made from the same gauge of steel rod (same finish) as heavy duty oven racks. It adjusts, goes in the dishwasher, reverses, handles that can be folded away or not. It's amazing. Wished I had a couple more.

TracyK's picture

(post #55377, reply #24 of 28)

I think a nice rack is important. It's not about size. It's about function.


Heh. *slinks off to the corner*


CT poster in bad standing since 2000.

Glenys's picture

(post #55377, reply #26 of 28)

Ah, but for the innocent......

Philter's picture

(post #55377, reply #27 of 28)

...it's the "adjustable rack" that intrigues me!


Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....


 


"If 'tis to be,'twil be done by me."

"If 'tis to be,'twil be done by me."