November 22, 2007


Nice Rack: Which roasting pan is best for your Thanksgiving turkey? (Jonathan Kauffman, Nov. 17, 2006, Slate)

A flimsy disposable pan is a danger to you, your oven, and your main course. You need something sturdy enough to go from oven to stovetop, so you can make gravies and sauces, but there's no reason, beyond conspicuous consumption, to invest $450 on French copper. In the interest of offering you one sure piece of advice for your Thanksgiving meal, I tested six roasting pans, priced from $9.99 to $274.95. [...]

Calphalon One Infused Anodized Nonstick

Price: $149.99

The dark-gray Calphalon One line is appealing in its sleek functionality. Though sturdy, the pan isn't too heavy to work with, and the bolted-on handles are the best designed of the lot, flaring out perfectly so that I never butted my knuckles up against the pan's contents. The inside surface, which feels like sandpaper, is apparently "four-layer interlocking nonstick coating" involving "advanced release polymers." Food washes away from the surface with a few wipes, yet it's tacky enough to keep the pan's U-shaped, nonstick roasting rack from slipping around. Circulon, take note!

Both pork and turkey juices crystallized on the bottom of the pan without blackening, becoming darker and more flavorful, in fact, than in the ultra-thick Viking model. When I brought the Calphalon to the stovetop, it took but a few seconds of pushing the browned bits around to incorporate them. My only complaint: the rack. Though the skin of the turkey remained intact when it roasted breast-side down, when I turned the beast breast-side up, thick lines were embedded in it. That said, the marks weren't much worse than those produced by others; the problem seems endemic to the roast-flip-roast method of cooking heavy chunks of flesh. Overall, the turkey emerged from the oven a gorgeous, even brown, with juicy white meat.

Pick or Pan: My vote goes to the Calphalon One for good design, great results, and ease of cleanup. Though I'm now turkeyed out this year (my family has agreed to try guinea fowl on the big day), I've already found myself plotting meals around the pan. Isn't that what good cookware is for?

(originally posted: 11/23/06)

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 22, 2007 12:00 AM

Um, you may want to review the size of this before you purchase it expecting to put that 20 pounder in it.

If this is the dark anodized, I will say I am not a fan. I much prefer the stainless where you can actually see what is on the bottom of the pan better. My recco would be patient and wait for a good All-Clad sale or search out seconds, which generally have only superficial damage and can be had at a substantial savings.

Finally, pay particular attention to the handles which generally either go straight up or out to the side. The ones with straight up handles are harder to use but allow more space around the roaster. The ones with handles out to the side are easier to use but can have an impact on how large of roaster you can fit in the oven. Don't ask me how I found this out.

Posted by: Rick T. at November 21, 2006 8:35 AM

Cheapo throwaway aluminum pan w/handles on the side, gravy is fine, thank you.

Posted by: Sandy P at November 21, 2006 11:03 AM

Alton Brown advises cooking turkeys in the 12-15 pound range because larger birds aren't as tasty. I've found that to be true as well.

The throw-away roasters are not only convenient and disposable, but much lighter and easier to put in and out of the oven than the attractive roasters in the article. The gender with the superior upper body strength isn't always available to do the heavy lifting when required.

Posted by: erp at November 21, 2006 12:47 PM

I have used the disposable trays (with a cookie sheet underneath) myself at times and they have some merit. But you don't get many of the delicious brown bits on the bottom due to the lightweight nature of the pan. What're there are a PITA to get at with all the ridges on the pan bottom.

Posted by: Rick T. at November 21, 2006 1:14 PM

Rick, just pour a little dry white wine or hot broth or even water in the bottom of the pan and the bits will loosen up.

Posted by: erp at November 21, 2006 6:19 PM