Holiday Roasting Tips

Posted by Chef on 8/12/2011 to Cooking Tips
"People tend to only pull out the roasting pan on the holidays for dishes like Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham and they are always best roasted."

Roasting Steps
Always preheat the oven, you want to start cooking at the correct temperature.

The Most important part of roasting dinners is getting the golden brown crispy crust, while keeping the meat moist. You can do this when cooking with high heat. Most cooks will roast at over 400°F from start to finish this helps insures all around browning, To increase the overall browning of meals try using oil first. Then heat the pan for 5 min before adding the meat and vegetables.

The trick to perfect roasting is cooking all sides evenly. Air must be allowed to flow all around the pan. Center the roasting pan in the middle of the oven keeping the same amount of space between the top of the pan and the bottom as well as the sides. As the meal cooks try turning the meat at least one time in the pan to prevent burning. Vegetables may be stirred throughout the process. Always check temperature of the meat or poultry.

Slow roasting is best achieved with an electric roasting pan. Much like how a slow cooker would work. You can slow roast your meals for tender juicy meats. Having a rack to hold the meat or poultry above the juice will allow proper browning underneath and make serving easier. Any pan with handles is also a plus for heavy meals.

Pan Types
The best pans for roasting are high heat conductive copper, stainless steel, cast iron, aluminum, carbon steel, porcelain, and enamel on steel. Copper roasting pans if cared for will last a lifetime. Ceramic or Clay pans are also great for roasting and making large casserole dishes.

Using a covered roasting pan will seal in the flavor of meats and helps keep juices from overflowing.

Pan Size
You should always start with the correct sized roasting pan for the job. There should be no more than an inch of space from the inside pan edge to the food. If the roasting pan is too large your meal will cook unevenly leaving meats burnt and dry and juices in the pan will burn. If the roasting pan is too small your meal will steam instead of roasting, and uneven browning will occur as well as spillage into the oven.

Using an open roasting pan is very popular. You can also use it as a serving pan or tray for large cakes and desserts.