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Broilers vs. Roasting Pans

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Broiling pans and roasting pans both have specific uses. While there are many similarities between them, they each specialize in different areas. Roasting pans are normally used to prepare larger cuts of meat because of the deeper shape, which allows the meat to cook in its own juices. Broilers have a shallow, slotted base. The shallow sides of the broiler allow the food to cook more quickly while the slotted bottom of the broiler allows drippings to drain into a pan underneath.

Broiling and Roasting:

  1. Top to bottom: The main difference between these very similar types of cookware is the direction of the heat source in the oven. A broiling pan's main use is to cook food under extremely high temperatures, with the heat directed from the top of the oven. Roasters are also designed for high temperatures but with the heat rising from the bottom of the oven instead of the top.

  2. Over and under: Broilers have two separate pieces: a deep solid lower pan called a drip pan and a slotted upper pan. A roasting pan can be a single deep pan or a deep pan with a lid. Some roasters come with a metal rack inside for elevating meat. Both roasting pans and broiling pans can be made out of the same materials. The most commonly used materials are stainless steel and hard-anodized aluminum. Other materials that are commonly used are enameled steel, enameled cast iron, aluminum, and copper; some pans have nonstick finishes. Disposable pans made of aluminum foil are also available.

  3. In and out: Both broiler pans and roasting pans are used for cooking meat, seafood, poultry, and vegetables. Broiling pans allow easy access for marinating and glazing food while extracting excess fat. A broiler's drip pan allows juices to flow away from the meat and traps the liquid, storing it for later use or disposal. Roasting pans work well for many chicken and beef dishes that need to baste in their own juices to prevent drying out. While not exactly a low calorie cooking method, slow cooking large cuts of meat in a roasting pan keeps the meat tender and juicy.

  4. Large and small: Roasting pans and broiling pans both come in different varieties. Small, round roasting pans can accommodate a small pork roast or chicken, while large oval varieties can accommodate a large turkey or ham. While all broiling pans are shallow, some may come in extremely shallow styles.

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Updated March 17, 2015