Grandma's Enamel Turkey Roasting Pan
My Experiments with Different Turkey Roasting Pans
There are numerous types of turkey roasting pans and in recent years it seems like most of the famous chefs recommend various expensive brands of open roasting pans. I admit I jumped on the bandwagon and for a few years experimented with roasting turkeys in open pans, but the turkey never seemed to turn out as good as it did with my old basic covered enamel roasting pan.
So a couple of years ago, I returned to making my Thanksgiving turkey in my old-fashioned, enamel Granite Ware roasting pan just like the ones my mother and grandmother used. Maybe my opinion is biased because the sight of my old turkey roaster brings back so many fond childhood memories of holiday meals, but I swear my old enamel, speckled, Granite Ware roasting pan makes the best tasting, perfectly browned, moist roast turkey.
Another reason it is still my favorite roasting pan is because it is so easy. Just put the bird on a rack inside the pan, put on the lid and put it in the oven at 325 degrees. The cover keeps the moisture inside, so no basting is required and it seems to produce plenty of flavorful drippings for that important home-made turkey gravy. In my experience the turkey is always done in less time compared to roasting in an open pan, too.
One of my adult sons who enjoys cooking has tried several expensive roasting pans to make the perfect turkey. Last year he commented that the turkeys roasted in my old roasting pan turn out better than the ones he's made in the open roasting pans, so he bought one for himself. Or maybe his opinion, too, is influenced by fond memories of Thanksgiving turkey dinner at Grandma's.
Granite Ware Roasting Pans
Granite Ware enamel roasting pans have been made in the USA since 1901 by Columbian Home Products in Terre Haute, Indiana. They are naturally non-stick and organic. Watch this video for more information about the company and their products.
A roasting rack is another handy item when making a turkey
Setting the turkey on a rack inside the roasting pan prevents the turkey from sticking to the bottom of the pan and helps hold the turkey together when it is time to take it out of the pan.
Although a rack isn't necessary, one that fits inside the pan is helpful for getting the turkey out of the pan.
How to get the turkey out of the pan?
Another challenge when making a turkey dinner, is getting a hot, heavy bird out of the roasting pan. A few years ago, I bought this pair of turkey lifter forks that made the job a lot easier.
Making lump free gravy
For many people the best part of a turkey dinner is the gravy! To make a smooth gravy that is free of lumps, mix cold water with flour or cornstarch and use a shaker to mix them together. This simple and inexpensive gravy mixing jar works like a charm.
A shaker like this is great for mixing flour or corn starch with water or broth to keep the turkey gravy smooth and free of lumps.
Turkey dinners, a holiday tradition
Whenever I use my enamel turkey roasting pan, I always remember the delicious holiday turkey dinners my grandmother and mother made. The top left photo is of my maternal grandmother holding my baby brother on her lap with me standing next to her on a Thanksgiving Day at her home. The top right photo is me eating a roast turkey leg at another holiday meal at Grandma's house. The bottom photo is of my mom and me in the 70s in her kitchen when we were cleaning up after a holiday turkey dinner. If you look closely, you can see the remains of the turkey to the right of us on the counter.