What You Should Know About Roaster Ovens
There are so many different kinds of appliances and implements that you can use while you are cooking, and each one is used for a different kind of meal. From roasting to frying, you will find that each cooking type makes use of tools that are optimized for use in particular situations, which means that you will need a pretty varied kitchen.
While some types of cookware can be used for multiple types of cooking, you will find that most of them tend to make the best meals when they are utilized for the kind of cooking for which they are made. For example, while you can certainly use some types of pans in the oven, you will find that they are usually meant for the stovetop.
Today, we are going to be taking a look at roaster ovens, which are not more powerful versions of toaster ovens, as the name would suggest to the uninitiated. We are going to be taking a look at what exactly constitutes a roaster oven soon enough, but first, let’s take a look at some background info that should help you better understand this article.
What Is Roasting?
Roasting is a method of cooking that makes use of hot air to cook your food. In a standard convection oven, you will typically have to raise the heat level to around 300 degrees Fahrenheit to get the air to conduct a sufficient amount of heat. This is opposed to other cooking methods which use direct heat.
Originally, roasting a portion of food consisted of cooking it over an open flame, but as cooking techniques have evolved, you will find that it now often uses elements to create the heat. This does not mean that you can no longer roast food over an open fire, as it is still common enough in certain places.
To give you an example, you will find that you can roast food over an open fire when you are camping, like s’mores and frankfurters. There is also spit roasting, in which meats or animal carcasses are suspended over an open fire on a spit, which is essentially a rotating rod onto which the animal or meat is mounted.
What Is An Element?
Elements are often made of metals which are highly heat conductive but have high enough melting points to retain their structure.
For example, the elements that you will find in your oven are typically made of copper or other metals which can conduct enough thermal energy. The way that elements heat up is by running an electric current through them. Since the resistance of the metals which are used is too high to result in them becoming electrified, their temperature will start to rise.
Even though the resistance of your flesh usually means that you will not be electrocuted if you touch an element, there are still precautions taken in case of a malfunction. For example, in between the two layers of metal in an element, there is a ceramic section which ensures that electricity does not pass through the layers.
You will find that elements are excellent when it comes to transmitting heat into the surrounding air, but they are not the best for use in direct heating applications for this very reason. Since they lose so much of their energy to the surrounding environment, you will find that induction cooktops are a better choice for direct heating.
Roasting Vs. Other Types Of Cooking
In this section, we are going to compare roasting to other forms of cooking by seeing their pros and cons but also by simply comparing the techniques and how exactly they cook food. We have already discussed how roasting consists of surrounding your food with dry, heated air, but what about other cooking methods?
Roasting Vs. Baking
Roasting is most often compared to baking, since both of these cooking methods make use of dry heat and similar cooking implements, such as ovens. The difference between roasting and baking depends more so on the food which is being cooked instead of the method itself.
When roasting food, you will find that it usually features a solid form before cooking, so you can place it directly on a rack without having to worry about it falling through. This is why roasting ovens are so named, because you will usually be unable to bake food in them, but you can still use them for roasting.
To give you an example, you can roast foods like chickens and pork roasts since they already have integrity before being cooked. On the other hand, you will find that foods like cakes and muffins will be baked because they only turn into solids after being cooked, as they are in a doughy or batter form before cooking.
Aside from this aspect, there is no large difference between baking and roasting, but most baked foods are cooked at lower temperatures, which makes for a slower cooking process.
There are two main types of frying, and this is the first. Pan frying is a cooking method which makes use of direct heat. The cooking surface, which is often a pan, will have to be coated with a layer of fat, such as butter or oil, and then heated up. This makes for a delicious cooking method, but there are also some drawbacks.
Pan frying can be a little more dangerous than some other methods for cooking since hot oil can splash out of the pan as it pops and sizzles. You must also keep in mind that pan frying is often less healthy than roasting or baking because the fattening oil or butter ends up cooked into the food.
Pan frying is also a straightforward method of cooking as you will usually be able to see whether or not the food is ready. All you will have to do is ensure that you flip your food often enough, if applicable. Unfortunately, unlike other forms of cooking, you will find that you have to pay attention when you are frying food.
Leaving food which is frying unattended is an easy way to ensure that your house burns down, so keep your eyes on whatever it is that is being fried up. Most recipes which involve frying will not end up taking too long, however, as frying often accompanies higher temperatures.
Deep frying differs from pan frying in the amount of oil which you use to cook. While you may end up using a small coating of oil on top of your pan in the latter method, deep frying entirely submerges the food which you are cooking in oil, so it requires a deeper pot.
Deep frying has the advantage of more even cooking than pan frying since the pieces of food that you will be cooking will be heated from all sides instead of just one. When deep frying, you can cook a large variety of foods, like french fries, fried chicken, onion rings, and so much more.
Deep frying does have the disadvantage of being more unhealthy than other types of frying. This is because the oil is attached more thoroughly to the food after it is done cooking, which results in more fat. That is what makes the delicious signature coating that you will find on fried foods.
If you are looking to make your diet healthier, you will find that eliminating deep-fried foods is an excellent place to begin. There are few foods which are deep fried that you can define as healthy, even those which are made with healthy base ingredients, such as onions or eggplants.
Deep frying is one of the harder types of cooking to learn, as you need experience to get a better feel for when the oil is ready to be used. You will find that deep frying food in oil which is too hot will not end up cooking the interior of your ingredients, only the exterior.
Food which is fried on the outside but undercooked on the inside can either be disgusting or outright harmful, depending on what you are cooking. For example, fries which are cooked in this manner will not end up hurting you or giving you foodborne illness, but chicken which is cooked like that just might.
You should also keep in mind that deep frying is one of the more dangerous cooking methods that you will come across. A spill when deep frying can result in serious injury, or even death if it is severe enough. Be sure to take as much care as possible while you are deep frying to avoid any potential accidents.
Boiled foods are submerged in boiling water, similarly to deep frying, in which foods are submerged in oil, but the difference is that the oil is not boiling when you deep fry. Boiling oil would be far too hot for safe use, and it will result in the uneven cooking which we just described.
You will find that boiling works well for certain applications and types of food, but you should keep in mind that it is one of the least flavorful types of cooking. While this means that you will not want to rely on boiling as your primary cooking method, you should keep in mind that it is ideal for certain types of food.
For example, there is no option for cooking soups besides boiling, but this is a bit of an exception to the lack of flavor argument since soup is ideally suited for boiling. This is because the soup is the food which is boiled, as opposed to more solid food types, in which the food is submerged in the boiling water.
Since water usually does not contain seasoning, you will find that boiling does not usually add enough flavor to meats to make them tasty enough to rival other forms of cooking. If you intend to add the meat to another dish which features sufficient seasoning later on, however (like soup), you will find that boiling works.
Broiling is method of cooking which uses dry heat to cook your food which is very similar to roasting and baking, but the difference lies in where the heat emanates from. Unlike roasting, in which the heat is meant to surround the food that you want to cook, broiling only uses heat which is directed from the top.
This cooking method is ideal for meals which are meant to feature attractive presentation since you are meant to place the food to be broiled on a preheated grill. You are supposed to place your food upside down when you are broiling it, to ensure that the grill marks will be visible when the food is plated.
Best Meat For Roasting
You have a choice of three different types of meat when it comes to roasting, and they all have their pros and cons. The options are chicken, beef, and pork. We will take a look at these three types of meat and compare them so we can find out which of them is the best option for use in your roaster oven.
Chicken is one of the most versatile types of meat, as you will be able to cook it in almost any way that you want to. Roast chicken, however, is one of the most delicious ways to cook it, as you can cook whole chickens in the oven without having to worry about them drying out.
While roast chicken is certainly excellent, we wouldn’t argue that it is the ideal meat for roasting, as there is just so much that you can do with chicken. We are looking for a type of meat that we find goes best when it is roasted, so, unfortunately, we are going to have to skip it.
There is always something to be said about a good pork roast. You will find that out of the other types of meat; pork is one which is harder to consume in larger amounts, however. If you have ever heard of the pork sweats, you can understand why.
As with other types of meat, you will find that pork doesn't usually end up losing its juiciness when it is placed in the oven. Pork roasts are usually delicious with applesauce and other combinations that are both sweet and savory. Unfortunately, the inability to eat a lot of pork and religious issues make pork sub-optimal.
The winner in our list of the best meats for roasting is beef due to its sheer versatility. While the other meats we explored can be cooked in many ways, you will find that beef can not only be cooked using various methods, but there are so many different cuts that can be roasted differently.
For example, many would agree that the chuck is the best cut of beef if you are going to be roasting it, but others would argue that the brisket offers better flavor potential. You know that you have come across the best type of meat for roasting when there are entire debates over the best cut of it for a roast.
What Are Roaster Ovens?
A roaster oven has a similar job as a standard convection oven, but it is important to understand the primary distinction. As you may have guessed from the name, roaster ovens are designed to roast food instead of baking it. Most ingredients for baked food would end up falling through the rack in a roaster oven.
A roaster oven is similar in form to a slow cooker, but it works differently. It consists of a heating element which wraps around the bottom of the pot-like interior. You then place a tray over this heating element, and a rack usually slots into this tray, so you will be able to put your food in the appliance.
Since there is less empty space in a roaster oven, you will find that they are much more energy efficient than standard ovens and they are still capable of cooking most roasted foods. A roaster oven usually has a capacity of one to two quarts, but there are larger models available for higher prices.
Roaster Ovens Vs. Rotisseries
You will find that rotisserie ovens which are made for home use tend to be more specialized than roaster ovens. Many of them tend to be designed only for use with chickens since rotisserie chicken is the most popular form of food which is cooked in one of these appliances.
Rotisseries consist of stationary heating elements which are positioned around a spit. A rotisserie essentially spit-roasts any food that you place inside of it, but most modern models are only designed to handle chickens of certain sizes, so you lose out on some versatility.
If you are looking to improve the evenness with which your chicken is cooked, we would highly recommend a rotisserie. If you are looking for a suitable alternative to a convection oven, however, you may wish to opt for a roaster oven, since it can cook so many different types of meats and foods.
What Is Perfect Temperature For Roasting?
You may be wondering if there is a particular ideal temperature for when you are roasting meat or vegetables. Depending on what you are cooking, you will find that the ideal roasting temperature will end up varying. For example, roast chicken is best cooked at a higher heat, around 450 to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
Vegetables, on the other hand, should be roasted at a moderately lower temperature than chicken. We would recommend roasting your vegetables at a temperature which ranges from 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on your chosen vegetables and their density and water content.
When making pork roasts and roast beef, you may wish to opt for a slow roast, which ensures that your roast does not dry out and maintains a good deal of flavor. The ideal temperature for slow roasting will typically be in the 300s; we would recommend a range from 325 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the thickness of your roast.
Oster is a company who primarily specializes in blenders and similar appliances, but in the past decade or two, they have decided to diversify their product lineup to a substantial extent. You will find that Oster makes some of the most reliable roaster ovens that you will come across when compared to other manufacturers.
Nesco is a brand which mainly produces dehydrators, slow cookers, and, of course, roaster ovens. Roaster ovens are one of their main sources of income, so you will find that Nesco’s models tend to be some of the best that you will find available. If you want a quality roaster oven, you can’t go wrong with them.
Proctor Silex is a brand which is owned by Hamilton Beach, one of the world’s largest makers of kitchen appliances, including blenders, toasters, and so much more. You will find that Proctor Silex’s roaster ovens tend to be affordable without sacrificing a good measure of quality.
The Rival Company has been around since 1932, and they are one of America’s oldest and best-known makers of kitchen appliances.
Rival is the company which is responsible for the term crock-pot, which is often used to refer to slow cookers. You will find that their roaster ovens are just as effective as you would expect from such an experienced company.
Maintenance And Cleaning
Roaster ovens are usually quite easy to keep clean and maintain as long as you carefully read the instructions which come included with your product. You will find that most roaster ovens will have different tolerances when it comes to cleaning, so you do not want to risk ruining your product without first reading the manual.
As you can see, roaster ovens are rather convenient cooking appliances that can help reduce the power consumption of your household by a measurable amount. Feel free to continue to our buying guide, in which we will take a look at five of the best roaster ovens that you will find available.