How many people use electric roasters?

CynicNovember 19, 2012

I grew up with turkey made in an electric roaster and have been a fan ever since. I have a 4 qt and a 6 qt. No real need for a larger one. Don't eat dark meat very often so I don't cook whole turkeys.

And if anyone is interested in one and is near Menards, they have an 18 qt unit for under $25 this week. I've pondered getting a large one many times, just can't justify it.

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Yes, I have two, but they are really big, probably 22 quart I am not sure. I have them stored out back in what we call the club house. I will be roasting or baking that almost 25 pound turkey I bought yesterday in it, but not for Thanksgiving. I mostly used them when we had big family get togethers and I have the inserts to add to them to keep food warm while serving. They have been used a lot. I really prefer the dark meat, don't really care for the white but will eat it.


    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 7:13AM
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I have one, a Nesco. It is an 18 qt., I think. I found it at a junk store for $20 and though it is an older model, it was it hadn't been used...perhaps once. I had it for a long time and didn't use it very often, but I use it often now. Still remodeling the house and it is my oven for whatever I bake.

Went to an antique auction a couple of years ago and bought a cupboard...shelves and glass door at the top, and solid doors at the bottom. I bought it because it went "cheap" and only when I got home, did I realize that the bottom shelves were cut out....and the space exactly fits my roaster. So, I believe someone made or modified the bottom shelves just for a roaster....and I was thrilled to have a place to store mine when not in use. There used to be a cabinet you could buy for the old ones...back in the day. The top was made to hold the roaster. I like my cupboard better because it keeps it from getting dusty.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 7:45AM
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Yes and I think I will use it this Thanksgiving. The turkey is always falling off the bone tender....

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 9:24AM
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This reminds me of my mother using an electric roaster for holiday meals. Hers was kept (and used) in the basement. (Lots of trips up and down to check the bird!) I think ovens were smaller in those days -- and no double ovens. Using the roaster left the oven free for the other dishes.

As far as a roaster cooking 'better', wouldn't you achieve the same effect cooking in a covered roasting pan IN an oven?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 9:52AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Yes I have one and like it. You can cook all sorts of stuff in them. I have made big batches of gumbo, jambalaya, chili, and even smothered okra down in it when I had it by the bushel.
When we have our big bbq parties I put the meat in there wrapped up in foil with it on as low as possible to keep the meat warm.

I have the side dish server that goes on top which is very handy.

I miss my double oven but having the big roaster helps.

I am probably going to be using it Thursday for the turkey since we got a free one, might as well cook it. Oh and you can cook your turkey soup from the carcass right in the roaster!
The only thing I dislike is cleaning the big insert pan. Just do it right away don't let it sit and get all dried on.
That Dawn foam spray pot cleaner in the blue bottle works great for this.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 2:34PM
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I have a question about the roasters. Does the meat get brown, like in the oven? My grandmother cooked her turkeys in a roaster--and on a cabinet which may have been like what Marilyn C described. I wasn't a big fan because the skin was as pale as it was before it was cooked. It sure was tender, though.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 5:58PM
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I remember years ago when Nesco roasters were huge sellers on QVC -- they might still be, I don't know. During the middle of the night I remember watching the sales spiels about all the different kinds of things the Nescos could cook. So maybe there will be a lot of Nescos in service this coming week!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 12:51AM
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I love mine because we've lived in the deep south for 25 yrs. --heat and humidity. And I HATE running the oven when I have the a/c on (which is most of the year.) I can do a turkey in my 18 qt. Rival and I put it out on the porch!!-- it keeps the heat outside! I use mine a LOT instead of the oven.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 1:18AM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

Patti yes you can get it to brown but some people take it from the roaster and into the oven to brown. To me that is too much work.
I will link to an excellent method for the roaster. What I do differently is I rub yellow mustard all over the bird inside and outside, then generously spread olive oil all over it especially the breast. Then I sprinkle my seasonings on and I always sprinkle some Tonys seasoning on the breast it gives it a beautiful color and crisp. I don't stuff it I do put chunks of onion, celery, and a section of smoked sausage in the cavity. Another thing that can help brown is to brush on a little kitchen bouquet to the breast before the mustard.

Here's the link

Here is a link that might be useful: Turkey in roaster

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 4:28AM
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Patti, my preferred way to cook a turkey is on an open rack in the oven....rub shortening all over the skin and loosely tent the breast with foil when it is browned. I will use the roaster this year, because that is what I have, but I don't expect it to get as nice as it does in an oven. But I have had good results with everything else I have used the roaster for.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 9:07AM
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I have a "Ronco" Showtime Rotisserie. It makes great chicken and turkey, but I don't plan on using it this year. Cooks good but very difficult to clean. I had lost a spitrod so I couldn't use it for a while, luckily I found it again. But this year I'll just roast a breast in my regular oven.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 9:33AM
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Browning is a little different in an electric roaster than a conventional oven. You need to understand the cooking process to understand what happens. In a conventional oven it's more open and moisture evaporates. Cooking in an electric roaster is more like cooking in a covered roasting pan in the oven. As mentioned about the oven heating up the kitchen, that's because ovens leak more air than people realize so it vents more moisture out. You will definitely have trouble browning in a roaster oven, covered roasting pan, slow cooker, dutch oven, etc unless you take different steps. What you're doing is more of a braise than a roast. To really "roast" you'll need more dry air and the bird (or whatever) will need to be a bit more dry. This is why you brown your pot roast, ribs etc before braising. Remember the tip for conventional ovens to get a good browning - pat that bird dry.

So, there's essentially 3 or 4 ways to go about it, maybe more.

1) The easiest way (if you have a Nesco, don't know if other brands have the option) is to get the "Roast Air" kit. Essentially it's a lid with a fan on it and converts the unit to a convection oven. I have it for my 6 quart. You'll brown like any oven with that baby blowing that hot air around! I usually don't run it the whole time though. I hook it up toward the end. I also pull the juices out of there, especially if I want them for gravy or something.

2) Second option as mentioned is to use your oven or broiler to crisp/brown it up.

3) Virginia Olson from Nesco used to be on QVC often and she suggested using Kitchen Bouquet to baste it if color was what you were looking for. Again, I suspect she would pull liquids from the roaster because her turkey sure looked fairly crisp too.

4) Another thing I occasionally do is pull the juices, paper towel the bird dry and then cock the lid and crank up the heat on the roaster. That will brown it up too.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 4:38AM
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Except for the look of the bird, I don't really care if it browns or not. I don't eat the skin at all so it doesn't matter to me. Usually we slice the turkey before it goes to the table so showing off a big bird isn't on my agenda either.

Lots of people us oven bags for cooking their turkeys and I think it gives just about the same results as the roaster..

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 11:09AM
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