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Kat and Kevin Yares
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Roaster Oven Basics
While looking for a new roaster oven for our kitchen, I was amazed at the number of models out there. Seems like a lot of companies are manufacturing these wonderful tabletop appliances. Roaster oven sizes range from 6 quart (approximately the size of a standard slow cooker) to a whopping 18 quart, which is large enough to cook a 22-pound turkey. Personally, I think every home should have one.
Before Using for the First Time
Burn off the roaster. This is the single most important step of using one of these appliances and it is very simple to do. Remove the lid and the cooking well from the roaster and set aside for washing. Take the roaster outside, where it can sit on a level surface, and plug it into an outdoor outlet. This can be in your garage, a patio or on a balcony, doesn't matter, just take it outside. Set the temperature knob to the highest setting and let the roaster bake off for at least one hour. Even better is to let it bake for three to four hours.
Read some Amazon reviews of these cookers and the number one complaint is the smell from the roaster. If you bake off the roaster before using it for the first time, you will not have this problem.
Using the Roaster Oven
Rule number one: always place the roaster on a level, heatproof surface. Beyond that, cooking in a roaster oven is really no different than cooking in a traditional stove oven. Preheat the oven to the desired temperature. This will take 15 to 20 minutes. Add the food to the cooking well and leave it alone for the time specified in the recipe. Most recipes are cooked in the roaster the exact same way as in a traditional oven. So if your roast recipe says 350 degrees for 2 hours - just do the same thing in your roaster oven.
Cooking for a Crowd
Beyond that turkey I mentioned earlier, roaster ovens are fantastic for cooking chili, soups, chicken, hams, large roasts or any other foods for large gatherings. Because of their size, you can take the roaster anywhere you want to be, provided an electrical outlet is available. This makes them perfect for picnics, family reunions and other places where a crowd can gather.
Once you begin cooking in one of these, you may never turn your traditional oven on again. They do not heat your kitchen up like your regular oven will, which makes them perfect for summer baking or roasting.
Oh and which one did we get? The Nesco 18 quart, Limited Edition Anniversary Roaster. Why the Nesco - simple - they have 90 years of practice making these wonderful ovens. Our new one, looks much like the one I had years ago and once ordered on Amazon, was sitting in my kitchen three days later. We cooked 10 pounds of simple barbecue chicken quarters in the oven for our first meal. Simply delicious.