How to Use a Roasting Pan With a Rack

Roasting racks allow the meat to brown evenly.
Roasting racks allow the meat to brown evenly. (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

While you can always create a roasting rack with carrots, onions and potatoes, the vegetables shrink with cooking and half your meat may end up swimming in juices. Avoid this by looking for a rack to fit your roasting pan. Roasting meat with a roasting rack allows heat to circulate around the roast, ham or chicken, which means it will brown evenly. The juices from the meat will drip into the pan and begin caramelizing as the meat cooks, making a richer base for gravies or sauces. Racks can be purchased on their own or you can buy a roasting pan and rack combination.

Things You'll Need

  • Roasting pan
  • Rack
  • Meat (roast pork, roast beef, ham, turkey or chicken)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter
  • Lemon
  • Meat thermometer
  • Tinfoil
  • Herbs

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Choose a cut of meat for roasting. Prepare the meat for roasting. Rinse and remove any undesirable pieces. For pork and beef, trim away any unwanted fat.

Season the meat with salt and pepper and rub with butter (especially good when roasting a turkey or chicken). For poultry, you can stuff the lemon and the herbs in the open cavity of the bird. Other flavorful additions include garlic and onions.

Place the rack inside the roasting pan. Carefully place the prepared meat onto the rack.

Put the roasting pan in the center of the oven and cook according to the recipe you have chosen. Times and temperatures will vary depending on the type and quantity of meat you are roasting.

Remove from oven and test the temperature of the roast with a meat thermometer. Once done, cover with tinfoil to allow juices to recirculate through the meat.

Carve meat and serve.

Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment with different roasting racks until you find one that works for you. Shapes vary and come in flat shapes, V shapes and U shapes. Poultry does not need to be trussed when using a V shaped rack as the rack holds everything in place. You can try turning the oven temperature higher when you begin roasting to develop a crispy outer layer. Use the juices in the pan to make a gravy to serve with the meat.
  • Basting and marinating provide extra flavor to the meat but exercise caution as they tend to lower the cooking temperature of the oven when you continually open for basting. Check the meat periodically to make sure it is browning properly as each oven cooks at a different rate.


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