In the meantime, my 12yo daughter has inadvertently come up with a temporary solution to the problem. On Christmas morning this year she proudly slid the biggest box under the tree over to me. She said she saved her money to buy something “that I really needed.” Inside, I was surprised to find a 22 quart Rival brand roaster oven. My grandmothers each had one, and my mother too – but me? I hadn't even considered owning one.
But, now that I too had one, I used it. For New Year’s Day, I loaded it up with a big brined turkey (1c salt/2gal water/12hours). The instructions said to cook it for 13-19 minutes per pound at 375 degrees. For my 16-pounder, this meant it would be done in as little as 3.5 hours or as long as 6. I decided to compromise and check it at 4. I was shocked to find it done – maybe even a little too done, as the upper parts of the legs looked a little crisp. Nevertheless, the skin was golden hued and the meat was as tender and juicy as any turkey I’d ever cooked before – in far less time.
A few weeks later, I brined a 5lb local family farm raised pork shoulder roast (.25c salt/2qt water/2 hours) and roasted it at 350 degrees at 25-30 minutes a pound. Again – done in record time, tender and juicy. For the final test, I set one of my local family farm raised, grass fed beef roasts I’d coated with fresh ground black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder on the rack and added a cup of red wine to the bottom of the roaster. Not only did it produce a tender juicy result but also gave me a cup of tasty pan drippings for a fine gravy. I was amazed.
Now, I wanted to try poultry again – without nearly overcooking it - so I brined a whole chicken (1c salt/1 gal water/1 hour) and rubbed it with softened butter and chopped fresh sage (2T butter/1T sage) from my Aerogarden. On a whim, I added 1c of white wine to the bottom of the roaster as well. An hour later (15mins/pound at 350 degrees) – just one measly hour - I had a roast chicken Betty Crocker would be proud of. The skin wasn’t as golden as I would have liked – I blame the steam from the wine, but the pan drippings were richly flavored and made the most delicious gravy (and, maybe it's bad, but I used some of the butter and chicken fat from my drippings to roast the locally grown blue potatoes I served alongside the chicken - they were amazing!).
Now, I still want to redo my kitchen – gas cooktop, revamped pantry, new and improved vent fan so I don’t set off the smoke detector when I use the broiler - but I’m completely sold on my roaster. It remains unRivaled.