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Best Roasting Racks to Cook up a (Delicious) StormLast updated: 18 Jul 2022
Roasting is an uncomplicated and easy way to bring out the most delectable flavors in your cut of meat. You’ve probably seen countless images of gorgeous golden roasts in a roasting pan and wondered if a roasting rack is really necessary. Surely you can just place your chunk of meat or poultry straight into the pan? Technically you could, but you really shouldn’t.
When it comes to making a successful roast, you do need a roasting rack. Whether it's pork, turkey, or beef, using a rack will make a big difference to the end result. In this guide, we’ll check out the top roasting racks in 2022 based on construction material and functional design. We’ll also dig into why every roast is better when cooked using a rack and how to choose the most suitable one for your needs.Show contents
Buying Guide: Roasting Rack
Roasting is undoubtedly one of the most delicious ways to cook a large cut of meat. It is made even better when you get to eat those juicy vegetables that softened and browned underneath the roasting rack and make a delicious robust sauce from the meat drippings.
Depending on the shape and size of the roasting rack you get, they can also be used for smoking, grilling, and as a cooling rack. Before we get to the must-have features of a quality roasting rack, we’ll uncover why it is such a necessity for any home cook.
Why Every Roast Needs A Roasting Rack
A roasting rack is a sturdy metal rack that fits inside of a roasting pan. The rack is positioned on four (or more) legs that keep the meat off the bottom of the pan. This lets hot air circulate evenly around the entire piece of meat including the sides and underneath. All-round air circulation allows the meat to cook consistently and evenly as opposed to having the bottom cook faster when it’s in contact with the heated pan surface.
When a roast is placed directly into the roasting pan without a rack, it essentially starts to steam in the released moisture rather than roast. Poultry skin can turn flabby and soggy and the meat will start sticking to the pan. In addition, when you’re cooking vegetables and meat together in a jam-packed pan, veggies will become soft. They won’t develop crispy roast edges, a savory brown outer appearance, or have notes of a smokey flavor.
Slow roasting meat retains enough moisture for flavor while also releasing excess fat. As it melts, the fat will drip down imparting flavor to the vegetables while still allowing plenty of air circulation between the meat and veg to allow browning and crisping. The juices also make for delicious gravy stock.
One more reason you need a roasting rack is that a whole turkey or roast is very difficult (and dangerous) to reposition and turn while piping hot. When using a roasting rack you won’t need to do any moving or turning— thus saving you the headache and possible burns.
How To Choose a Roasting Rack
To truly roast your meat (rather than steaming or stewing it) a roasting rack should keep the meat elevated about two or three inches for sufficient air circulation. The rack should fit perfectly inside or across the pan. Racks that are smaller than your pan can be used, as long as they fit the meat and keep it a couple of inches off the bottom.
Roasting pans are generally flat, concave, or V-shaped.
Flat racks usually have narrow bars or even come in a grid-type construction. Although flat racks are good for meat, they can also be used for cooking fish and smoking, and as a cooling rack for cookies.
Basket or cradle roasting racks are u-shaped, cradling the meat inside. They are great for rolled roasts and whole birds but not ideal for poultry exceeding five pounds.
V-shaped racks securely cradle food and are available in adjustable or non-adjustable varieties. Adjustable varieties can be expanded to fit bigger roasts or contracted for smaller birds or cuts.
Make sure the roasting rack has handles for you to hold. This makes it easy and safe to lift the rack with the meat out of the pan while it is hot. Without handles, lifting the rack and heavy roast out to get to the vegetables or gravy can be hazardous. Use oven mitts or dish towels when touching the handles since they are not heatproof.
Roasting racks are generally made of stainless steel or aluminum. Both materials are sturdy and durable, yet not overly heavy to handle. Not all racks are non-stick so you may find it helpful to give it a coat of cooking spray before placing your roast on top.
Reviewing the Quality Roasting Rack of 2022 in Detail1– Best OverallCheck On AmazonTHE SCOOP
This self-basting roasting rack from Cave Tools is specifically designed for poultry roasts whether it is chicken, duck, or turkey. It made our top choice because the teardrop design can accommodate birds up to 20 pounds and be flipped to hold smaller chickens just as effectively. Being able to elevate your big bird means no need to try and rotate it during cooking. You can finally get that crispy skin all the way around!
The stainless-steel rack is not only suitable for oven use but also for gas grills and charcoal grills. The purchase comes with a downloadable recipe book including 25 recipes to set you up for success.2– Most AdjustableCheck On AmazonTHE SCOOP
We love the innovative design of HIC Kitchen’s roasting rack. The design is adjustable in seven different positions to suit the size and cut of the meat you are roasting. It has a reinforced base that provides stability for meat placement while offering a choice of elevation— so don’t be afraid to stick a piece of hefty meat on this thing! The elevation allows you to optimize air circulation for even cooking, which ideally will leave you with the perfect crispy skin every time.
This is a great choice for poultry, pork, game, and various cuts of beef. If you aren’t necessarily looking for a multipurpose roasting/cooling/drying rack but something specifically designed for perfect roasts, this chrome-wire rack should be your go-to.3– Top Non-StickCheck On AmazonTHE SCOOP
If you have an oval roasting pan or dish, this black, non-stick oval roasting pan from Gourmex is ideal for you. Since the rack is flat it can be used for a large variety of meat types and cuts. This rack is also oven safe up to 500°F, so you can create great delicious gravies from the drip without having your meat stick to the pan.
It is also versatile to use for drying, grilling, and as a cooling rack. With sturdy integrated legs, it can steadily hold hot pots or pans elevated off the counter to prevent heat damage to your countertops.4– Greatest Rib Roasting RackCheck On AmazonTHE SCOOP
Ribs can take up a whole lot of space in the oven, smoker, or grill which makes a lot of people turn away from making them. But with this smart design from Mydracas, you will never have to worry about having enough space again! This rack allows you to position ribs upright which not only saves space but also eliminates the need to turn them during cooking.
Optimally spaced and supported, the ribs won’t lean against each other in this rack. This ensures good air circulation resulting in an all-around smoky charred crust on every rib. With seven slots, the rack can also be used to hold pork chops and chicken breasts.5– Top Budget PickCheck On AmazonTHE SCOOP
If you don’t have a large oven but still want your yummy Sunday roast, P&P Chef offers a smaller size rack that is the perfect size for either dinner for one or two people. As an added plus, this rack is made of durable stainless steel that can withstand high heat. With a slight elevation, the rack allows for air circulation around all sides of the meat which ensures even cooking throughout.
The rack is ideal for meat portions including chicken wings, chops, bacon, and a mini roast. The roasting rack conveniently fits into a toaster oven. Besides roasting, it can also be used for grilling, frying, and as a cooling rack for cookies and cakes.
People Also AskedQ: Can I place my meat on top of the vegetables instead of using a roasting rack?
A: While placing the meat on top of veggies may keep it off the bottom of the pan, it still does not allow for sufficient air circulation. Although you can cook your dish like this, the meat and vegetables will still end up steaming instead of fully roasting and may not cook evenly.Q: When cooking half hams, should the cut side be placed up or down on the rack?
A: You should always place half hams face down when cooking— this ensures the most crispy skin!Q: How do you get turkey skin crispy when roasting?
A: The skin needs to be as dry as possible before going in the oven. Pat the turkey completely dry with a paper towel before roasting. Once fully dry, pat it with oil to enhance browning and crispiness. Make sure there is enough air circulation around the entire bird. Never cover it up as this will cause steam which will have the opposite effect.