question for bird roasting season

I’ll be staying in this old '30s cabin up in the Sierras through the holidays next month w/ a pretty well-stocked kitchen setup –

I’m planning to roast a 8-9lb stuffed heritage turkey. I haven’t done many roasts before. The owner has the following enameled cast-iron dutch oven at the property:

Would those of you with more experience please advise whether this should be adequate for my purposes? Similarly, would you be able to recommend a sturdy rack that might fit the dimensions of the above link? Ideally one that would allow me to toss potatoes & root vegetables beneath the bird, if the pot allows me the space/depth.

Thanks in advance! :slight_smile:


Sounds like a fabulous place for the holiday.

From the link it looks like the pan is roughly 9” x 12” ~6 qts.

Everyone likes to roast birds differently. My knee jerk feeling is that while the pan will work, it is also a fairly tight fit. So the browning on the sides may not happen so easily. But the slightly more “steamy” nature of it might help with the heritage bird (which can be a little tougher).

So there are trade offs.

If you do potatoes/etc in the bottom you may consider giving them a little head start. The lack of heat circulation and a big cold bird on top may slow down their cooking.

No real idea for a rack - but a couple big russet potatoes underneath will certainly lift the bird!


Thanks so much. Perhaps it’s time I invest in my own dedicated roasting pan as I hope to be doing more of these (pork stuffed duxelles, duck, etc) through the winter… the owner did mention that the oven was of smaller than average capacity, but it looks like it should do the trick with some rack adjustments for a larger sized roast. Would you have any suggestions for high quality roasting pans with sufficient real estate for my intended purposes?

Btw I intend to wet brine 2 days ahead so toughness won’t be an issue.

I agree with @Thimes that the Dutch oven will be suboptimal. The Wirecutter (NYT) loves this relatively inexpensive roasting pan which is nice because they can be very pricey. Comes with a rack.

That cabin looks absolutely great!


Thanks!! :slight_smile:

I’ve decided to borrow something from my partner’s mom for this upcoming trip while I hold out for a fancy antique copper tin-lined number, hopefully at a reasonable price in the vintage market (with sufficient digging) when I eventually pull the trigger.

I greatly appreciate all the help!


I’ll come for dinner if Jennifer is coming. :grimacing:

On the serious side…it looks like a good time!

:hushed: :open_mouth:

I’ve had great results with this lowly little toasting pan…bought for a small free range turkey for the first Thanksgiving we spent in France.

Its cheap, has a rack for maximum brown crispy skin, and has held up for 15 years now

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I have a technical question… I want to toss a couple of quartered onions under the bird, to incorporate added flavors into a gravy reduction later. I’d like to throw in a few carrots/parsnips too for the same purpose, without crowding the pan. Will a few onions and root veggies have much impact on the crispiness of the turkey skin? Also, if I’m roasting the bird at 350F for about 3.5 hrs., should I only add them half way into cooking, since they’ll surely brown & caramelize long before? Do I bother turning them for an even roast or will that just mess with the internal temperature of the oven and the cooking of the turkey? How do you balance a perfectly crisped roast turkey in the same pan with veggies that roast quicker?

Keep the vegetables under the bird whole. They won’t cook all that fast since both bird and vegetables will exude juices. Consider them as seasoning for the gravy. You CAN eat them but most of their flavor will have gone into the drippings, so you may prefer to roast additional vegetables in their own pan.


Best wishes! I’ll be cooking in a not-my-kitchen situation this year. I’d love to hear why a wet vs dry brine!

I start the bird on it’s own, then add the veggies under the rack for the last hour or so…the. the bird is well on its way and the veggies roast in the drippings.

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I agree with @Sunshine842 on the type of roasting pan. A low-sided, stainless steel roaster would be my pick for turkey.

Why? I bought a dark colored Calphalon roasting pan like this one some years ago. I have regretted the purchase ever since. The veggies and drippings tend to become too dark and even bitter while the bird itself never reaches the right texture. And younger me didn’t know the pan was non-stick, which I think is suboptimal for drippings and gravy potential.

I also have a small, inexpensive plain stainless steel Farberware roaster (no longer available) that works ideally other than its small size. So I use that or even a large white ceramic Emile Henry casserole with a rack set into it when I have a smaller bird to roast.


Same! This has been my experience too.


For future use, I agree with a stainless steel roasting pan. I have a Calphalon one that came with a rack (good price at Home Goods).

And any veggies put under the bird for the full roasting time will probably just be good for flavoring the homemade gravy after straining the liquid and fat from the pan. They’ll have gone to mush, so should be relatively easy to scoop out with a slotted spoon.


Since I now spatchcock my turkeys, I stick with putting roasting vegetable under the bird too, and it’s worked great. I will grab 3-4 mega sized onions and halve them, and space them across my roasting tray. The bigger onions lift the bird higher to leave plenty of room for drippings underneath. I then add other roasting veggies between the onions to soak up the flavor. :yum:


All great suggestions and I may have to get that roasting pan for myself (mine are all quite large and sometimes a little deeper than I’d like).

i will say I’ve cooked Thanksgiving “on the road” many times (friend’s houses, overseas, air bnbs, etc) and it really is about the company. Sometimes corners have to be cut to make things work. In a pinch I’ve made perfectly acceptable turkeys and roasted veggies in a disposable aluminum tin from the grocery store. With the added bonus of being able to “squish” the foil pan to squeeze in an extra side dish in a small oven.

If the primary reason for the veggies is for them to end up in the gravy - I’m a HUGE convert to making my gravy way ahead of time and just adding any pan drippings the day of to bump up the flavor. Turkey wings, necks, veg scraps - make a stock, reduce a little, thicken with roux, freeze and you’re good to. Takes a huge stress burden off T-day IMHO too - and if you’re not in your kitchen no need for a separator, or cheese cloth to strain . . . .


Thanks so much! All of these comments are so helpful… I’ve spent roughly a decade in pre-covid years getting much more confident and comfortable around the kitchen, but my ex-wife was pescatarian so I rarely ever did roasts and this is pretty new to me. One thing is that my new partner’s allergic to wheat (less severe than celiac, but still troublesome) so I’ll have to adapt the roux for gravy somehow, maybe cornstarch or arrowroot. I haven’t really gotten there yet, lol.


This won’t work for non wheat folk, but I like to use this. Maybe there’s something similar without wheat.

You can absolutely use another thickener for gravy. Do a quick web search and you’ll find ratios. If you use corn starch or arrowroot just thicken the stock at meal time. Neither hold their thickening power so well once frozen.

I do the best I can when not in my kitchen and save the stressing for perfection only when I’m in my own kitchen.