Top positive review
177 people found this helpful
Fabulous Product and Design
on August 20, 2008
"Beer can chicken" has become quite popular in recent years because (1) the steam and vapors flavor the chicken from the inside cavity out and help keep it moist, (2) upright roasting has been popular with chefs because it's the optimal position to roast a chicken (fat drips away, heat surrounds the chicken 360 degrees, skin crisps up better).
This pan is a truly well made and well thought out solution to a problem. Using a beer can to roast chicken has several drawbacks and complications. The chicken is unstable and can easily tip over. A pan is still required to catch drippings and fat (even in an outdoor grill). You also might not like the idea of an aluminum beer can being inserted into your food and exposed to high heat. Recent studies have linked aluminum consumption to Alzheimer's Disease, for example, and who knows what chemicals or fumes are entering your chicken from the dyes and the can itself as your meal cooks?
With this pan, all those issues are no longer issues. A sturdy stainless steel construction ensures that your bird is held upright and sturdy with less risk of ruining your meal. The rack holds the can and bird in place very nicely. I was surprised just how heftily this pan was built. You can tell where your money went, as the pan is not at all cheap or flimsy as you might fear.
The pan comes with a stainless steel (non-reactive) canister to replace that questionable beer can you were thinking of shoving up your chicken's rear. Another bonus of using the canister is that you don't need to have a beer can handy just to make dinner (although I'm sure that isn't a problem for many people, but for those that don't drink or don't drink on a regular basis, it's a nice plus). Not to mention you can use any liquid you like: including wine, which is very nice indeed. Acids like wine or citrus actually react with aluminum to produce funky flavors (and also help leach out aluminum from the metal), but stainless steel is non-reactive and gives you peace of mind that your food will taste great and that you wont develop some strange disease.
There's also a heavy gauge drip pan to catch all that rendered fat and drippings. This is nice if you plan to make gravy, but equally nice to avoid needing a cookie sheet and preventing flare ups. The pan is very small, which is great for small grills and less clean up, but it's just the right size for most chickens. If you're cooking in an oven, you might wish you might still wish to place a small sheet of foil or a cookie sheet underneath the chicken, just in case your bird is a little on the large side and any drippings miss the pan. I've had no problems so far, though. The pan has two nice sturdy handles for easy insertion and retrieval. It even has a little pour spout designed to make emptying the drippings easier.
Clean up is also very easy. In fact, it is much, much easier than traditional chicken roasting pans (the kind with the slits that let the dripping run off into the bottom and the grease bakes right on). The small size limits evaporation of the juices (they pool up more, so less surface area) so they don't burn onto the pan and make clean up a real pain (not to mention ruin your gravy-making fodder). It's also much easier to fit in my sink to soak. As long as you soak it right after you cook, it's easy to clean and is dishwasher safe anyway.
The only complaint I have is that there were no recipes included in the box. Normally I would just ignore these anyway, but since the manufacturer is a BBQ guru, you'd think he'd at least throw in a couple of recipes for rubs and some suggestions. Eh, no big loss, though. Recipes are freely available online. I just used my pan for tonight's dinner and it came out fantastic. I prepared "Saint Nino's Chicken" (a Georgian recipe in honor of the current crisis) that I printed off Food Network's website. It was one of the moistest chickens I've ever had and the flavors were incredible and proliferated throughout the meat. It reminded me of the results of using a flavor injector (another new toy I recently acquired).
I highly recommend this pan, as I checked out all the other offerings and they all either seemed flimsy, unstable, cheap, or (in the case of the Weber) used a nonstick coating. I'm quite happy with my decision to buy this pan, and I'm sure you'll be satisfied too.