Why It Pays To Cook A Roast In A Cast Iron Skillet

Cast iron skillets have a well-deserved reputation as being kitchen workhorses with tons of great uses, and one of the jobs they truly shine at is cooking a roast. Prepping and roasting a top rump can feel like a project, but the ease of cooking in cast iron can transform the whole process into a one-pan affair while still leaving you with tender meat and a crispy browned exterior. The most obvious advantage of cast iron for roasting is its ability to go straight from the stovetop to the oven. Since lots of roast recipes call for browning the outside of your meat in a pan anyway, cast iron adds a lot of convenience. And the ease of cooking is only the beginning of cast iron's usefulness for roasts, because the material has some clear advantages over traditional roasting racks and sheet pans.

Cast iron's biggest upside compared to other materials is how well it retains heat. While it has an undeserved reputation for even heating, cast iron is, overall, an excellent conductor and radiates the heat it absorbs very effectively. This means it does a great job of browning or searing the outside of your roast. The high level of heat the pan emits also helps cook the parts of the roast that aren't directly in contact with the pan. Because it's thick metal, it helps to preheat cast iron before you cook with it, but once you do, it's hard to beat when making a roast. 

Cast iron skillet's high heat and ease of use making roasting a breeze

The shape of cast iron pans, with their several-inch-high walls, also work well for roasting. Its walls are higher than a standard rimmed baking sheet, which helps keep the heat close around your roast. And while a roasting pan with a rack is designed to get even air circulation around your protein, a cast iron pan works nearly as well, takes up less space, and is multipurpose. Further, a well-seasoned cast iron pan should be nonstick, which is great for getting a crispy rather than soggy underside of a cut, not to mention making cleanup a breeze. 

Cast iron's unique combination of convenience, heat, and cleanliness makes it an ideal way to make a roast that can handle higher heat, and its durability means it will only get stronger in the process. So next time a roast chicken is calling your name, ditch your other dishes and reach for the cast iron.