An ode to an unsung kitchen workhorse

spatchcocked turkeyl

As far back as people began to cook as a hobby as much as they did for mere sustenance, kitchen gadgets have beckoned to food lovers. While it is fun to have the latest small appliance or smartly-designed tool, sometimes these items don’t stand the test of time. A few items, however, are indispensable and their utility extends well beyond the usual uses.  Sohla El-Waylly at Serious Eats provides an ode to one such workhorse: the rimmed baking sheet

El-Waylly believes that rimmed baking sheets are grossly underrated. They are useful for so many tasks – of course they are perfect for baking cookies and roasting vegetables, but that is just the beginning. Their uniform size (full-, half-, quarter-, and eighth-sheet are all standard dimensions) not only allows them to easily stacked, but also means wire racks fit them like a glove. 

It is with these racks that “the real magic happens-the combo of a rimmed baking sheet fitted with a wire cooling rack is an unsung hero in the savory world, offering air flow and circulation for even brining, cooking, and cooling.” The combination of wire rack and spatchcocked chicken is perfection. You can use the racks to air dry a bird before roasting, to rest a steak after cooking, and to hold fried foods so they don’t get soggy.  

Not only are they versatile, but sheet pans are among the most inexpensive pieces of bakeware around. You can find sturdy aluminum pans for a very modest price, or you can upgrade to a coated aluminized steel pan for slightly more. A stack of half-sheet pan always stands at the ready in my kitchen, to be used for mise en place, baking, catching drips, and so much more. 

Photo of  Crisp-skinned butterflied roast turkey with gravy from Serious Eats

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  • CuisineQueen874  on  June 23, 2018

    I finally decided to stop getting cheap baking sheets that warp when they got hot. I like the Threshold baking sheets at Target. They look nice, have a textured surface for air flow, and are sturdy.

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