The tool: enamel roaster

Whether you want to capture the full flavor of a heritage turkey or keep a free-range turkey moist without brining, a Granite Ware roasting pan with a lid is essential. The design is ideal for helping meat cook evenly and juicily: The weight of the porcelain-coated steel is just heavy enough to contain heat, while the domed lid allows air to circulate much better than a foil tent would. At the same time, the design is not so airtight that the turkey just steams; instead it basks in its own aromas along with those of any herbs or garlic you lay alongside it. And because the lower half of the roaster is relatively shallow, the turkey skin is easily crisped once you remove the lid for the last third of cooking. Other covered roasters have similar virtues. Look for ones that are light enough to be lifted when filled but sturdy enough to set over burners to make gravy with the pan drippings. But the Granite Ware is also inexpensive and — no small consideration on the biggest dishwashing day of the year — it's a breeze to clean.

Granite Ware roasters are available in two sizes (for 20- or 25-pound turkeys) at Cookin' Stuff in Torrance, (310) 371-2220; Larchmont Hardware in Los Angeles,(323) 463-5783; Koontz Hardware in West Hollywood, (310) 652-0123; and Virgil's Hardware in Glendale, (818) 846-8750; about $30 to $40 for the larger size, $35 for the smaller.

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