We're sold on the practicality of our Dutch-oven paella, but we know traditionalists may balk at it. Accordingly, we put five paella pans to the test. Minor differences aside, every pan produced a fine version of our paella recipe. All provided ample surface area for the multitude of ingredients and for development of soccarat, the distinctively crusty bottom layer of rice. In the end, then, our preferences came down to price and convenience.
Our first model was up to the job, but at a price of $177.99, it should have been. Though we think that's far too much to spend on a specialty pan, this pan's extra-deep shape makes it versatile enough for use as a braising pan. We did find a cheaper paella pan also suited for this sort of double duty, but $50 still seems like too much money for a pan that is likely to see little kitchen action.
The shallower, more traditionally shaped—and cheaper—pans in our lineup clearly warranted a closer look. We didn't like the first model, finding it to be a tight fit in most ovens, and its nonstick surface inhibited browning. The plain steel (not stainless) model is prone to rust without proper seasoning. (While we don't mind the seasoning process for everyday pans, such diligence seems excessive for a pan that will spend more time in storage than on the stovetop.) But its enameled counterpart has the same rugged good looks with no special maintenance required. This pan—the cheapest one tested—gets our top recommendation.
The nonslip grip and narrow, straight blade let testers remove the smallest bones with precision and complete comfort. Perfectly balanced with enough flexibility to maneuver around tight joints. The low price was a bonus.
Hefty in weight, this knife was a solid performer when removing poultry bones, and the handle was easy to grip, even when covered in chicken fat. Piercing silver skin was a challenge since the tip wasn’t sharp enough and the long narrow blade produced slightly jagged cuts.
|Recommended with Reservations|
The sharp tip performed well when removing silver skin, but it was too flexible when maneuvering around poultry joints, leaving testers feeling a lack of control. The heavy handle was slightly unbalanced and became slippery once covered in poultry fat.
Designed to replicate a samurai blade, this expensive knife was a disappointment. It struggled to pierce the silver skin, although long cuts were smooth and even. Minimal flexibility and extreme curve got in the way when maneuvering around joints. The smooth handle was hard to grip and slippery.
The large, cumbersome handle reminded testers of an outdoors knife for fishing and hunting. The blade was too wide to maneuver around joints and it struggled to pierce silver skin. Unlike other knives, this boning knife could only slice in one direction, making intricate cuts around joints difficult.
The blade was so flexible it led to erratic cuttings; testers said the knife was hard to control. The blade was not sturdy enough to maneuver around joints and the lightweight handle felt flimsy and unbalanced.
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