Alton Brown's Roux

I decided to make a batch of gumbo for football today, and I remembered watching an episode of “Good Eats” recently where Alton made his roux in the oven. I did some research online and found the specifics, and felt like experimenting so I gave it a shot. I figured that if it came out poorly, then I would just make another batch the traditional way on the stovetop.

There’s not much to it: Start the roux as you normally would with equal parts oil and flour in a cast iron pan, and then put in the center of a 350-degree oven for about 1.5 hours, whisking every 30m or so.

I was pretty skeptical, but I’ll be damned if it didn’t turn out a really nice dark brown roux. I don’t think you could get to a really super-dark (almost black) roux using this method, but it was the color that I was looking for today. Sure beats standing over the stove for 45m working the whisk!

I use Paul Prudhomme’s technique and can make a dark brown to black roux in 15 min on the cooktop (it does require constant attention though). The method uses fairly high heat and I usually have to move the skillet off the heat from time to time to aid in controlling the process.

Roux Throwdown! Thanks for both methods, Gentlemen.

I have a very thick stock thanks to Melinda Lee of KNX radio. Shouts out for Gumbo, but I’m opting for Turkey Soup this go 'round!

Oven method

Mel - that’s pretty much the same color I had today!

And the same color I had earlier in the week! Nicely done!

This is mine just after adding the trinity.

Looks great, Bob. I found your post from earlier this week, and it sounds great! After reading some of the comments about Alton’s method, I was convinced that it would never get any darker than that sort of “brickish” color and I would have to finish on the stove.

I saw your comment about not using okra…do you use file instead or just leave it be? I refuse to use file myself.

I just leave it alone, Kent. I’d only use filé in a seafood-only gumbo. I don’t know why except that I once read an article that indicated that was the only way to use it.

Chef P calls it the “Cajun napalm method” - splash some on you and you’ll understand why.

Great way to make a dark roux.

Yep, I’ve experienced the Cajun napalm effect. You’ll probably only let this happen once!

Emeril does one where he just toasts the flour in the oven to get it dark, then finishes on the stovetop- it doesn’t take as long that way.


I don’t have an hour and a half to make a roux

Only use file’ powder after the gumbo is finished if you want to use it as a thickener for gumbo that does not have okra. If you use okra right after the roux is your desired color or consistency (peanut butter to chocolate color) you will never know it is in the finished product. Either is traditional, neither is necessary. :wink:

Nailed it.