Whether you're into grilling, barbecuing or rotisserie, chances are that you've tried your hand at basting. Basting is a cooking process wherein the meat you're cooking over a long period of time is periodically moistened by way of brushing, pouring or spooning the meat's own juices or marinade, thereby preventing the meat from drying out. Basting not only adds flavor to the meat but also adds a delicious glossy sheen.
A Note of Precaution
Basters beware! Sometimes if you keep opening the oven door, you lower the oven's overall temperature, causing the meat to have to cook longer and ultimately drying it out. Avoid the 'watched pot never boils' cliché and keep that door closed. Always remember that basting works best when the sauces you're working with are sticky, not watery.
Different liquids can be used for basting like melted butter, pan drippings, broth or a combination of ingredients. Thick is best, so if using broth, go for a thick stock, not a thin one. The same goes for melted butter or drippings. Feel free to add your own herbs to the basting mix. Rosemary and tarragon go great with chicken, while a mixture of scallions, oregano and parsley can't be beat with beef.
The proper basting tool should be used when doing a specific recipe. Bulb basters are good for collecting turkey drippings from the bottom of the pan and squeezing over the turkey. A basting brush achieves an even coat, and are readily available. If barbeque sauce is used to add flavor to meat then a basting brush will do nicely.
When to Baste
Some recipe books will cite basting intervals, which is referring to how many times you should baste during cooking time. Try not to have the liquid drip and put out the fire from the heat source. The less you have to open the oven door, the better. If you're grilling, you're pretty safe. Just baste enough to always keep the meat moist.
Here's a mashup of some very popular basting recipes:
• Mad Annie's Turkey Basting - http://www.thespicehouse.com/recipes/mad-annies-turkey-basting-stuff-recipe
• Bobby Flay's BBQ Baste - http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/bbq-baste
• Rice Vinegar Basting Sauce -
• Beer Basted Turkey -
I wouldn't be a nutritionist if I didn't remind you about certain healthy food choices, even while basting. If the sauce asks for white sugar, try to substitute it with brown sugar or molasses. Instead of salt, opt for a triple amount of dry Pecorino cheese. Any oil can be substituted with a heart healthy oil such as virgin olive oil, and avoid margarine as it has trans-fats. And chicken stock can be replaced with vegetable stock.
Baste the Comment Box
How was your brush with basting success? Are you now dripping with confidence? Don’t be chicken! Leave a comment below.