What's The Point Of A Grill Basket (And Is It Worth Getting One)?

shrimp in grill basket on barbeque
shrimp in grill basket on barbeque - Elenaleonova/Getty Images

Step into any kitchen store and you'll find a plethora of gadgets and tools with highly specific purposes, all purported to make your life simpler (if not your cabinets infinitely more cluttered). But the question, "Is it worth it?" is one that probably goes through your mind when presented with the endless array of these products.

When it comes to grilling, there is one accessory that can make a real difference to your cooking process, ensuring that you don't lose your precious ingredients to the flames. The point of a grill basket — a metal vessel with holes or slots — is simple: It is designed to contain the smaller foods and bits that you might want to grill, but aren't big enough to safely sit on your grates. They can also hold delicate proteins like fish that could easily fall apart on the grill.

Whether it's worth it probably depends on how often you crave these diminutive bites, but if you're a fan of finely diced veggies, delicate fish or shellfish (it's one of the extra tools you absolutely need for grilling scallops), or even want to amp up your salad by grilling those greens, then the answer is probably yes.

Read more: 11 Tips For Keeping Your Grill Shiny And Clean

Types Of Grill Baskets

vegetables in grill basked on picnic table
vegetables in grill basked on picnic table - Avnphotolab/Getty Images

Once you've decided that a grill basket is a worthwhile purchase for you, the next decision is which type to select. There are a number of styles of grill baskets, and you could spend plenty of time trying to evaluate the pros and cons of each, but one major factor is what you intend to grill most often.

Perhaps the most common option is an open style, designed exactly as it sounds — in a basket shape — into which you can load your ingredients. These are easy to work with, but the downside is that you'll have a harder time getting even heat distribution if your ingredients are piled up high. An alternative is a cylindrical, rolling basket, which allows you to turn as you go, exposing the contents to the flame evenly. You can also find "baskets" that more closely resemble a sheet pan but with perforations, over which you can more easily spread a single layer of ingredients. These all work well for chopped-up veggies like broccoli, mushrooms, squash, and more.

An interlocking grill basket is an ideal option for fish filets or whole fish, scallops, shrimp, thin cuts of pork or steak, and even burgers, as it will allow you to easily flip your contents without fear of anything falling apart. Many of these types of grill baskets are adjustable, which means you can select a height level that will accommodate your contents. You want it to be snug, but not so tight as to squash whatever you put inside.

More Tips And Alternatives For Grill Baskets

Grill with fish in baskets and veggies on skewers
Grill with fish in baskets and veggies on skewers - Dziggyfoto/Getty Images

If you're using a grill basket, try to prepare your food pieces — whether veggies or proteins — to be roughly about the same size. This way, you'll have a better chance of getting an even cook for all. Greasing your grill basket with a cooking spray or oil is also recommended so you don't wind up with a sticky situation.

If you opt against purchasing a grill basket, there are a few other strategies you can use for grilling smaller bits and bobs. Skewers are a great choice, and you can thread everything from pieces of steak or pork to cubed bread, veggies, and shellfish. You can even follow the easy way to make grilled skewers way more manageable with a two-stick method. Conversely, you can also come up with a makeshift grill basket in a pinch by crisscrossing baking racks and fastening them together with some paper clips, or simply poking holes in aluminum foil shaped to hold your food. But if you're planning to regularly hit the grill with delicate items or smaller favorites, a grill basket is definitely a worthy investment.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal