When it comes to barbecue, it’s all about the meat on the grill, right? Not always. Any good cookout isn’t really complete without some sumptuous side dishes feeling the heat next to the steak and potatoes. And because fishing charred onions or asparagus tips from underneath the grill plate is such a nuisance, the perfect companion to any gas or charcoal barbecue set up is the grill basket.
Cooking on open fire has been around since the dawn of time, but the gas barbecue, which was introduced in the late 1930s, has really changed the grilling game. It was then stepped up a notch when Fred Goodwin patented the first grill basket in 1956. His intention was to provide a tool that could hold loose foods while being roasted over the fire bed of barbecue stoves. And developing a mechanism that could be attached to a spit or skewer for rotation was just pure genius. Here are a few of our favorite grill baskets.
This basket from Grillaholics has an open top for easy distribution of seasoning and spices. With a depth of 2.5 inches, the extra-large capacity container can be shaken, and the contents therein stirred effortlessly while on the grill surface. With an 11.5-inch opening at the top, and 8.5-inch cooking surface, it’ll hold more than enough mushrooms and onions bathed in olive oil. It has curved handles for easy transport from grill to table top, and its triple-reinforced corners means it’ll last a long time.
Cuisinart comes to the dinner table with their 11 inch-by-11-inch grill wok. It is made of high-grade, non-stick material, which makes it easy to clean, especially after tough foods that leave grilling remnants. And because of its non-stick properties, you don’t have to worry about racking up the calories as it lessens the amount of oil applied to the basket contents. While grilling temperature should not exceed 400 degrees as it may result in the warping and/or peeling of the non-stick additive, it is the perfect tool for “low and slow” cooking to enhance flavor.
While some grill baskets require you to reach into the grill area to do your basting, shaking, stirring, and turning, others allow you the ability to do the same at a fair distance. This grill basket from AIZOAM has lockable grates and a long handle so you can safely cook your food while keeping your hands away from the hot surface. The top opens up a full 180 degrees and has a handy locking mechanism that keeps foods in place while flipping over the fire. It has a large 12.6 by 8.6-inch grilling surface, is lightweight and portable.
The portable grill basket by WolfWise is also made of durable 430 stainless steel, but this one has a foldable and detachable handle, which means it’s perfect for storage underneath the ‘que and can fit nicely on the top rack of your dishwasher. As for the 6-inch wooden handle, it is adjustable, elongated, heat-resistant, and provides a safe and comfortable grilling and flipping experience. And as it is easy to pack in the back of the minivan, the kids will love it for s’mores on camping trips.
Not only is this grill basket versatile, it is safe. The non-stick surface is free of dangerous PFOA and PTFE chemicals that can leak into foods during the heating process. The unit consists of a deep basket and a shallower basket. When connected together with a simple-snap handle, it is a useful shaker basket over the grill. But they can also be used separately, for different cooking purposes and styles. And just in case the opportunity calls, it comes with two separate handles so you can cook with the two baskets simultaneously. The unique design promotes an infusion of smoky flavor into whatever you’re grilling. The sleek design also means it can be presented as a stand-alone serving bowl on the picnic table.