Grill Basket: A No-Fuss Way to Barbecue

Grill Basket: A No-Fuss Way to Barbecue | Food & Nutrition Magazine | Volume 9, Issue 3

While the origins of the grill basket are unclear, one of the earliest accounts can be traced to 1890: the invention and patent of a “broiler.” Comprised of two open-ended cylinders where meat could be placed, it was designed to be placed in a box over a heat source to cook food on both sides simultaneously. Since its creation, the grill basket has been produced in many forms and sizes to accommodate specific foods.

Cooking chopped or sliced vegetables on the grill can be challenging; pieces can fall between the grates, and it can be time-consuming to rotate every piece individually. Grill baskets are a handy solution. Shaker baskets often are made of steel mesh and feature a locking lid and handle. This design allows the user to shake food for even cooking without losing pieces. It also can be used over a campfire.

Another option is a perforated or open-style grill basket. Often made of stainless steel, this model resembles a skillet or wok with high sides and holes or slots. The design allows users to stir the vegetables using a heat-proof utensil while cooking in direct contact with the flame or heat source.

Meat and Fish
Cooking tender cuts of meat or fish directly on the grill can lead to sticking or difficulty flipping without breaking or tearing fillets. Flat grilling baskets are designed to hold pieces of meat, poultry or fish in place between two flat metal baskets that lock into place. These baskets also have a handle to turn foods more easily. Like vegetables, seafood also can be grilled in a shaker basket. An open-style grill basket also can be used to roast meats, poultry or fish. To prevent potential sticking and make cleanup easier, use a high-heat cooking oil such as avocado, corn or canola oil to lightly coat the basket prior to cooking.

Custom Creations
While many grill baskets can accommodate different foods, some are designed with specific foods in mind. For example, there are baskets uniquely designed to hold a whole fish, kebabs, corn on the cob, meatballs, burgers or quesadillas. An expandable grill basket can cook a range of foods, including fish, whole zucchini and wild game. Much like other grill baskets, these models have metal or steel mesh plates that lock the food in place and have a handle for easy turning.

In a pinch, you can make your own grill basket out of aluminum foil. Use foil to make a pouch for food; cut slits into the sides of the foil to allow steam to escape.

Care and Storage
Some types of grill baskets can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher, but always refer to the manufacturer’s care instructions to ensure proper cleaning. Most often, grill baskets can be washed by hand with hot soapy water, then rinsed and dried prior to storing. Use a bristled scrub brush for stubborn messes prior to washing the basket with soap and water.


All-Clad Stainless-Steel Outdoor Square Grilling Basket. Williams Sonoma website. Accessed February 9, 2020.
Charcoal Companion Non-Stick Triple Fish Grilling Basket-CC7322. The Home Depot website. Accessed February 9, 2020.
Grill basket. Justia Patents website. Accessed February 9, 2020.
Grilling Basket. CooksInfo website. Published May 24, 2005. Accessed February 9, 2020.
Outset Chefs Outdoor Dual Skillet and Shaker Basket (Non-Stick)-QD77. The Home Depot website. Accessed February 9, 2020.
Search Results: Grill Baskets at The Home Depot. The Home Depot website. Accessed February 9, 2020.

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Emily Cooper
Emily Cooper, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in central New Jersey. Read her blog, Sinful Nutrition, and connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.

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