Basting is used when roasting or grilling meats. The cooking juices in the pan, melted butter, a marinade, or other sauces are either brushed on the meat, or sucked from the pan into the turkey baster and squeezed out over the meat. You want to cover the entire surface of the meat with the liquid. Basting helps keep the meat moist, and adds flavor.
One important thing to know is that when you baste, you must remove the meat from the oven and close the oven door while you baste. Do not do the basting in the oven with the door open because you will lose heat, and it takes the oven a long time to regenerate that heat, which increases your cooking time. Remove your meat and place it on the top of the stove or a countertop, close the oven door, baste, and then put the meat back in the oven. Time is of the essence as you do not want to disturb the cooking temperature, so baste quickly!
The recipes will tell you how often to baste, but the general rule of thumb is:
• Large birds such as turkey, duck, goose: baste every 30-45 minutes
• A whole pig on a spit: once every hour
• Chicken parts: every 15 to 20 minutes
• Barbecuing meat: every 15 minutes
(Image: Kathryn Hill)