The Game-Changing Tool That Will Up Your Grilling Routine

published Jun 30, 2020
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Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

Grilling is my all-time favorite way to cook in the summer. There’s just no other technique that lends such a deeply savory flavor to proteins and veggies. Throw some broccoli on the grill and suddenly it’s filled with smoky flavor. Roast a whole side of salmon on the grill and you have a stunning meal that’s worthy of a celebration.

But grilling isn’t always easy — especially when you’re trying to grill tiny vegetables that can fall through the grates, or delicate fish fillets that tear and rip apart when you try to flip them. Luckily there’s a tool that can solve both of these issues; a tool that has completely changed my grilling routine. The miracle tool I’m talking about? Grill baskets: small metal baskets that sit directly on top of grill grates and are used to make grilling easier and cleaner. Here’s how they work.

Credit: Amazon

What Are Grill Baskets?

Grill baskets are exactly what they sound like: metal baskets that go directly on your grill. There are a few different types of grill baskets you can buy, each one serving a specific purpose.

  • Grill baskets that look like fine mesh baskets are great for cooking small items (like chickpeas or Brussels sprouts) that would otherwise fall through the grates. They allow you to toss the vegetables around so they cook evenly. You can treat these types of baskets sort of like a wok, quickly moving items around to prevent burning.
    My pick: Outset Jumbo Outdoor Grill Basket, $29
  • Grill baskets that look like hinged, two-sided clamps are good for cooking large fish fillets that would otherwise be hard to flip. This prevents the fish from coming in direct contact with the grill grates, so you don’t have to worry about it sticking and ripping. They also tend to hug the fish so that it doesn’t flop around when you go to the flip the basket.
    My pick: Weber Original Stainless Steel Fish Basket, $36
  • The last variety looks like a flat stainless steel basket or tray with perforated holes on the bottom. This version does the same thing as the mesh basket version, only it adds an additional barrier between the flames and your food. The stainless steel prevents the flames from directly reaching your food, so you get less charring. This comes in handy for items you want to cook slowly, like potatoes.
    My pick: Ranphykx Vegetable Grill Basket, $20

You don’t need all three types (unless your grilling repertoire really spans the gamut). If you’re going to buy only one, I suggest the mesh one, because it’s less limiting than the other two. You can grill pretty much anything in it — even fish.

Credit: Mia Yakel/Kitchn

The Best Things to Cook in a Grill Basket

Small items that have a tendency to fall through the grates are prime candidates for throwing into a grill basket. This way, you can get all of the benefits of grilling them without having to worry. Brussels sprouts, asparagus, chickpeas, and small potatoes would all benefit from being cooked in a grill basket. Seafood (any and all!) is also a great candidate for cooking in a grill basket. The baskets protect them from having to touch the grill grates, giving you an added layer of insurance that they won’t stick.

Some of My Favorite Recipes to Try with Your New Grill Basket

Do you use a grill basket? We would love to hear all about it!