Honestly, an Herb Brush Is the Best Grill Tool You Aren’t Using

updated May 29, 2020
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Credit: Leela Cyd

An herb brush isn’t just some fancy chef’s trick that looks good on TV cooking shows. These bundles of herbs are surprisingly practical and add tons of flavor with minimal effort. Plus, they can be the most economical way to use herbs on the grill — you can use the same herb brush for multiple uses, use up tired herbs to build one, and they’re way cheaper than a grill brush. Putting it plainly: None of us are using herb brushes enough.

Chances are high you could make an herb brush just by looking at a photo (it is truly just herbs and twine), but would you know how to make the most of it? Let’s walk through the process of making an herb brush and talk about the very best way to use one for summer cooking — whether you’re grilling juicy steaks or filling the grill with summer vegetables.

Credit: Leela Cyd

How to Make an Herb Brush

An herb brush is very simply a bunch of herbs tightly secured with a band of kitchen twine. You can use a single bunch of your favorite herb or a combination. That’s right — your herb brush doesn’t have to be full of lots of different herbs. The herbs you choose from to make your brush don’t have to be full, super-fresh bunches either. Gather up any herbs in your fridge — herb stems and even those herbs that are starting to wilt work well. Group them tightly and tie them together with kitchen twine. Using a food-safe cotton twine means you don’t have to worry if the binding touches your food or your hot grill, and it makes a cool-to-the-touch handle. Now you’ve got a cheap basting brush that can add flavor to anything you cook.

The Best Way to Amp Up Grilled Foods’ Flavor

You can use an herb brush to amp up the flavor of food before, during, and after cooking. Plus, it is cathartic — beating your food with your herb brush is a great way to release the herbs’ flavors and season your food. Herb brushes are most often used on steaks, ribs, and roasts, but don’t let that stop you from brushing your chicken or corn with an herb brush.

Before cooking: Use your herb brush to pat in salt, dry brines, or to brush on butter. Be careful about cross-contamination here: Only use herb brushes on raw meat if you plan to cook the herb brush later (more on that below).

During cooking: Use the herb brush as you would a basting brush. You can slop on sauces, baste with garlic butter, or even use the brush to redistribute cooking juices. This is also where you can use the heat of the grill to cook or char the ends of your herb brush for more flavor.

After cooking: After cooking you can chop up your herb brush and use the herbs for seasoning and garnishing your grilled foods. No hate, but can your basting brush do that?

What’s your favorite way to add flavor to grilled foods? Are you grabbing an herb brush ASAP?