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Meat Basters

Wednesday, 16 February 2011 | Tags: ,

Nobody likes a dry turkey, and that's where your handy baster comes in. And for such a simple tool, there are more things to consider than you may think. We dive into the drippings to get the drop on basters.

The Basics

  • Basting your meat as it cooks ensures it stays moist, flavourful, and browns evenly. Typically, basting is done with fat and juice drippings from the pan, which efficiently recycles them and prevents the bottom of your roast from getting soggy.

  • Look for a baster with a comfortable bulb that fits in your hand. It should be easy to squeeze with your fingers, but also firm enough to reshape itself quickly and stay in place.

  • Some basters come with extra attachments, like basting brushes and different tips. These may not always be worth the extra bucks.

    • In our tests, we found the shower-head tip somewhat useless because it clogged easily.

    • An injector/needle tip should only use it before you started cooking your meat (e.g. with a marinade or other drippings), since poking holes in your roast after it’s been cooking will only release the juices you’re trying hard to replace by basting.

  • Some basters have clear shafts with measurement markings, which can be helpful if you’re using liquid for a different recipe, like gravy.

  • A cleaning brush accessory is definitely handy to have (look for stainless steel) since it will get into the narrow end of the shaft for gentle hand-washing. Most basters (especially clear plastic) should be hand washed so they don’t become cloudy, which can happen in the dishwasher.

  • A baster that has ridges on the bulb won’t roll around on your counter. Make sure the bulb can easily be removed for thorough cleaning.

  • Note: be sure to read the temperature information on your baster. Even though your bulb may be made of silicone, it will likely only be heat-resistant to between 250 and 300 degrees Celsius.

  • Avoid basters made of thin plastic or glass since they may crack or melt when in contact with hot fluids.

Basting Tips

  • Remember that every time you open the oven door to baste your meat, the oven temperature drops, so your food may need additional cooking time.

  • If marinating raw meat, be sure to use a clean baster each time to avoid harmful bacteria.

  • Though convenient, avoid pre-packaged raw meat products that have been pre-injected or marinated. They may also be labeled “basted”, “self-basted”, or “marinated”. Unless the ingredients are listed, you don’t know what you’re consuming. Plus, marinade can increase the weight anywhere from 3-8%, which means you may be paying extra for liquid rather than meat.

TEST CRITERIA

We took a selection of basters into the A & K Test Lab and invited physicist Robin Coop to help us measure their level of suck power. We tested:

Cuisipro Dual Shower Baster & Injector: $16.99
Polycarbonate body with measurements, interchangeable stainless steel tips
  Cookworks.ca Amazon.com
       
Ekco 123 Nylon baster: $2.99   Amazon.ca Amazon.com
       
Trudeau 4-piece silicone basting set: $14.99
Includes brush, cleaning wand, injector tip
  Cookworks.ca Amazon.com
       
Fox Run 3-piece stainless steel basting set: $14.99
Cleaning brush, injector tip
  Amazon.ca Amazon.com
       

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Usage Test

  • We found the thinner plastic of the bargain Ecko to be prone to melting.

  • We liked the strength of the Fox Run stainless steel baster, but we found that not being able to see the liquid inside was a drawback.

  • The Trudeau’s clear body was handy for seeing how much liquid we drew in. The basting brush was also helpful.

  • The Cuisipro with all of its attachments seemed high tech, but the attachments didn’t perform as well as we’d hoped, becoming clogged (the shower head) with the thicker juices.

Suction Test

  • The Trudeau had the best suction in the pressure test, and held the liquid with no leaks.

OUR TOP PICK

For it’s great suction and silicone construction, we liked the Trudeau baster the best.

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