By investing in the best grill basket for your kitchen (outdoor or indoor), you get to experience the true flavors of the grilled side dishes. If you ever had a chance to participate in grill cookouts, you probably noticed that cooking on a grill isn’t only the process of flipping burgers and poking steaks to check on their insides. There’s a whole set of nuanced rules to be covered, and on top of them are side dishes. As much as meat is important for a good meal, we must not forget about veggies, mushrooms, and special side-dish recipes.
A lot of people find the concept of a grill basket strange or weird due to myths and misinformation. Now is the time to put those myths to rest, and learn how to enjoy grilled side dishes in the best way!
What Can You Cook with a Grill Basket?
We already said that the options are almost limitless, due to the versatility of grill baskets. From small vegetables to burgers and poultry, it all depends on your requirements and experience. However, one thing is for certain: grill baskets are great at saving time! Usually, people only prepare meat on the grill, while they either forget about side-dishes or run to the kitchen to prepare them separately. Now, if you do not have a grilling assistant, you will end up burning one or the other, or in the worst case, both.
So, before we go into details on what to look for, what to expect, and what to avoid, let’s see what kind of food you can cook with a grill basket. Covering everything is impossible without writing a book, so we will go through the main groups of groceries and ingredients that are suitable for this type of cooking.
1. Skewers are a thing of the past
Don’t get us wrong, we also like a good skewer, but the effort to make skewered meats and veggies is not worth the rewards, especially if you are cooking for more than two people. Skewered food requires you to either have a special grill, or a bunch of free time. Being that you want the same taste and food quality without having to spend hundreds (or sometimes even thousands) of dollars, there are ways of preparing “skewerless” food, using a grill basket of course.
If you prefer eating smaller veggie and meat pieces, consider using a skillet-like grill basket for this job. Chop up the mushrooms, greens, and meat, and soak them in the marinade of your choice. Without letting them drain too much, put the skewer ingredients into the grill basket and put them on the grill right away, assuming that the grill is already hot. You will get the best benefits if you are using a charcoal-burning grill with your basket, because of that unique zesty flavor, but a tabletop electric grill will do the job as well.
Let the basket rest on a grill for a minute, and start shaking it. By doing this you will stir the food just enough to let extra fats drain, but not too much. After you get to the desired crisp, turn the basket’s other side and repeat. This way, you will be able to prepare skewered food, without the skewer, but with the same taste, or possibly tastier.
2. Whole fish, fish steaks and chicken quarters
If you are a fan of less greasy meats, you will be glad to find out that grill baskets are made to handle this type of meat. Grilling a tuna steak is not easy, not only due to its size but also due to its fat content. It is incredibly easy to overcook tuna, or even freshwater fish species, on a grill grate. We all know what happens when fish meat gets over-grilled, it falls apart, and atop of that, it gives off a horrific smell.
In order to avoid the hassle, get yourself a two-sided grill basket with a hinge mechanism. If you want the fish to be extra juicy, put it in the grill basket first, and marinate it while it is inside. After you are done with the spices, start grilling it, flipping the basket until crust forms on the surface of the meat. As you start reaching the wanted color and smokiness, start moving the basket towards the colder part of the grill, or a warming tray if the grill has one. Let the fish rest a bit and you`re done preparing it. A few extra tricks for grilling fish can be helpful.
Using a grill basket to prepare chicken or turkey legs is somewhat similar to preparing fish. The difference is in the marinating process, with poultry being known to be slightly greasier. So, what you should do is let the chicken drum, or chicken quarter, soak up a bit. This way you will make sure that the inside of the meat is not dry, and is evenly seasoned. Use the grill basket to lock the meat inside, and start grilling, with occasional flipping. Just remember that poultry needs to be cooked well done, always.
3. Mushrooms and vegetables
Ah yes, the food we often forget about on a grill cookout. But, let’s be honest here for a moment and admit that everyone enjoyed grilled veggies at least once, simply because it made the grilled meat taste better. Grill veggie baskets are ideal for grilling greens like broccoli, potatoes, mushrooms and even zucchinis and peppers. All you have to do is slice them into pieces of the roughly same size, and season them with your favorite spices. Avoiding common mistakes is the only thing to consider.
After you are done with the prep, put the ingredients into the basket, and start grilling, stirring the basket every minute or so. For this type of food, it would be better to get one of those skillet-like perforated grill baskets, simply because they can hold in smaller pieces of food, and stirring is easier. The best part of preparing veggies is that there is no lower limit when it comes to temperature and readiness. You can make veggies extra juicy, or roast them to get that charred taste of grill we all love. It is up to you how well-done do you want them, and a grill basket is there to make it possible without getting any into the coal chamber.
4. Evenly-done burgers
Believe it or not, burgers are not off the table simply because grill baskets are perforated. If the minced meat is seasoned well (an extra egg would be ideal), you can use the double-sided grill basket with a hinge to grill multiple burgers at a time. This option shines the brightest when it comes to large cookouts, and you need to cook a lot of burgers for a lot of guests. With grill baskets, you can grill 4-6 burgers simultaneously, with each of them being equally well-cooked, with the same level of crisp. This way you can avoid standing by the grill the whole time, and actually have some time to mingle.
Advantages of Grill Baskets
By seeing how versatile grill baskets are, you have surely come to realize some of the advantages they bring to the table. While cooking a good steak is impossible, almost any other type of grill food and side dish is within the grill basket range. But there are some super convenient things that people tend to overlook. Grilling can be kind of stressful on its own, and grill baskets have a few tricks to alleviate that.
First and foremost, utilizing a grill basket of any sort will significantly increase the safety of the whole grilling process. Flare-ups are unwanted not only because of the flavor, but for safety reasons as well, and by using a basket you add an extra level between the food and the fire pit below. Flare-ups usually occur when grease and fats touch the burning charcoal, and grill baskets prevent that.
2. Healthier meals, even on a grill
Grills are healthy in a way, due to the food prep process that requires no additional fats or oils. However, when you mention grilling, people tend to think about the meat only. No one wants to risk it and prepare veggies on a charcoal-burning grill. With a grill basket, preparing side-dishes that are tasty and healthy at the same time is an easy task.
Another reason why people skip the healthy greens while grilling is the time needed to do it, usually inside, on a stove. Running through the house in order to keep both the meat and the side-dishes from burning is tiresome and it’s only logical that people don’t want to do it. That’s where the convenience of grill baskets lies: you can do everything in the same place, by your grill.
You can save a lot of time by not having to run inside every 5 minutes, and by saving time you also save precious grill fuel. If a grill burns for 10 or 15 minutes more it is not a big deal, but the amount of extra charcoal you burn adds up every time you light it up.
Lastly, cleaning a grill basket is way easier than cleaning a grill after cooking veggies and/or fish. They are easier to maneuver around, and can usually withstand stronger cleaning agents.
Best Grill Baskets Comparison Chart
WEBER 6471 ORIGINAL STAINLESS-STEEL FISH BASKET, LARGE
|View On Amazon
AIGMM PORTABLE STAINLESS-STEEL BBQ BARBECUE GRILLING BASKET
|View On Amazon
CUISINART CNTB-422 SIMPLY GRILLING NONSTICK GRILLING BASKET
|View On Amazon
SMAID VEGETABLE GRILL BASKET
|View On Amazon
WOLFWISE PORTABLE BBQ GRILLING BASKET 430
|View On Amazon
CORONA BBQ GRILL ACCESSORIES – GRILLING BASKET WITH LOCKING GRILL HANDLE
|View On Amazon
CULINA #1 BEST STAINLESS-STEEL SQUARE BBQ
|View On Amazon
GRILLAHOLICS LARGE GRILLING BASKET
|View On Amazon
Best Grill Basket Reviews (Updated List)
1. Weber 6471 Original Stainless-Steel Fish Basket, Large
In the second place, we have a model slightly larger in the surface, and somewhat lighter than the rest in its class. It is made of stainless-steel wires and solid tubes, with the wire making a dual-sided bed. This grill basket is made to be used mostly for fish and poultry, and its downside is that it cannot be used for food that needs stirring.
The wire bed is made of 2 closely-knit stainless-steel wires, and the outer construction is made to elevate the food from the grill grate. This makes it extra safe against flare-ups and overheating in general. The whole grill basket is dishwasher safe, leaving you with less to clean after the cookout.
This particular grill basket model is ideal for fish (freshwater and saltwater), chicken quarters and turkey drums. It can also be used to grill pork chops and smaller burger patties.
2. AIGMM Portable Stainless-Steel BBQ Barbecue Grilling Basket
This AIGMM comes with a two-sided system, which is held together by a hinge. However, the main difference is the heavy-duty heat-resistant wooden handle this grill basket has on one side. The basket is made of stainless steel and the perforations are made to keep larger chunks of meat or veggies in, meaning that small pieces of food are not an option.
The handle makes it super-easy to flip the ingredients, thus ensuring an evenly grilled meal. Total weight of the model is just under 1 pound, so if you were thinking of taking it along to a camping trip, it won’t be a burden.
This grill basket model is ideal for burgers, larger veggies (potatoes and zucchinis), larger mushrooms and fish. We noticed that it can endure open flame and that it can handle 6 burger patties at the same time.
3. Cuisinart CNTB-422 Simply Grilling Nonstick Grilling Basket
Next up, we have another grill basket with a double net build, and a hinge system, this time from Cuisinart. Weighing a total of 2.2 pounds, this model has an elongated heat-resistant handle, which makes the whole basket easy to flip and move around without getting burned. The handle, however, is made of heat-resistant plastic, which is not that good if you plan to use this grill basket on an open fire.
The whole basket is made of steel, which is not stainless but is coated with a nonstick layer, which makes greasy food super easy to cook. This model is not dishwasher safe, but the nonstick layer doesn’t allow it to get extra dirty.
Cuisinart made this model ideal for medium and large sized pieces of mushrooms and veggies like zucchinis, tomatoes, and potatoes. When it comes to meat, it can tackle the job of grilling fish and poultry with ease as well.
4. SMAID Vegetable Grill Basket
This Smaider grill basket is made of perforated plates. It is a large wok-like model that is made to handle large amounts of food at a time. It weighs just over a pound, and its 430 stainless-steel body is made to last for a long time. This type of steel is durable, but not nonstick, and the manufacturer recommends that you cover the grill basket with some oil before you put the food in. This proved a good method for us, but a small amount of food still stuck.
If cleaning is your concern, you will be happy to hear that this grill basket model is dishwasher safe, however, it will require a lot of space in the dishwashing machine due to its size. The handles are a part of the main body and are located on the sides.
This particular model is ideal for making any type of food that needs stirring, including poultry, pork or fish pieces, and vegetables of any size, from onions to large peppers and potatoes.
5. WolfWise Portable BBQ Grilling Basket 430
Now, we’re back to the double-sided grill baskets, with a model from WolfWise. This affordable grill basket is made of 430 stainless steel, which is known to last for a very long time. The basket weighs just over a pound, and it has an elongated handle, which is made of heat-resistant wood. Even though stainless steel is suitable for an open fire, be extra careful around it because of the wooden handle.
The steel nets on the sides are connected with a hinge, and when closed they form a lock, so the meat stays just where you put it. Despite its larger surface area, this model is dishwasher safe, so you have less to clean after the cookout.
The WolfWise grill basket is ideal for serving as a fish grill basket, chicken quarters and pork chops. Larger veggies and big mushrooms are also fair game if you set them up properly.
6. Corona BBQ Grill Accessories – Grilling Basket with Locking Grill Handle
This Corona grill basket is the last double-sided model on our list and the biggest in volume. Surface area is not its strong suit, but its depth makes it convenient for mixes containing meat and veggies. In contrast to the other models we reviewed, this grill basket is made of porcelain-coated steel, which makes it excellent at retaining heat and keeping the contents of the basket warm for a long time.
The basket weighs a total of about 1 pound, and it has an elongated 5” wooden handle. Even though it is not dishwasher safe, its refined surface doesn’t let the food stick, so cleaning is a breeze.
Due to its deep design, this hinge-lock type grill basket is ideal for grilling mixed foods, including potatoes, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, chopped pork, poultry, and fish. Because it is coated with porcelain, the manufacturer doesn’t advise using it on an open flame.
7. Culina #1 Best Stainless-Steel Square BBQ
The final model on our list is a large grill basket by Culina. It is a basket that looks like a large knitted tray, made of stainless steel, with 2 large handles on the side. The stainless-steel net is knit pretty tightly, so the food of any size is easily cooked using this grill basket. Because of the fine steel wire on the bottom, there are 3 steel poles to reinforce it, in case you want to fill it with a lot of small food chunks.
This grill basket weighs just over a pound, and it is deeper than other models from its class. Thanks to its body type, any kind of meat, veggie and mushroom can be grilled using this basket. The chances of food falling through are minimal.
This particular grill basket model is ideal for any type of food that requires stirring and full control during the cooking process. Any type of meat, fish or veggie is welcome, and some grill chefs even swear by recipes containing eggs.
8. Grillaholics Large Grilling Basket
The first on our list is a large Grillaholics grill basket. It is made of stainless steel, and it resembles a plated basket with perforations on all sides. It weighs only 2 pounds, and it has no separate handle. However, it is dented on 2 sides, making the handles integrated with the body.
This particular grill basket model is considered to be among the larger models, and it can fit enough food for 3-4 servings, depending on the dish you are making. Even though it cannot be flipped or closed, it is a valuable asset in the grilling arsenal due to its size and solid build. Each corner is reinforced with additional stainless-steel plates, further increasing the durability of this grill basket.
A model like this is good for large-sized mixed meals, containing food like fish, seafood, vegetables or mushrooms. Everything can be stirred and grilled at the same time.
What is a Grill Basket?
Even though they come in various forms, every grill basket is a piece of wired steel (or sometimes other materials) container, designed to withstand pressure and temperature of grilling. Now, you must be asking the question “why grill in a basket?”, and it is a good question indeed. To answer it, just try imagining grilling small potatoes or onions, and how many of them would fall inside the grill, spoiling the fire and the taste of the rest of the food.
On the other hand, if you like to char and grill your broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, or any type of veggie in general, you might need the help of a well-built grill basket. They are made to keep the food out of the fire. Additionally, some baskets also give you the option to turn them around. This is achieved with a hinge and a set of wired steel grates. The possibilities are countless, and all you have to do is try.
A grill basket also allows you to stir and shake your food, despite the fact that you are doing it on a grill. There’s no better flavor than that beautiful charcoal grill aftertaste, no matter the type of food you are preparing.
Some models, as we mentioned, are made of intertwined steel wire, but there are various other ones out there. One of the popular grill basket models resembles a skillet, with holes punched through. This type of a grill basket may not allow you as much turning and twisting as their hinged counterparts, but it will enable you to stir chopped food without the pressure of spilling it around, or even worse, into the fire.
Grill Basket Buying Guide
Ok, we have seen what kind of food you can prepare, and what kind of benefits you can reap by using grill baskets. Now it is time to delve into the intricate details you should focus on when deciding what kind of a basket to get for yourself.
1. Basket shape
The very first thing you will notice in our reviews is that some of the models do not even look alike. Each of these shapes has its strong suit and not every type can fulfill every role. We can divide them into 3 main groups:
- Dual-side hinged grill basket – This type is the most common one, and it is the most versatile shape of the three. With a hinged grill basket, you can grill veggies, mushrooms, poultry and fish, the whole grill master’s assortment. Their strong suit is in the flipping, which is enabled by locking food inside. If you value versatility over everything else, this is the right grill basket for you.
- Basket shape – This is the original shape, as the name suggests. This type usually has handles on both sides and doesn’t have a lid, so flipping food is off the table. However, basket-shaped models are slightly bigger than the rest and can handle huge loads of food simultaneously. Some models are made of steel wires, and some of the perforated plates, but both model types are used in the same way.
- Skillet shape grill basket – Another popular shape out there, mostly due to the fact that people are familiar with how skillets work. Some people call it the grill wok. This type is somewhere in between the former two and is usually a perforated skillet with a heavy-duty handle on one side. Its strong suit is stirring the food, so they can make those “skewerless” skewers we talked about earlier.
Regardless of the grill basket shape, you decide to go with, you will be able to do most of the things you intend, just keep in mind the amount of food you plan to cook.
It wouldn’t be a buying guide if we didn’t talk about manufacturing materials of grill cookware. There’s a couple of factors regarding the building material of grill baskets, and their handles, that you should think about before you make the final decision.
2.1 Stainless and non-stainless steel
The vast majority of grill basket models are made of some sort of steel, that’s for sure. However, stainless steel has one big advantage over its regular counterpart, and that is easier maintenance. This is based on the fact that you will have to use water to clean the basket, and non-stainless steel will rust over time, if not handled and dried properly.
There have been speculations that stainless steel has a lower thermal capacity, which is most likely true, however, heat retention is not that important when it comes to grill baskets.
2.2 Non-metal parts
This is more important than the quality of steel. What kind of non-metal materials does the grill basket have built-in? If there are plastic parts, make sure that the plastic provided is resistant to heat, because no one wants a melted plastic handle as a side dish. Hinged grill baskets usually come with some sort of a heavy-duty handle, which is necessary because of all the flipping that will be happening.
3. Basket size
This may come off as a surprise, but people tend to think they do not need large cookware while grilling. And they are often wrong. When it comes to grill basket size, it is better to have a larger-sized model, than to cook side-dishes in multiple batches. The variety of choice is there, however, it is much more important to make a fairly accurate estimation of how much food will you prepare.
If you have regular grill cookouts, get a bigger grill basket. One basket is usually going to cover side dishes for at least two people, but the more room to grill you have, the better.
Also, if you need to separate different types of veggies and meats, or you like to keep your mushrooms out of the mix, there are options out there to fill that role. Some models have 2 identical, but separated, compartments for dividing different types of food.
4. Dealing with open fire
Some grill basket models have enough material resilience to be exposed to open flame, like campfire or ranger bonfire. If you are an outdoor person and like to cook while you spend your time in nature, make sure to check if the grill basket you want has this feature. For people that go on large hikes, carrying grill grates and portable grills is not an option due to the limited weight of stuff they can carry. A larger grill basket which is resistant to open flame can jump in to fill the role of the whole grill.
If you do plan to use your grill basket on an open flame, make sure to get a model with no plastic, or other flammable material parts whatsoever.
These unique and helpful cooking inventions are becoming more and more popular by the day. They make a great addition to your grill arsenal because of their versatility, and the health benefits they bring. Not to mention that grilling fish and veggies is made a lot easier and hassle-free.
Use our guide and our reviews as a tool, and make a checklist before you decide on the best grill basket for yourself. There are several types to choose from, so make sure to get the right one that suits your needs. Calculate the size of the meals you most often make, and the number of people that eat the food you make with the grill basket.
In case you have to ask us or add something in general, we encourage you to do so in the comment section below, and we will gladly provide an answer. Let’s get grilling!