Basting allows you to coat any meat with a delectable sauce as it cooks, allowing the flavors in the sauce to penetrate the cooking meat, mingle with the juices, and seal in those spices and tastes. Basting also helps keep meats that might otherwise dry out stay moist.
Invest in a Good Basting Tool
All kinds of basting tools are available, but you'll want to have the right one on hand for your specific recipe. Basting syringes are great for sucking up turkey drippings and depositing them back on the bird, but basting brushes (which look much like big paint brushes) are best for applying basting sauces, such as barbeque sauce for items cooking on the grill. Check out the basting tool section of your local kitchenware store for ideas.
Read the Directions Carefully
Basting your turkey every 30 minutes might sound like a great idea to you, but, if you're covering that turkey in a big roaster pan, you may not want to remove the cover that often, letting out valuable hot steam. Check the recipe carefully to make sure you won't wreck your dish by removing the cover, opening the oven or opening the grill to baste.
Baste Often, But Not Too Often
You want to get that delicious flavor on the meat, but you don't want so much sauce on there that it's dripping into your grill and putting out your fire. You also want to make sure you don't interrupt the cooking process in the oven too often; every time you open that door, valuable heat escapes, the internal temperature of the oven goes down drastically, and you add cooking time onto your meal. Make sure you find the right balance for the item you are cooking.
Use Sauces That Work With, Not Against Your Cooking Method
This is especially important when you are cooking over a grill, where the flames can be extinguished from a wet or heavy basting sauce. You'll also want to make sure the flavor of the sauce doesn't overpower the meat you are basting. Stick with sauces that complement instead of overpower your meat.
Protect Yourself From the Heat
Remember to use protective oven mitts when you baste. The food is being cooked at high temperatures, and you don't want to singe yourself basting. Use caution and enjoy the smell of the food as you're cooking. Let the anticipation build as you baste to your heart's delight.
When you braise a piece of meat, you are tenderizing it and enhancing its flavor. It is a time-consuming process, but you may find the tenderness, flavor and wonderful aroma as the meat cooks to be addictive. Braised meat is a true treat.
If you want to cook food lightly so it retains crispness and moisture, but you still want to add flavor, you'll want to learn how to sauté. This cooking method helps you to cook healthfully and elegantly; some of the best seafood dishes, like shrimp or scallops with vegetables, are best when prepared using this culinary technique.