What is a Basket Roasting Rack?

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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 June 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
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Cooks who prepare roasts or small birds, like chickens, struggle with the problem of getting the meat cooked and browned evenly on all sides. One solution to this problem is to use a basket roasting rack. A basket roasting rack serves the same purpose as many other roasting racks: it allows drippings to fall into the roasting pan and exposes all sides of the meat to the oven’s heat.

A basket roasting rack looks a little like a firewood rack. It is essentially a sheet of metal, bent into a U-shape, with even perforations all over. Handles on each side do double duty. They suspend the meat over the roasting pan and they enable the cook to lift and transport the basket roasting rack to and from the oven.

A basket roasting rack probably has its origins in spit cooking or campfire cooking. Cooks realized early on that, in order to have meat browned on all sides, it was necessary to expose the entire surface area to the flames. If one didn’t have a boy to turn the spit, or trained dogs to do it, the next best thing was to put the meat on metal grating to get it evenly browned. The basket roasting rack almost certainly came out of that cooking tradition.

The usual basket roasting rack is made from steel or aluminum, and is often coated with a non-stick finish to keep the meat from burning to the surface. Most racks can hold meat weighing between 5 and 8 pounds (2.3 to 3.6 kilograms). The basket roasting rack is placed over the roasting pan, usually with the handles holding the rack out of the pan and drippings. The cook roasts the meat according to type and weight, figuring a certain number of minutes per pound. The cook can also save the drippings from the roasting pan to make au jus or gravy, to serve with the meat.

A basket roasting rack will cost from $30-$50 U.S. Dollars (USD), depending on the metal type and finish. They are available online and from kitchen supply stores. A basket roasting rack is a handy item to have in a well-stocked kitchen, particularly for the cook who frequently prepares roasted meat.


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