Silicon (is that what they are?) brushes
Today for about the fifth time, I picked up one of those new fangled silicon brushes, for brushing butter on food, or barbecue sauce, etc. I turned it over and over and was put off by the price ($9.95). However, I have thrown out our old bristle brush because it became disgusting and impossible to clean, and I spread butter with the back of a spoon the other day, and I think I need a new brush, but I can't quite bring myself to buy one.
Please tell me if these silicon things are worth it, tell me I need one, I don't know why I have such resistance, I do have the $10.
I have some of those silicon brushes (got them cheap at Marshall's) - and I like them for things like oiling my pre-heated Le Creuset grill pans because they don't burn. We use a long handled one out on the grill too. But for everything else, I still prefer old-fashioned bristle brushes. I buy natural bristle paint brushes from Home Depot for around $1.50 a piece. They come in a few different widths and they hold up really well. They're so cheap that when they get gross I just toss 'em and buy some new ones.
I could not agree with flourgirl more. I use the plain old cheap bristle brushes, dispose as needed. The silicone one (I did not buy it, my BF has one in his kitchen) cannot compare to them, interms of holding stuff that you want to brush. However, and this is a big reason why they are handy, they take heat REALLY well.
So depending on how you tend to use your brushes, unless you need it for heat, silicone brushes are just, neat and decorative to have, but not needed.
My take is a big NO! I used one once with my home made barbecue and it took on a sour smell right after the first use. For some odd reason they seem to retain moisture of which sours.
I would use a NSF listed nylon brush over them any day of the week.
NSF listed nylon brush TIP: If they are used around any fats, butter, or sauces, I found out the bristles need to be cleaned with a couple of drops of dish soap and worked around with a few drops of water. Then work that in for at least 30 seconds to displace any food related residues. Rinse well under, highest tolerated temperature of hot water till clear. Repeat the bristles still feel even slightly greasy. Allow to fully air dry before storing.
Silicone is inert. I suggest, if you washed it as you do the NSF nylons you like (I admit I do not) it would clean up well. Heck you can boil silicone clean.
Like the nylon, the silicone will retain the fats longer, same cleaning and even a boil does the trick. But as they are inert and without a seam or a binding, I do not think they "hold" any moisture.
I just do not like them as well, as the "bristles" are fat and widely spaced and do not sop up your basting item well.
I have both kinds in my kitchen and I use the silicone for whatever is thick enough for it to hold onto. I like that I can toss it in the dishwasher.
It's silicone, not silicon, and I wish I could convince the adorable jackp to ditch those nasty old brushes (which I gleefully throw away the minute his back is turned) and use the easily cleaned silicone versions. Silicone does not absorb sauce, fat, meat juices and so on and gross stuff cannot creep under the bristles as it can on the other sort. I'd prefer to use the old-fashioned brushes, being a reformed hippie type, but the ability to keep those silicone brushes clean is what makes me use them.