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May 27, 2012 02:55 AM

Basting Spoon

Does anybody have a favorite basting spoon they can recommend?

I've become interested in the pan-basting technique that I see a lot of chefs do these days, where they cook a steak or seafood on the stovetop as they keep on spooning the top of the food with juices or melted butter.

When I checked Cook's Illustrated, their favorite basting spoon was one from Rosle. But, I'm not sure what's so special about Rosle's basting spoon or why you even need a basting spoon in the first place- can't you use a regular spoon you already own to do the same thing?

And, how versatile is a basting spoon? Is it just good at basting, or can it also do other tasks well too? Does the shape and size of the basting spoon mean it will be good for saucing too, or is something like the Gray Kunz spoon a better option for saucing?

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  1. No restaurant would pay $30 for a spoon of any sort. A regular stainless steel spoon from your restaurant supply store which will cost $2-5 is more than sufficient. At home I'd just use a regular tablespoon. Nonsense. Next you'll need to buy a water stirring spoon, a salted water stirring spoon, a spoon for stirring water with potatoes in it, a spoon for stirring water with pasta in it and the list goes on. Anything that can hold liquid of any amount with work. Tongs, a table spoon, a tea spoon, a measuring spoon, a measuring cup, a teacup, a saucer, a silicone brush, a pastry brush, an empty margarine container, a turkey baster. I'd use my bare hands before I spent $30 on a spoon specialized in taking liquid from a pan and inverting said liquid over food.

    3 Replies
    1. re: TeRReT

      Totally agree with your sentiments TeRreT. However, the real item does exist, and looks like this:

      I have inherited a pair (Sheffield Plate, not the real McCoy, sadly) and their length was necessary to baste meat roasting over an open fire in the pre oven days, which is when they were made. Otherwise medium rare fingers would result. I find them semi-useful for basting roasting meat without removing it from the oven, and they look good on the table at Christmas, but I would never buy one.

      1. re: TeRReT

        Yes, but its just as nonsensical the way we fetishize knives where we spend hundreds of dollars just for a fancy chef knife with a damacus pattern, a different knife to cut bread, another knife to cut fish, a knife to cut cheese, a knife for carving, another knife for slicing, a smaller paring knife, a flexible boning knife and a rigid boning knife, and the list goes on. People buy all those different types of knives even though a lot of chefs will argue you should be able to do most of those tasks with just a chef's knife and a lot of cooks in a restaurant are more than happy with their $30 Forschner chef knives.

        Why do we fetishize knives, but not spoons? Or, more accurately, why do home cooks fetishize knives but not spoons when cooks and chefs in a restaurant value their spoons a lot. When they are interviewed about their favorite tools or most essential tools, the spoon, specifically the Gray Kunz spoon, comes up a lot.

        If a $2-$5 regular spoon is more than sufficient and that no restaurant would spend much more than that for a spoon of any sort, what about the popularity of the Gray Kunz spoons which cost around $10 and another $10 to ship?

        1. re: hobbess

          I've never worked in a restaurant that has ordered anything online and had it shipped. Its all about going to the restaurant supply store because generally when we need something we're in the weeds and need it right away. Plus we can feel and touch things and get exactly what we want and get a discount on an already cheap item.

          As far as knives, I am far more efficient with my own knives, and my knives come with me wherever I go, spoons and other things don't. I don't use one knife for everything, I don't use many, but I use the ones that allow me to do what I need to do the fastest possible and the cleanest possible with the best results and least waste.

          I suppose technically one spoon is different from another when it comes to spooning up liquid and pouring it on something. A 25ml spoon might be more effective than a 10ml spoon, but at the end of the day, any spoon will work fine and most places have enough spoons that there will be one that works well enough. Its the same with anything in the kitchen, the black handled spatula is best for turning foie, the wooden handled one is best for stirring the risotto, the bent spoon is best for the butter, the half melted handled spoon is for propping the door open. We learn to be efficient and find things that work the best, but a special order spoon for basting is going to be extremely low on the list of things to get.

          Knives are a completely different beast. I probably obsess over them more than is necessary, but certainly good knives are important in a kitchen, home or professional. If we're charging $50 for a steak it damn well better be trimmed well, cut smoothly and if there's too much waste the chef will definitely have your butt. You've gotta be able to filet a fish quickly, and either leave the skin pristine, or take the skin off and leave it pristine. If you use a butter knife or a rusty chipped knife it simple won't work for these things.

          And knives often are owned by the line cooks, not the kitchen, so it can be afforded that they are obsessed over. No kitchen provides amazing knives for use. They'd be stolen or abused, a basic victorinox or similar set is provided but thats about it.

          I value spoons, but any kitchen I've worked in has the same spoons. Regular large stainless spoons, slotted large stainless spoons, wooden spoons, measuring spoons and generally if you need a tablespoon or teaspoon you go and steal them from the front of the house because kitchens never seem to have the forethought to have their own set.

      2. This is the closest thing to an industry standard spoon that exists in fine dining. Gray Kunz spoons are very common in pro kitchens. They have a big bowl perfect for basting and saucing and they make great quenelles. Its a jack of all trades and I keep both sizes in my knife roll.

        1. I like the Pyrex silicone spoon, for the material, the shape of the bowl, and the shape of the handle. That is, everything:

          This is a large spoon, however. Perhaps not what you're after.

          1. a stainless steel bulb syringe works better than a spoon.

            1. I usually use a regular dinner spoon. But I would like to understand what makes a basting spoon a basting spoon. Should it have thinner edges than a regular dinner spoon? Or a bigger bowl or a deeper bowl? Does the shape matter? What are the advantages of a spoon that's marketed as a "basting spoon"?

              3 Replies
                1. re: goodeatsgal

                  These are the dimensions for the Pyrex basting spoon:
                  14.5" H x 1.25" W x 2.85" D

                  Advantages seem to be length of handle to protect fingers, depth to scoop up lots of liquid, and somewhat narrow to more easily reach into tight areas.

                  I think my bulb syringe handles the job quite nicely and is faster to use.

                  1. re: meatn3

                    Thanks, meatn3. Very helpful. :-)