It’s not essential but a BBQ fish basket can make grilling your fish a lot easier. Most fish tends to flake when it’s cooked and turning it on your barbecue grill can be a bit tricky and if it sticks or breaks apart then it can be a disaster.
This is where a BBQ fish basket, or fish rack, can be a great aid from initially putting your fish on to the grill, turning it and then removing it when it’s cooked through. Essentially your fish is supported while it’s cooking and so it’s very difficult to break it while positioning, cooking and moving it on your BBQ grill.
Fundamentally the fish rack comprises of two wire frames that are hinged at one edge which can be closed over the fish with the frames held together at the opposite, handle, end by one or more metal rings. The handle can either be bare metal or made from an insulating material, usually wood or plastic.
One thing to keep in mind is to look for a fish basket that has a long handle as this will enable you to place your fish over the heat but leave the ends protruding over the edge of the grill and keep cool. Alternatively you can buy models that have removable handles.
There are many different types and shapes of basket
but they basically come in two varieties: fish shaped which are made to hold a single fish, square or rectangle in shape which are designed to hold one or more fish. A common design is a model that holds three fish.
These baskets are designed to cook one whole fish and come in a variety of sizes and are ideal for cooking fish the size of a trout or mackerel, but a large salmon will be just too big for even the largest of fish racks.
Available either as one long basket or with the part that holds the fish positioned at a right angle to the handle to form a ‘T’ shape. Which one to pick is based on personal choice but the ‘T’ shaped design can be more balanced and a little easier to handle.
Meant to be used to grill more than one piece of fish at a time these racks are available as a plain mesh design or partitioned to hold up to three fish. The partitioned design allows you to cook one, two or three fish at once.
The advantage of the plain mesh models is that you can make maximum use of the rack to cook a number of pieces of fish, four salmon fillets say, in one go. Or you could one medium sized diagonally across the rack.
In my opinion if I had to choose either a single fish or a square/rectangular model I’d go for the latter as it allows more options. I’ve used this type of fish basket not just for fish but for grilling burgers and sausages as well, making it easy to turn multiple bits of food in one go.
Lots of BBQ fish baskets are now available with detachable handles but these are generally more expensive than a comparable basket with a fixed handle. The advantage of having a detachable handle is that your basket is going to take up less room on the grill and you’ll also be able to completely close your BBQ’s lid. There’s also concern with heating the handles and potentially burning yourself.
In my opinion there are a couple of disadvantages:
In time you’ll probably end up with a collection of fish baskets, but I’ve already mentioned that if I needed to choose one basket I’d go for a plain square/rectangular model.
Would I choose one with a detachable handle? If cost was an issue I’d rather spend my money on a robust, quality model which I think is more important than a detachable handle. That said, if you’d prefer a model with a detachable handle, go for it.