How a fish basket is used depends on what kind of fish basket one has. There is a floating fish basketfor fishing, and it has hinges and trap doors. I don’t fish, I’ve never used one but I tried to search the web for information on how it is used. What I found was pretty confusing. I’m not sure if the basket is thrown into the water to catch fish or whether the fish that had been caught is placed in the basket and kept on water. The first makes sense, the second does not, but then what do I know about fishing anyway?
The fish basket that I am familiar with is the kind used for grilling. It doesn’t look anything like a basket if your definition of basket is the kind you bring to the market. A fish basket has two parts. First, the basket itself which is more like a shallow wire container and, second, the handle. The container is like a bivalve shell. You open it and put the fish inside then you close and lock it. You put the entire thing on the grill and, holding the fish basket by the handle, the fish can be turned over without difficulty.
Most grilling fish baskets are large enough to hold two to three fish at a time. This GrillPro 24014 Non-Stick Triple Fish Basket is shaped to hold three fish snugly with the basket contoured to the shape of a fish.
And then there are the fancier ones. This Cuisinart CNFB-433 Non-Stick Fish Basket has a soft rubberized and heat-resistant handle, and a non-stick wire basket.
At home, we use a very simple fish basket. The wire basket is square and flat with no contours in the shape of a fish. Bought at the supermarket, it is pretty cheap. It can hold two medium-sized tilapia comfortably. But we don’t use it exclusively for grilling fish.
We use it for grilling meat and chicken too. Slices of pork belly can lie side by side in the basket and because they are trapped inside, they don’t curl up during grilling.
The basket is even more convenient for grilling chicken halves and butterflied chicken. The chicken appendages — the legs and wings — which have a tendency to stick out in the heat are kept flat and in place. Hence, no part of the chicken gets too close or too far from the heat, and that ensures even cooking.
Is a fish basket a “must have” for home grilling? No, it isn’t, but it is convenient to have one. If you’re planning on doing a lot of grilling over the holidays, it’ll be a very useful tool to have.