Problem: To Baste or Not to Baste?
You want to put the bird in the oven and forget about it. Your husband wants to baste it at every commercial break.
SolutionIt depends on your priorities. “Basting is purely a skin treatment,” says Wolke. Its only purpose is to facilitate browning and crisping. He adds that rubbing the turkey generously with oil or butter before you put it in the oven will do the job almost as well. (But be sure to pat the bird completely dry first; if the skin is wet, the fat won’t adhere.)
Not only is frequent basting a hassle but it can also wreak havoc with your cooking time. “If you do it every 20 minutes or so,” Wolke says, “you're losing a lot of heat from the oven by opening the door frequently.” If you or that loved one in your kitchen insists on basting, cookbook author and chef Sara Moulton advises that you prevent excess heat from escaping by taking the entire pan out of the oven and closing the door.