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Butter Basting = Too Greasy?


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Hey everyone - got a quick question that I thought I'd come to the forum experts for some advice on. Whenever I pan roast proteins, one thing that I do about 2/3 of the way through cooking is add about 1 tbsp butter, a sprig or two of thyme, and a clove of garlic to the pan. I then use this flavored butter to baste the protein for a couple minutes. However, this always seems to dissolve whatever semblance of a crust that I had previously developed and also cause the protein to be a little too greasy. Does anyone know where I could be going wrong? I know this is a pretty common technique that is supposed to produce some great results.

Thanks in advance!

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I was always taught that adding liquid to the pan--and this includes butter, oil, etc--during roasting was a bad idea. Moisture destroying the crust and all, which was attained by the drying effect of the oven.

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Are you doing this on top of the stove on the fire or in the oven? When I butter baste I either do all the way on top of the stove or before the protein goes in the oven. Once your in the oven I wouldn't touch it unless you didn't get a good sear going in.

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It's important to use at least moderately high heat to butter baste. I would use it as a finishing technique--like when your protein comes out of the oven and is almost done. You want to get rid of your old fat from the pan, pour it out, and add your butter, herbs, garlic, whatever, and wait until it melts and gets FOAMY. The foamy part is important as this will help keep your crust. I would also use more than 1 tbsp of butter. Really, all that is going to do is just melt over the meat. If you want a true BASTE you need to melt a good amount of butter, get it hot and foamy, and continuously spoon the butter over the meat. It should sizzle quite visibly.

You can also, when the protein is resting, blot gently with a paper towel to remove excess fat if you wish. But a light, even coat of butter once it's out of the pan is ideal.

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Thanks for all the replies. If I put the roast in the oven, I'll baste it after it comes out of the oven so I don't think that's the issue. I think my issue might have more to do with temperature of the butter and the amount of butter I'm using. Qwerty, how much butter would you suggest to use for say a 3/4lb ribeye? I usually melt the butter and wait for the it to settle down before I start basting. Are you saying I should wait longer and it'll become frothy before I baste?

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Well, I'm saying that your pan should be hot enough so that the butter will sizzle almost immediately after putting it in. Obviously, scorching the meat or butter is not what you want, but you definitely want an aggressive "foaming" action to take place. It should continuously foam as you baste it over the meat as well....I guess I really don't know how to describe it beyond that. You want to use a good amount of butter, probably at least 2 or 3 tablespoons. Remember, you are doing this as a finishing technique and won't ingest most of the butter.

Also, take a look at this thread. It is a similar method though the butter is incorporated much earlier but this might work for you as well.

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This is interesting. I butter baste early (and frankly often) and then about 2/3 through I stop and allow it to finish. I always have a lovely crust. Sort of the opposite of what you are talking about. After I pull it out of the oven I will o a "light" (ie not saturating) baste and then allow the meat to rest.

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It can really be done either way....the OP was talking about when he/she bastes it removes some of the crust. The way to prevent that from happening is to use hot foaming butter. I don't know the scientific/technical reason why but I think it has something to do with the water content of the butter, etc.

You can use butter earlier in the cooking time and still get great results. Also, I might say that basting with butter is a little different than cooking with butter and using butter to develop the crust.

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It can really be done either way....the OP was talking about when he/she bastes it removes some of the crust. The way to prevent that from happening is to use hot foaming butter. I don't know the scientific/technical reason why but I think it has something to do with the water content of the butter, etc.

You can use butter earlier in the cooking time and still get great results. Also, I might say that basting with butter is a little different than cooking with butter and using butter to develop the crust.

Foaming butter still has the fat solids which have not separated out. I would think that these fat solids would add to browning and crust formation and I would suspect that the water has been reduced while the butter is foaming.

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