Basting is unnecessary if the meat has a natural fat covering and is roasted fat side up. For lean meats, barding has the same effect. Barding is covering the surface of the meat with a thin layer of fat, such as sliced pork fatback or bacon.

If a roast is basted by spooning pan drippings over it, use only the fat. Fat protects the roast from drying, while moisture washes away protective fat and allows drying. Juices used in basting will not soak into the meat.

Basting with drippings or juices may be used to increase the appetite appeal of the roast because it enhances browning. Gelatin and other solids dissolved in the juices are deposited on the surface of the meat, helping form a flavorful brown crust.This does not increase juiciness, however. Some cookbooks claim that basting forms a waterproof coating that seals in juices, but this is not the case.

Basting sometimes produces more tender roasts for an unexpected reason: Frequent basting interrupts and slows down the cooking. Every time the oven door is opened, the temperature in the oven drops considerably, so the roasting time is longer and more connective tissue breaks down.Thus,it is not the basting but the lower temperature that increases tenderness.

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