How to tell if basket is safe to cook in?


Grill Master
i was going out for my 3am dinner break the other morning and noticed a small, shiny metal basket on the top of a box of things that were to be thrown away on the loading dock.

it looked like it was brand new, and it was on top of a box of old junk mail and a broken frame of shelves so i can only assume that it was some kind of tray used on someone's desk for incoming/outgoing mail.

it happens to be the perfect size to fit across the three burners of my grill, and i was just looking into buying a grill basket so that i could more easily cook fish, shrimp, small veggies, and the like, so i grabbed the thing and put it under my desk.

but now my question is how can i tell if it's safe to cook on? i took a knife a sliced into one of the corners and it appears to be some type of silver coloured metal plating ove copper coloured wire. i'd like to think that it's chrome covered copper, but i was wondering if anyone knows of a way to test it to see what it's made of, or at least away to test if it's safe to use in cooking? i don't want to take a chance that the plating material is dangerous, such as that it might contain lead or other bad metals.

tia for any help you can give.


Pizza Chef
Super Site Supporter
a magnet will tell you if it's copper or steel -

if it's galvanized that would be a bad thing . . . .


New member
I would say you could cook on just about any metal besides galvanized. The plating over the copper will probably burn off depending on the temperatures that you use. I would say heat up see what happens if the plating flakes I would say be careful, just my opinion.


Resident Curmudgeon
Gold Site Supporter
I think I would pass, just put it back in the trash bin.

With the way things are made nowadays there is no telling what was used in the plating process especially if it came from China. Same for the base material, could be anything.



Mess Cook
Super Site Supporter
This is not the place I would try to save 10 bucks. Too many unknowns. A lot of metal not intended for cooking is coated to preserve the finish, and unknown metals from unknown sources would be too risky.