Splatter Screens

Published January 1, 2007. From Cook's Illustrated.

Pan-frying can be a messy business—here's how to make it a little neater.

Overview:

Be it bacon, steaks, or fish fillets, pan-frying can be a messy business. Splatter screens-sieve-like mesh or perforated metal disks with handles-aim to overlay a skillet and combat grease splatters. But after frying five pounds of bacon, protected by nine splatter screens, it became clear to us that not all models could earn their keep.

Some screens fell just shy of the skillet's edge. Diameters of 12 inches or less proved insufficient for skillets with an equally large face. And models with overlaying-and painfully heat-absorbing-handles were highly problematic. Gimmicky designs, such as adjustable arms or dual screens designed to fit skillets of varying sizes, did not work.

Traditional lollipop-shaped models were better. Though no single screen perfectly combined splatter-proofing with ergonomic stability, our winner was recognized for its nearly impermeable mesh face, which corralled the grease and kept our hands clean.

Be it bacon, steaks, or fish fillets, pan-frying can be a messy business. Splatter screens-sieve-like mesh or perforated metal disks with handles-aim to overlay a skillet and combat grease splatters. But after frying five pounds of bacon, protected by nine splatter screens, it became clear to us that not all models could earn their keep.

Some screens fell just shy of the skillet's edge. Diameters of 12 inches or less proved insufficient for skillets with an equally large face. And models with overlaying-and painfully heat-absorbing-handles were highly problematic. Gimmicky designs, such as adjustable arms or dual screens designed to fit skillets of varying sizes, did not work.

Traditional lollipop-shaped models were better. Though no single screen perfectly combined splatter-proofing with ergonomic stability, our winner was recognized for its nearly impermeable mesh face, which corralled the grease and kept our hands clean.

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