Questions for cooks: Splatter free

Reader Nagle submitted the following to Questions for cooks:

I have always wondered how people avoid having a kitchen coated in splatter when using their stove-top griddles for cooking steaks, etc. It seems to me that the clean-up is not worth the “convenience” of cooking inside. So, I avoid doing it … Is there a trick I don’t know about?

When cooking steaks, frying something on the stove, or making a tomato-based sauce, I simply use a splatter guard. It significantly reduces the amount of oil, fat, and sauce splatter that makes it onto the stove, underside of the microwave, into the air, and on me.

sauce splatter

Splatter guards don’t last very long — maybe six months — so I get the least expensive one with the smallest mesh I can find. I toss it into the dishwasher after a meal, and recycle it when it’s time to get a new one.

I also keep a damp sponge with a dollop of dishwashing detergent on it next to the stove as I cook. If I notice any spills or splatters, I clean them up immediately before they can dry and become difficult to remove. Cleaning as you go saves a lot of time over the long term. I also throw the sponge into the dishwasher at the end of the day to clean it. Then, after it has gone through the dishwasher, I’ll get the sponge damp again and throw it into the microwave for a few minutes to kill any remaining bacteria and germs — just be sure to let the sponge cool thoroughly before touching it again.

I have to say, though, that I like grilling and I think it’s fun to do even in the coldest of winter. If cooking outside is something you enjoy year round, by all means keep cooking outdoors. I especially like how it keeps the mess out my kitchen, too.

Thank you, Nagle, for submitting your question for our Questions for cooks column. Be sure to check the comments for even more ideas from our readers.

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