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What is the fat mesh for cooking?

The fat mesh is a special type of mesh used in cooking to help render and drain fat from meat and other fatty foods. It allows fat to drip away from food during cooking, resulting in dishes that are less greasy. The mesh is made up of woven stainless steel or other heat-safe metals with small holes that let fat pass through while keeping food above.

What is the Purpose of the Fat Mesh?

The main purposes of using a fat mesh when cooking are:

  • Drain away excess fat and grease – The holes in the mesh allow liquid fat to drip down into the pan/tray below while keeping the food up above the rendered fat.
  • Promote browning and crisping – With the fat able to drip away, the food can brown and crisp up nicely when cooking without sitting in a pool of grease.
  • Make foods healthier – Draining away extra fat can remove a lot of excess calories, cholesterol, and saturated fats from dishes like bacon, ground meat, and chicken with skin.
  • Reduce smoking and spatters – Fat renders away below the food rather than sautéing in the pan, lessening smoking and grease splatters.
  • Keep foods from stewing – Gets food up out of its own fat and juices to avoid stewing.

The fat mesh is essentially a simple but useful cooking tool for anyone looking to cook healthier versions of typically fatty meats and other foods. The draining away of fat allows you to enjoy delicious crispy bacon, browned beef crumbles, and chicken with skin without all the extra grease.

When Should You Use a Fat Mesh?

Some of the top times to utilize a fat mesh include:

  • Cooking fatty cuts of meat like bacon, sausage, ground beef or pork.
  • Roasting whole chickens with the skin on.
  • Frying breaded foods like schnitzel or tonkatsu to drain excess oil.
  • Cooking fatty fish like salmon or trout.
  • Making carnitas, confit duck, or other braised meats.
  • Searing fatty steaks like ribeye.
  • Roasting veggies coated in oil, like potatoes or eggplant.

In general, a fat mesh comes in handy anytime you are cooking something with a high fat content and want to promote browning and crisping. It can be used in the oven, on the stovetop, or on the grill to improve the finished results of all kinds of delicious recipes.

What Are the Different Types of Fat Meshes?

There are a few different styles of fat meshes available:

  • Wire mesh sheets – These consist of sturdy woven stainless steel wire that lays flat in sheets. They often come in half sheet pans or can be cut to size.
  • Wire mesh racks – Shaped like cooling racks but with smaller holes, these stand up off the pan.
  • Mesh baskets – Round mesh cups or baskets are ideal for frying or air frying.
  • Grill mesh sheets – Made to lay across grill grates with small holes to drain fat and juices.
  • Mesh balls – Metal balls with holes can be placed under meat to prop it up over a tray.

The flat wire mesh sheets are the most common and versatile style. But all types are good for allowing fat to drain away from food for healthier cooking with crispy results.

What Materials Are Used to Make Fat Mesh?

The most common materials used to construct fat mesh cooking tools include:

  • Stainless steel – This is the most popular choice as it’s durable, non-toxic, and withstands high heat. Stainless steel mesh sheets are reusable.
  • Aluminum – An affordable option, aluminum meshes should be lined with parchment to prevent reactions with acidic foods. Reusable.
  • Chrome-plated steel – Offers an attractive finish and is durable like stainless steel. Reusable.
  • Teflon-coated fiberglass – Provides excellent non-stick properties but may degrade over time with use.
  • Silicone – Flexible and withstands heat, but not as durable long term compared to metal mesh.

Stainless steel is prized for its strength, longevity through repeated use, and ability to handle high temperatures. It’s also easier to clean dried-on fats compared to materials like silicone or Teflon-coated fiberglass mesh.

How to Use a Fat Mesh

Using a fat mesh when cooking is simple:

  1. Place the fat mesh over a suitable cooking vessel like a sheet pan, baking dish, or grill pan.
  2. Place the food you want to cook on top of the mesh. Meat and veggies can simply sit directly on the mesh surface.
  3. Cook the food as desired, by roasting, grilling, pan frying, etc. Fat will drain away through the mesh holes as it renders out.
  4. Once cooking is complete, carefully remove the mesh and discard excess grease from the pan below. Serve food hot off the mesh.
  5. Allow the mesh to cool fully before cleaning. Soap and water or a degreaser can remove any residue.

A fat mesh elevates food off cooking surfaces to promote air flow and prevents it from sitting in hot fat. This results in crispier, tastier dishes that are lower in fat and calories!

Benefits of Using a Fat Mesh

There are many excellent benefits to cooking with a fat mesh:

  • Food is less greasy
  • Excess fat drips away for healthier meals
  • Food browns and crisps up nicely
  • Natural flavors get concentrated without grease
  • Cooking surfaces have less mess and splatter
  • Reusable so it’s eco-friendly and saves you money
  • Easy to use with a wide range of ingredients

Overall, a fat mesh promotes healthy cooking while delivering delicious crispy results. The drained away grease makes meals much lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories without sacrificing the tasty browned foods you love.

Tips for Cooking with a Fat Mesh

Here are some helpful tips to get the most out of your fat mesh:

  • Use parchment paper under the mesh for easier cleanup.
  • Try mesh sheets for bacon – microwaving between paper towels crisps it up.
  • Spray mesh with oil first for really delicate foods like fish fillets.
  • Cut mesh sheets into custom sizes to fit any pan.
  • Stack layers for thicker foods like chicken or meatloaf.
  • Let fat drain before removing food from the mesh.
  • Use silicone brush to spread sauce or glaze over food on the mesh.

Experiment with the fat mesh when roasting, baking, frying, or grilling to find your favorite uses. Adjust cooking times, temperatures, and mesh placements as needed based on the results.

Common Questions about Fat Mesh

What’s the difference between a fat mesh and a cooling rack?

Cooling racks are designed primarily for air circulation to cool baked goods. Fat mesh has much smaller holes specifically to allow fat drainage while keeping food supported. Cooling racks won’t drain fat effectively.

Can you use fat mesh in the microwave?

Yes, stainless steel and chrome-plated mesh can safely be used to cover food in the microwave. It helps food crisp up without becoming soggy.

Is fat mesh reusable?

Quality stainless steel fat mesh can be reused many times. Wash carefully after use and avoid abrasive scouring. With proper care, fat mesh will last for years.

Is there a disposable version of fat mesh?

Some options like Teflon fiberglass or silicone mesh sheets may be disposable. But reusable stainless steel mesh is more economical long term.

What size fat mesh is best?

The most versatile size is approximately a half sheet pan (13×16 inches). But small meshes for air frying or large meshes for grilling have their uses as well.


Cooking with a fat mesh offers many benefits for improving the taste, texture, and nutrition of all kinds of delicious recipes. Allowing excess fat to drain away while food crisps results in healthier versions of fried chicken, juicy burgers, crispy fries, and so much more. Investing in a good quality stainless steel fat mesh is a cooking upgrade that any chef will appreciate and find numerous uses for. Give fat mesh a try for your next meat or veggie dish to see how well it crisps things up without all the extra grease!