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What is a Fat Separator?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2014
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Sometimes referred to as a fat skimmer, the purpose of the fat separator is to allow liquid fat to be removed from the juices that emitted from the meat during the cooking process. This allows the juices to be used to greater effect in gravies and sauces. It is also a great way to reduce the fat content of a number of different foods, making them more healthy for consumption.

There are in fact several different devices that can rightly be referred to as a fat separator. For example, if the task is to remove fat that has bubbled to the top on the outside of a roast, then a bulb baster can be used to remove the collected fat from the juices. There are some larger kitchen spoons that can also be used to skim along the top where the liquid fat is floating and remove it from the prepared dish. Skimming fat is easily accomplished with a flat spoon. The use of a spoon to separate fat is common when skimming any layers of fat from the top of soups and stews. Essentially, any kitchen device that is used to remove liquefied fat from food in preparation qualifies as a form of fat separator.

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However, there is a kitchen utensil that is actually referred to as a fat separator. This device resembles a small pitcher and is usually made of a clear material, such as clear resin plastic or heat resistant glass, with a spout attaching to the lower part of the pitcher. Using this pitcher style separator requires that the meat drippings be poured into the pitcher. From there, the fats will rise to the surface of the drippings. Gathering fat to the surface makes it possible to pour the drippings out of the spout, while the fat remains in the pitcher. Separating fat from the drippings using this type of separator is quick, easy, and potentially less messy than many other methods.

Fat separators are not costly, and can often be found in the kitchen sections of any discount retail store. Kitchen shops will also carry several types of the fat skimmer, with some being specialized and others for more general use. Typically, this tool does not cost a great deal, and will last for a number of years.

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googlefanz
Post 3

Oh, I totally agree with the article, I couldn't live without my gravy separator!

I cook a lot of foods, and being from the South, many of my recipes are high fat, high calorie. That's why it's always a good idea for me to have my fat strainer around. Just seeing all the icky fat I can get off of things makes me feel healthier just by looking at it.

And besides, mine has never given me any problems keeping clean. I just pop it in the dishwasher after I'm done with it and it turns out fine. Of course, you have to wash it pretty quick after you use it, and you have to wash it every time after you use it, other wise the grease can build up pretty easily. But if you use it properly and wash it properly, you shouldn't have any problem.

musicshaman
Post 2

@galen84basc -- I have to agree with you there. Somebody gave my husband and I a gravy fat separator for our wedding, and it is an absolute mess to work with, and even worse to clean.

Of course, it's kind of an older model. I saw a really nice one the other day on amazon, something like the OXO good grips fat separator? That one actually looked OK, but since I don't make gravy all that much, and the few times that I did actually make it with the separator were an absolute horror, I wouldn't bother with it.

I know it's not quite as healthy, but I have my limit when it comes to cleaning things, and that old gravy fat separator definitely passed it.

galen84basc
Post 1

Yeesh -- that sounds kind of gross, to be perfectly honest. And how would you clean it? The whole getting rid of the fat thing sounds awesome, but the clean up sounds like it could be a real nightmare.

I've never had a fat separator, but I did once have a cream separator, and I can tell you -- never again! I could never get that thing clean all the way, no matter how hard I tried. It was simply an impossibility.

So what about you guys, do you have a fat separator or strainer, and do you like it? Would you say that it is easier to clean than a cream separator?

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