Give your gravies a healthy kick by extracting fats and only serving juicy goodness. Fat separation is a quick and easy process that only requires one tool, a fat separator. This is the best invention for increasing both the flavor and health levels of your soups, stocks and gravies (especially at Thanksgiving).
When buying a fat separator, it’s important to note that they are usually sized to either two or four cups. The two-cup version is well suited for personal use, whereas the four-cup option is better for families. You’ll be moving liquids from one place to another, so minimizing spills is paramount. A deeper rim around the top of your separator’s straining lid will limit splash and keep the flow of the stock running in the right direction.
There are two main types of fat separator that release the sought-after liquid in different ways, but they operate based on the same scientific process. That is the idea that fat floats.
- Pitchers – The key to perfecting fat separating with a pitcher is to ensure the fat never floats lower than the entrance to the spout. This is why you’ll often see the spout attaching to the jug at a very low point. Many pitchers will come with a stopper included, which prevents the juice from raising up the spout during the separation process. Once the fat has risen to the top, the stopper can be removed, and the juices will begin to fill the spout while the fat stays on top in the main container.
- Bottom Drainers – Bottom draining fat separators have a plugged hole in the center of their base, which can be opened and closed. The best thing about a bottom draining fat separator is its capability to release almost all of the juice without any fat making its way into the finished product. As with pitcher styles, an amount of fat usually finds itself creeping back into the juice once pouring begins.
How to Use a Pitcher Fat Separator
1. Pour your stock or pan juices into your fat separator container and remove any debris. Most separators will come with an integrated strainer, but if yours doesn’t, you can use a sieve to the filter as you pour instead. If your pitcher comes with a spout stopper, it should be in place prior to pouring in the stock.
2. Allow the mix to settle. It will begin to separate over the next two to four minutes.
3. Once you can see a clear separation line between the juices at the bottom and the fat on top, you can remove the spout stopper if you have one.
4. As you pour the juices from the pitcher out of the spout, keep an eye on the risen fats to ensure they’re not sneaking out as well.
How to Use a Bottom-Draining Fat Separator
1. & 2. The first two steps in using a bottom-draining fat separator are the same as those for a pitcher.
3. Once you can see a clear separation line between the juices at the bottom and the fat on top, you can use the release button or handle to remove the plug and open up the draining hole. Be sure to have your separator over a bowl or pan with a larger capacity to avoid spillage and overflowing.
4. You should be able to extract the majority of the juice without the fats interfering. As the level of the juice diminishes, keep an eye on the fats and close the plug prior to the fats reaching the bottom surface.
There’s no kidding anyone into thinking fat separating isn’t a little bit gross. But, that’s the whole point of doing it. Just think of where all the fat would be going if you didn’t take it out. By now you should have a clear picture of whether you’re team pitcher or team bottom drainer. We’ve pulled together the best of both from Amazon in our roundup. Order yours soon and look forward to a future of flavorsome, fat-free gravies.
1. Vondior Fat Separator
The red handle button of the Vondior Fat Separator will release the separated liquid via its central drainage hole. This tastefully designed four-cup fat separator is modestly priced at under $20. It’s made from highly durable, heat-resistant plastic and has a built-in strainer to keep out any debris. As an added bonus, it comes with a shaving and slicing peeler included as a free gift. Roasted potatoes and gravy, anyone?
2. Fatsoff Fat Skimmer Spoon
BEST FAT SPOON
It’s a good idea to have a skimming spoon on hand during the fat separation process, especially with pitcher-style separators. Once you can see the liquids are low and the fats are high, you can push the Fatsoff Fat Skimmer Spoon through the top surface and watch as the unwanted fats start to fall into its bowl. Alternatively, you can scoop the fat off the top, remove and repeat with the help of such a spoon.
3. Fox Run Fat Separator
Keep it simple with the Fox Run Fat Separator. This no-frills piece of equipment will do the job without making it any more complicated than it needs to be. The durable, polycarbonate material is marked with measurements and is both microwave and dishwasher safe. Plus, you don’t need to worry about losing any extra pieces or attachments either, as there aren’t any to misplace.
4. Swing-A-Way Fat Separator
MOST USER FRIENDLY
Fat separating doesn’t get any easier than with the Swing-A-Way Fat Separator. It basically does the job for you. Just pour in your initial liquid mix via the top filter, watch as the fat rises to the top through the clear pitcher walls, then release the sought-after juices via the bottom drain by gripping the big red handle tightly. You can also remove the top filter and hold it under the bottom drain as you release the liquid for further filtration.
5. Rorence Roasting Fat Separator Set
Fat separating and basting go hand in hand. You’re unlikely to be cooking a meal where you do one without doing the other. Rorence Roasting knows this well, and so they have included a baster and cleaning brush with their four-cup stainless steel separator. All three items are made from BPA-free, top-quality materials and come complete with a six-month money-back guarantee. Both your gravy and your meat will be extra juicy thanks to this set.
6. Good Cook Fat Separator
BEST TWO CUP
Whether you prefer measuring in millimeters, fluid ounces or cups, you’ll know exactly how much to pour when using the Good Cook Fat Separator. The durable, see-through pitcher is marked clearly with red measurements on either side. A grey filter fitted to the full open top of the pitcher is included along with a black spout stopper to avoid any liquid making its way out of the main bowl earlier than you want it to.
7. Mugpie Fat Separator
If you’re committed to a stainless steel cookware set, then this is the fat separator for you. The Mugpie Fat Separator is a four-cup, open-topped, metal fat separator. Its minimalistic design incorporates a thin handle welded to the main vessel. For pouring, there is a slim spout attached with U-shaped studding which follows the curve for a secure and stylish finish. This bowl-shaped separator also makes a great gravy boat, so once you’ve got the good juice and have finished your gravy, you can use your fat separator for serving, too.
8. OXO Good Grip Fat Separator
OXO is the ultimate gravy brand, and their fat separator happens to be the best of the bunch, too. It features a pouring lip at the top for alternative jug uses, along with a plug release at the bottom for fat separation. The integrated release handle makes it easy to trigger pouring, and the good grip handle ensures you can hold on securely to avoid any spillage. If you truly value the addition of gravy to your meals and want a durable separator to last for years, here you have it.
9. Cuisipro Fat Separator
BEST FOUR CUP
The Cuisipro Fat Separator is the best four-cup separator in our roundup, and it’s bottom draining. It has a stylish, modern design and is made from BPA-free materials. The clear, heat-resistant Tritan jug is extremely durable, and the red, thumb-release plug makes this a very user-friendly contraption. Additionally, the black straining lid has high sides and a tapered rim to support a spill-free pour.
10. Trudeau Fat Separator
BEST DEBRIS FILTER
The Trudeau Fat Separator has one of the largest debris filters in our roundup, making it the ideal choice for those who really like to season their juices or anyone who has a slightly shaky hand. The gravy-boat style jug measures just under 10 inches long and roughly five inches wide and high. Both the pitcher itself and the debris filter are dishwasher safe. Plus, they can withstand heat of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, making it easy to pop the device in the microwave for a quick reheat when needed.