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Anyone got a good de-fatting equipment/techinique?

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  • phan1 Feb 13, 2008 07:45 PM
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Well, I'm just too brutish to carefully skim the fat out of a sauce or stock. The method I use most often is just throw it in the freezer or 'fridge until the fat separates out on top and I can just go in there and remove the solid fat. But that also takes too long! Plus, I'm totally Obssessive Compulsive about it. I don't want to waste a single drop of my precious stock/sauce while defatting it. One thing I was thinking about doing is poking the bottom of a water bottle to drain the stock from the fat that way. Any other ideas?

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  1. There's a gadget you can get to help with this - I've never used it myself, but my grandmother had one in her kitchen, which bodes well for its helpfulness.

    http://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Int...

    Basically, imagine a liquid measuring cup, but with a spout that is joined at the bottom of the cup rather than near the top. Fill the cup with your stock, let it settle for a couple of minutes, and then pour. Because the spout opening is at the bottom of the cup, when you pour, the stock - which has settled at the bottom - will come out first, and the fat - which has risen to the top - will come out last. Simply stop pouring when the liquid changes from mostly stock to mostly fat.

    As I said, I've never used this device (much less this particular brand), so I can't vouch for it. But I thought I'd pass it along - at a minimum, it's a relatively low-cost experiment.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chloe103

      Used one for years. Works OK, except for the small amount of fat in the spout and the inability to separate fat from stock COMPLETELY.

      1. re: chloe103

        That device is called a gravy separator and it's the best thing for the task.

      2. Sure. Use a gravy separator. Makes degreasing a snap, and I can't understand why they're not better known.. I've been using the same one for many years now.
        Just Google on gravy separator. They're not expensive, though I wouldn't buy the very cheapest you can find. Here's an explanation:

        http://www.epicurious.com/bonappetit/...

        1 Reply
        1. re: mpalmer6c

          I swear by my OXO gravy separator. A must have even if it is a little bit of a unitasker

        2. To save you some clicking in case you didn't know already, both "chloe103" and "mpalmer6c" are referring to the same item, which I might also say is a very useful kitchen tool for impatient cooks like us!

          1 Reply
          1. re: homebaker

            Me too, use the gravy separator! Works great for defatting stock. Make sure you get a glass one.

          2. The 'homemade' or primitive version of this kitchen gadget is what I do: fill a ziploc bag with the liquid and let rest for a minute, cut a corner of the bag and carefully pour until the stock has been poured out and the fat remains. Might not be great for compulsive types, but works just fine in a pinch.

            1 Reply
            1. re: aussiewonder

              I also use the plastic bag technique. You do have to let the liquid cool a little bit, but I find it most effective for removing all fat.

              The other technique I use, is to put the sauce/broth/whatever into a tall glass, and use a turkey baster (you know, the thing with a squeeze bulb at the top) to suck up the liquid from the bottom, while leaving the fat floating at the top. This works great, as long as you dont have a huge amount to do.

            2. I use the same technique of refrigerating and then peeling the fat off the top. But there's no need to waste that tasty solid fat! Use it instead of butter when you're making savory pies or tarts or use it as your fat instead of olive oil for sauteeing vegetables. I also render the fat from chicken skins when I cook chiken sans skin and save the fat from bacon for similar purposes. Adds a flavor boost to lots of recipes and helps you keep from wasting the animal.

              1. I LOVE my fat separator!!!!!! It is, without a doubt, my most favorite kitchen gadget ever! It makes the most heinous task, skimming fat, effortless. All it is is a pitcher that looks like a measuring cup only it has a spout w/ a plunger in it. On top is a strainer. All u do is pour the liquid into the pitcher. The solids are caught in the strainer. The fat magically rests on the top of the liquid in the pitcher. You pour off your broth until it's gone and all that remains in the pitcher is the fat!

                Sorry, I love it!

                4 Replies
                1. re: lynnlato

                  http://www.cooksillustrated.com/image...

                  1. re: lynnlato

                    Lynnlato, Where can I buy one?

                    1. re: KansasFarmGirl

                      I'm not lynniato, but I've bought a couple of these. Any decent cookware store will have them in different sizes. The step missing in the description above is about the plunger in the pouring spout: when you pour the broth into the separator, the first bit of it will be fat, and so there will be some caught inside the spout. When you've poured it all in, pushing in the plunger forces that fat out of the spout and into the broth. After it's risen to the surface, pull the plunger out and the broth will rise into the spout. Then you pour it off.

                      There will still be some residual fat on the surface, just from what was clinging to the sides of the pitcher. There is a product called Mystic Maid Grease Blotter Sheets, flat circular sheets about 9" in diameter, of a soft, light substance that will not soak up water but absorbs any fat. If it's worth almost a dollar to you to get rid of the last vestige (my package of ten has an $8.98 price label, and it's a couple of years old), you just lay a sheet down onto the surface of the broth, let it sit for a minute or so, and lift it off. Magic!

                      1. re: KansasFarmGirl

                        Kansas:

                        They're pretty much in every KMart and Target. Maybe not grocery stores. Here's a link to a picture of a cheap one. I've had this type for years. You don't need a really expensive one. Dishwasher safe. For a large amount of stock, you will have to do batches, but it's a lot faster than the fridge route.

                        http://www.neatlysmart.com/catalog/it...

                    2. There's another, similar, gadget that I prefer cazlled the "Heartwatch Fat Skimmer". It looks like a large ladle and is made of transparent plastic. The upper edge of the ladle's bowl is serrated, and there is a trigger on the ladle's handle that opens a tiny drain at the bottom of the ladle.

                      You push it down into, say, a pot of soup until the liquid just starts to flow in over the serrations. This liquid will be all fat if you push it down carefully. Once the ladle is full, you pull it out of the pot and squeeze the trigger to let out any non-fat that got in (and settled to the bottom). Then you dispose of the fat.

                      In my experience, this does a better job of separating. And you can use it in a large container of liquid rather than moving that container bit by bit in to other style of separator.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jrisken

                        Any info on where to buy the Heartwatch Fat Skimmer?
                        I googled it, but couldnt find a place to buy.

                        1. re: jrisken

                          Where can I find the Fat Skimmer? I have used mine until it does not work any more. I really want another one.

                        2. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/482034

                          1. A fat separator, as others have mentioned, is a cheap tool that I consider essential to cooking. I would suggest getting one with a 3-4 cup capacity and a perforated lid that acts as a strainer.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Sam D.

                              The one I want is the one that looks like a ladle. The bowl part is clear plastic and the handle has a plunger and you can use it in smaller pans as well as crock pots and soup pans. It is marked with the words "Healthwatch Fat Skimmer". The handle is white instead of clear. I found a company in China that make them but I do not want to buy 2 dozen. Thank you every one who have replied. If any one knows where these are being sold I would be very happy to get the contact information. Thank you all so much.

                            2. My easiest SOUP defatting is to run a very fine-mesh skimmer/strainer through the top broth. No need for finicky carefulness--the broth picked up runs through the fine screen quickly, leaving the fat behind. Since this is such a casual method, I'll often take some off at the same time I'm skimming the initial scum but leave most of it a while to give more time for its flavor to be absorbed into the broth. That's the theory, anyway.

                              For fat that can't be skimmed, I also use a large plastic pitcher-type separator, but I'm going to go looking for that ladle.