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Aug 28, 2009 12:53 AM

How do you drain grease from your stock pots or dutch ovens?

About a year ago, I was making my favorite meal (chili), and while I was draining grease from my pot with the pot lid acting as the strainer, it occurred to me that there had to be a better way. With the exception of the one time the lid slipped and I filled my sink with the contents of the pot, using the lid to drain liquids has worked. However, I just bought a 7.25 quart dutch/french oven and it is heavy. I just don't want to drain hot liquids using lids anymore.

Colanders are great for draining water, but I don't see how they'd work with grease. Water can go straight down the drain, grease can't. So the question I have is: how do you drain grease from your stock pots or dutch ovens?

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  1. I just skim it off with a spoon.

    1. For me, the easiest way is to put the entire pot into the fridge overnight where any grease will solidify and can be easily removed with a spoon.

      2 Replies
        1. re: cheryleo

          I just did this last night with a lamb shoulder roast. Usually I fridge it overnight but we were eating it last night so I put some ice cubes in which congealed it much faster.

          Yes, you can get it to go down your drain but it will congeal again in the public system or your septic if that applies. It's a pollutant to the water. Our garbage company actually supplies containers for household grease. I just use whatever can or jar (I save a few for this purpose), store in the fridge and then put in the trash when full. I'm kind of a fanatic about this but what do you expect when you live somewhere where almost every car has a "Keep Tahoe Blue" bumper sticker on it :) After pouring bacon drippings from the skillet into a container, I then use the paper towel I drained the bacon on to wipe out the skillet. A fanatic, I tell ya :)

          EDIT: After posting this, I've done some reading and it does appears that the detergent actually attaches to/encapsulates the fat and that it is a permanent thing. After all these years, I don't think I'm going to change :) but did want to be fair. But water itself won't do that. It will rinse it out of your line but upon cooling, it's still grease.

        2. I use a pot strainer - strain the grease into another container and then let it solidify and then I dispose of it into the garbage.

          This is similiar to the strainer I use:

          1 Reply
          1. re: lynnlato

            I like to absorb the grease with paper towels.

          2. I have several tea cups with a very thin lip, I use one of those. I also have small ladles that work.

            If it's quite a bit, I'll use a turkey baster. This takes some practice but it works really fast.
            I have a small baster that I've used for years.Be careful if you don't have the hang of it, you can end up with a hot mess. Second thought, use the ladle.

            1. I like the idea of using a turkey baster, but all of these other responses have given me something to think about. I have always made my chili by browning six pounds of ground beef and pork, after which I drain the grease (about 2 cups worth). I *could* leave the grease in the chili until it's done, then skim it off the next day. However, I'm not sure how well this would work. I'd think that I could get more of the tallow out before adding additional ingredients to the browned meat.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Bucky Badger

                I use paper towels, with tongs, and absorb it from the pot, then just throw away the paper towels.

                1. re: Bucky Badger

                  I use a colander to drain off the fat from browning ground beef. It doesn't amount to so much that it'll clog my drain, and I run some hot water after it. But I certainly don't have 2 cups worth of grease, so I guess that won't work for you. I think Flyfish's idea will work for you tho.

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    Could you perhaps put a large bowl under the colander to collect the grease, then move it to a can or jar? I know this would probably require three hands, just a thought....

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      chef c, that's what i do with ground meat, or small chunks. with larger pieces, i remove them to a plate with paper towel, and then pour off the fat into an old jar, put on the lid, and toss. if it can sit overnight in the fridge (this is good for chicken), then i just remove the chilled fat (which can be used, of course).

                      i never pour grease down the drain. i have enough problems.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        great minds... and ditto with your thoughts about grease down a drain!
                        I hardly use my garbage disposal for that matter.

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          yep, i'm picky about my disposal, too. i recycle grocery plastic bags by using them to dispose of cuke peels, onion skins, hunks of fat, etc.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            If you're going to all of that trouble, why not just start a compost pile???

                            And I couldn't live without my garbage disposal, I certainly don't have room for a compost pile!!!

                            The amount of grease from 2 lbs of ground beef, even 80/20, really isn't all that much, and not worth the effort of getting another pot / cup dirty, imo. And I would use up an old jar, but for some reason, I can never find one around when I need it, they're either already out in the recycling can or the clean ones are being used by my kids, husband, etc...! The only grease I do contain is bacon, and we all know what to do with it!

                            But also, the only time I've ever had a clogged drain was not from grease buildup, but from potato peels and broccoli, so those I do not put down the drain anymore, everything else is game!

                            And read further below, Mr. Owen & I agree that once you add some dish detergent to it, it changes the molecular structure and won't re-congeal .

                            1. re: alkapal

                              I use small produce bags. I do run lemon peel down the disposal to keep it fresh though.

                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                Might want to try ice cubes or chicken rib bones to keep your blades from dulling, or rusting, for that matter!! LOL!