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Oct 31, 2010 09:29 AM

Efficient Fat cleaning / slow cooker ? (how to separate fat from liquid before pouring down drain)?

I cooked some beef in my slow cooker (see attached picture)

I don't want to pour all the liquid WITH fat down the drain because I'm concerned about possible plumbing issues.

What is the most efficient way to clean this mess up, while dirtying the fewest possible things?

If there was some way to use paper plates or cups maybe to strain the mess and then throw that part in the garbage, I'd be especially happy.

I'd imagine that Straining it through wire mesh would make a total mess.

In the past, I pokes some holes in a plastic supermarket bag and poured it through, but so much of the fat gets through if you make the slits too big.

Sometimes, I'd freeze all the liquid then toss it in the garbage and down the trash shoot (I live in a high-rise).

All creative solutions would be very much appreciated!

BTW, this whole post presumes that pouring the liquid with fat down the drain is bad. I assume this to be true, but don't know for sure. WHAT DO YOU DO??


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  1. I learned this tip here on Chowhound:

    Pour the liquid into a ziploc bag. You'll see the fat rise to the top. Snip a corner with scissors and allow the liquid to pour down the drain. As soon as you get to the fat, quickly move the bag away from the drain and into a plastic grocery bag you have waiting in the sink. Toss it into the trash.

    1 Reply
    1. While waiting for an answer,I poured it down the drain, and as you can see from my picture, my garbage disposal thing caught most of it pretty effectively.

      If it's mostly liquid (as in this case), it probably works great. If it was was the remnants of a whole chicken slow cooking, there would be far too much solid material (and I wouldn't want bits of bone going down). In that case, maybe pour first through plastic bag to catch most of the big pieces.


      1. For the future, pour all the liquid into any kind of container and put in the fridge. The fat will float to the top and solidify and you can lift it off. You could, at that point, put it in the trash but that seems sacriligious to me :) Cook with it. It's sooooooo good.

        On a practical note, it's not good to pour grease down the drain not only because of your plumbing (and rest assured, once it cools off it going to stick to everything) but also the environment.

        1. Let it cool (in the refrigerator if you have enough room) and when the fat solidifies scoop it off and toss it into the garbage. There isn't enough flavor in it to make it worthwhile to re-use.
          Mix about a tablespoon of good dish washing detergent with the remaining fluids (it works better if you warm them first) and pour it down the drain with a hot tap water followup.
          Don't worry about the environment. Assuming your local services are in compliance, by the time it mixes with all the other waste water and runs through your local sewage treatment plant the greater portion of any environmental hazards will have been pretty much eliminated.
          Many years ago, when I was working in the public sector, we were forced to reduce the cleanliness of our treated waste water discharge into local waterways because it was too clean and interfering with the growth of various fauna necessary for food chain stability.

          1 Reply
          1. re: todao

            I should have mentioned that I live in a very fragile ecosystem where they're trying to keep overgrowth of things from Lake Tahoe.