Handle on the side of the cup has a no-slip grip, so you can use it safely. Design includes a tapered lip on the spout to prevent drips. Plastic materials are free of BPA. Separator is easy to clean, as all of the materials are dishwasher safe. Includes clearly visible ounce and milliliter markings on the side of the cup.
Spout’s design may cause fat to collect inside it, resulting in unwanted clogs.
Capacity of this fat separator cup is 1 liter, creating plenty of versatility in how you use it. All materials in this separator are dishwasher safe. Will adequately handle liquids with temperatures as high as 400 degrees. Side of cup is marked clearly with measurements for milliliters and fractions of cups.
Takes some time to clean it thoroughly. Large capacity cup takes up a lot of storage space.
Container has 4 cups of capacity, so it works nicely for a busy kitchen. Offers a high quality, heat resistant plastic construction that will not leak while straining liquids. BPA-free plastic included in the separator. All parts of this product are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
Price is a little higher than some others. Large unit can be difficult to store.
Has an easy-grip handle, so you can control the container. Top strainer section works efficiently to remove larger pieces from your liquid. Uses a specially designed plug at the bottom of the cup to prevent unwanted drips. Entire product consists of a heat resistant plastic for safe usage.
Markings in ounces and milliliters on side of cup are not easy to see.
Bottom of the cup has a spring loaded plug, so you can easily release the strained liquid. Top strainer works efficiently to remove solids. Side of the cup is clearly marked with ounces, cups, and milliliters. All parts of this fat separator are safe to use in the dishwasher, which simplifies the cleanup process.
Not as successful in removing smaller solids from your liquid as some other options.
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Making a rich meat stock for gravies, soups, stews, and other dishes is a worthwhile project, but there’s one step in the process that can be challenging: separating the fat from the liquid. A kitchen gadget called a fat separator is the ideal tool for the job, and its use couldn’t be simpler.
While some fats and oils enhance the finished product, meat stock needs to be clarified in order to end up with a smooth sauce or gravy with a pleasant mouthfeel. A fat separator can also serve as a liquid measuring cup, oil and vinegar dispenser, and batter dispenser.
There are other, more labor-intensive ways to remove unwanted fat from meat stock, but these methods are less efficient. A dedicated fat separator takes advantage of gravity, fat density, and time to replace fat skimmers, spoons, paper towels, or a freezer. This in-depth buyer’s guide can help you make an informed decision when adding this useful utensil to your culinary tool kit.
Meat stock contains some ingredients that should not be in the final product, such as vegetables, herbs, bones, and fat. Removing these involves pouring the hot liquid into a fat separator, which resembles a large measuring cup. A strainer at the top captures the large solids, a filter traps the smaller solids, and the stock collects at the bottom.
As the stock cools, the less dense fat naturally floats to the top and congeals. The result is a layer of fat-free liquid stock trapped beneath a layer of fat. Because of the tool’s design, the liquid stock can be siphoned into a separate container while the fat layer is discarded or stored.
Fat separators, like their measuring cup cousins, should be made of heat-resistant, food-safe materials. It’s best to avoid inexpensive models made of thin plastic or standard glass that can’t handle high heat or resist staining.
Stainless steel is used in many high-end fat separators that also serve as oil and vinegar dispensers or gravy separators. Stainless steel resists high heat well, although a lack of insulation can be a problem for users. Metal fat separators are stain-resistant but not transparent, which makes it challenging to gauge where you are in the process.
Food-grade plastic is a common material for separators at any price point. Plastic is lightweight and durable, and these can also work as measuring cups. It’s important to find models that are BPA-free because some plastic containers can leach hazardous chemicals into food or liquid when heated. Clear plastic is preferable because the dividing line between stock and fat is easy to see.
Glass is one of the best materials for these tools because it’s transparent and exceptionally heat resistant. It also resists staining and is generally dishwasher safe. Glass fat separators are available in a wide range of sizes and also work well as liquid measuring cups.
There are two common designs, and each one has its supporters and critics, so the choice often comes down to personal preference.
Simple: One type resembles a traditional measuring cup but with a pouring spout positioned at the bottom. A tight-fitting stopper prevents the hot liquid from escaping as the stock is filtered and poured. After the fat has completely separated from the stock, you carefully remove the stopper and pour out the clarified stock until the level reaches the fat layer. The process is fairly straightforward, but some fat might still remain in the stock.
Mechanical: The second design involves some mechanical assistance. The fat separator contains a spring-loaded mechanism that closes a hole in the bottom until the stock is cool and separated. When the process is finished, you position the separator over another container and release the stopper with a button on the handle. The clarified stock drains out slowly, and the stopper keeps the fat layer contained.
Meat stock is often prepared in a large stock pot because the liquid stores well and is easier to make in big quantities. Separating the fat must usually be performed in batches because separator capacity is measured in cups, not quarts. A standard model holds 4 to 6 cups, but there are some more expensive separators designed to hold 8 cups or more. There are also inexpensive models with a 2-cup capacity for processing meat drippings or bacon grease.
Strainer: One vital step in the fat separation process is the removal of solids such as bones, vegetables, herbs, and sachets. Most of these tools accomplish this with a mesh strainer at the top, but some models don’t include this step. In that case, the stock needs to be poured through a separate strainer and then poured into the fat separator. To simplify the process, look for a fat separator that includes a strainer.
Filter: The second step in the process involves a filter capable of trapping spices, oils, and other ingredients. Some fat separators include a special filter for this step, while for others you’ll need to add a paper filter in or under the strainer.
Meat stock can be extremely hot, and a large-capacity fat separator is heavy. This means that the handle must be sturdy and slip-resistant. The stopper mechanism in a bottom-release model is located in the handle, so it should be easy to activate and control. Some cheap fat separators have plastic handles that can become slippery or metal handles that can get too hot to hold. When comparing these devices, it’s a good idea to check the sturdiness of the handle while the cup is full of water.
As with many other kitchen tools, bundling is common with fat separators. In addition to the strainer, stopper, and filter, the package may also include other essentials such as a paring knife, vegetable peeler, and/or cleaning brush. These bundles are usually found at the mid-range price points.
In 1920, inventor Harvey E. Lyons received a United States patent for a fat separator and strainer.
You can find basic ones with limited capacity for less than $20, but these typically don’t include a strainer, filter, or stoppered spout. A bottom-release model is difficult to find in this price range.
Most separators for home use are made of glass, food-grade plastic, or stainless steel and cost $20 to $45. A 4-cup capacity is common in this range, but specialty stores carry some larger ones.
High-end separators that retail for $50 or more are commonly made of stainless steel and can serve as a gravy separator, oil and vinegar dispenser, and oil strainer.
A. Although stainless steel, glass, and plastic all have their advantages and disadvantages, heat-resistant glass seems to be the best overall option. Its transparency allows you to gauge the progress, it can handle hot liquids, and glass resists staining.
A. While it is the ideal tool for this process, you can also use a large spoon to skim off small amounts of fat or a turkey baster to drain off a pool of collected grease. Paper towels can also absorb a layer of grease or fat. However, these alternative methods are more labor-intensive.
A. Separating fat from liquid takes advantage of the properties of fat and the force of gravity. There is no mechanical method that will speed up the process. However, you can place the separator in the refrigerator or freezer to shorten the wait time a bit.