There’s nothing quite as tasty as a homemade meat gravy. It’s so deliciously rich and homely.
The problem is the fat that comes with making a gravy out of meat drippings. While fat certainly gives your food flavor as it cooks, it’s too overwhelming and heavy for the final product.
Another issue is that the fat is super unhealthy. If you want to enjoy broths, sauces, and gravy without clogging up your heart and arteries, a fat separator is a must!
Let’s take a look at these nifty fat separators and how to use them and work out how they work.
What is a Fat Separator?
A fat separator looks like a measuring jug with a few key differences.
Firstly, the spout originates from the lower portion of the jug instead of the top. This is because the fat rises to the top of the jug as it’s lighter than the juices.
When you pour the jug, the juices get poured out before the fat.
A fat separator will have a high wall facing the spout. This stops any fat from pouring over the top.
Some fat separators don’t have a spout. Instead, they have a hole in the bottom that is blocked with a plug.
These separators will have a switch or button on the handle that opens the plug and allows juices to flow out of the bottom.
The bottom-feed separators tend to be better because they reduce the risk of fat mixing with the juices.
Mixing can sometimes happen with spout separators because tilting the jug can agitate the juices and fats and recombine them.
Most fat separators have a strainer built into the lid. This prevents solids from making their way into your gravy. The stainer will catch stray bits of meat or flavorings like onion.
How to Use a Spout Separator
The first kind of separator we will take a look at is a spout separator. Before you think about pouring any drippings into the jug, you need to make sure that the spout is plugged.
Most separators will be supplied with a spout plug. If yours is not, you‘ll need to find something that can create an airtight block in the spout.
This blockage is crucial because it prevents fat from filling up the spout. This is because the plug traps air in the spout making it difficult for liquid to push into the spout.
So, your spout is plugged. What next?
Again, before you pour any drippings, make sure that the strainer lid is on top of the jug. This will keep your juices liquid only.
With the lid on and the spout blocked, you can begin to pour your pan drippings into the jug. Go slowly so you don’t splash yourself or spill any of the juice.
Once you’ve filled your jug you need to wait a little while for the fat and juices to separate. As we mentioned earlier, the fat is lighter than the juices so it rises to the top.
You only need to wait for a minute or two. You’ll know when the jug is ready to use because you’ll have a layer of fat that usually looks more transparent than the juices.
The fat layer will usually be one or two inches thick depending on the amount of drippings and the fat content of the meat.
When you’re ready to pour, remove the strainer lid. If you leave it in, it may fall out during the pour. Also, any bits of meat or seasoning caught in the strainer will end up tipping into your bowl or pan.
Once the lid is removed, you can unstopper the spout. As you pull the plug out, you’ll notice that the juice travels partway up the spout. This is nothing to worry about.
You can now pour the lean juices into your bowl or pan ready for use! Be aware that some fat may begin to make its way up the spout towards the end of the pour. When this happens, stop pouring.
Using a Bottom Opening Separator
The basic premise of these separators is the same as spouted separators. You pour the drippings, wait for the fat to rise, and pour from the bottom section of the jug. However, separators with bottom openings are not poured.
As with a spouted separator, you need to make sure that the strainer lid is in place before you pour any drippings into the jug. You also need to make sure that the plug in the bottom of the jug is firmly in place.
If the hole isn’t plugged up, you’re going to end up with drippings all over your countertop, fat and all!
Once you’ve poured your drippings in, you again need to wait a minute or two for the fat to separate from the juices.
When you’ve got those two distinct layers, you place the separator over the bowl or pan you want the juice to end up in.
A button on the handle opens the plug and allows the juices to pour out.
You need to keep a careful eye on how low the fat level is getting. It is liable to fall out of the hole if you’re not watching it.
What to Look for in a Fat Separator
Pretty much every fat separator will be clear so that you can see the different layers. The best ones have a measuring scale on the side that allows you to keep track of how much juice you’re adding.
You’ll also want to make sure that the handle is strong and comfortable. Look for a separator that has a rubberized handle for ultimate grip and comfort.
Another thing to check is whether the separator is dishwasher safe. It will make clearing out the jug and spout much easier.
If the separator isn’t dishwasher safe, you’ll need to pick up a bottle scrubber to help you get into the spout.
Fat separators are easy enough to use. They rely on gravity to do all the hard work!
All you need to do is fill, wait and pour. It’s as simple as that!