Ever been disappointed that your gravy has a layer of fat at the top? Or, have you wondered how in the word you can remove the excess fat from your soup or stock? Well, some folks skim the fat off the top with a spoon or fat skimmer but when there are large amounts, it is inefficient and frustrating. This is where a fat separator comes in. A fat separator looks like a measuring cup with a long spout that comes from its base. They usually are made from glass or heavy-duty heat-resistant plastic and come with strainer inserts to catch any solid clumps. They come in 2-cup and 4-cup sizes and are also called degreasing pitchers or gravy separators.
A typical fat separator is exemplified by the Oxo Good-Grips 4-cup Fat Separator shown below. Notice the spout comes from the bottom and has a stopper. The stopper in the spout is there to keep fat out of the spout. There is a strainer up top, which you can’t see in the picture (see below). Since fat globules are lighter than water, gravy, soup, or what have you, the fat will rise to the top and form a layer. The liquid will stay at the bottom where you can easily pour it off, leaving the fat behind.
As you can see, it’s a very simple process. You pour your gravy, soup, or other liquid into the cup, using the strainer to catch any solids and then simply wait for the fat and liquid to separate.
When ready, you just remove the spout and carefully pour out the liquid from the bottom, leaving the layer of fat behind.
This type of fat separator is the best to buy. There are new designs which use a stoppered hole at the bottom of the cup instead of a spout. The stopper is controlled by a thumb trigger. This design is actually a better way to remove the liquid, but it’s also more complicated with more ‘moving parts’ as it were. If the stopper becomes misshaped, or its arm gets bent, it won’t work. And, if it gets lost, you’re left with a cup with a hole in its bottom. An example of this type of fat separator is the unit shown below.
There are also fat separators which claim to double as batter dispensers for pancakes, waffles, muffins, or cupcakes. I have never used one of these but I’d surmise that only thin batters would work as a thick batter would not make its way through the hole without some help. The Umien Fat Separator And Pancake Cupcake Batter Dispenser, below, is an example.