Welcome to One Simply Terrific Thing, our ongoing series highlighting the small tools and kitchen goods that make life better!
Separating the fat out of cooking liquids is a kitchen task that I wouldn’t have thought could be streamlined in such a delightful way. But now that I have such a nice fat separator, I’m much more inclined to make dishes that require that step.
WHAT IS A FAT SEPARATOR?
Growing up, and then in my own kitchens as a young adult, I always had a small, very simple fat separator. If you don’t know what I mean by fat separator, it’s basically a clear plastic measuring cup with a pour spout that, with the help of gravity, separates the fat from the rest of the cooking liquid when you’re making a soup, stew, or braise.
When I was writing my Instant Pot cookbooks I found that I was using my fat separator a lot — so many pressure cooker recipes are for meats that release a lot of fat when cooked, and you need to separate the fat out of the cooking liquid to finish making the sauce.
With my old-fashioned fat separator, it was very tedious to pour the liquid through a strainer into a bowl or pitcher and then run it through the separator, one cup or so at a time. It made a lot of extra dishes, too. The frustration of repeating that task so many times inspired me to search online for a better fat separator — surely the designs must have improved since I was a kid, right?
Yep, they sure had.
OXO MAKES THE BEST FAT SEPARATOR
The OXO Good Grips Fat Separator is OXO’s most expensive fat separator model, but not outrageously so, priced at $25. It would make a great housewarming gift or holiday present for that friend who is really into making their own bone broth. (I’m sure you know someone in that category, right?)
I like a lot of things about this fat separator. For one thing, it has a 4-cup capacity, which is very generous, plenty large for one pass when I’m separating out the drippings from a chicken or turkey.
Another nice design feature is the strainer attachment on top, so there’s no need to strain everything separately into another container first.
And finally, my favorite innovative feature is the release mechanism, wherein you squeeze the trigger handle to open a silicone valve, pouring the liquid out of the bottom of the fat separator. This method makes it much easier to tell when you’ve strained off all the fat down to that last drop of cooking liquid – way better than traditional fat separators that pour out of a spout.
My favorites pressure cooker recipes are short ribs, oxtails, pork loin roasts, and beef bone broth. If you like to make these sorts of recipes, do yourself a favor and upgrade your fat separator! You won’t regret it.
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