After last week’s talk about draining ground beef, I have a follow up fat question.
Reader Lysandra asked about the fat separator step in my Pressure Cooker Pot Roast recipe:
What can I do if I don’t have a Fat Separator?
I have three suggestions…maybe four:
How to remove fat if you don’t have a fat separator
- Skip the defatting step. Who’s got time to let fat settle? Dump everything in a serving bowl and go. I do this more often than I’d like to admit, especially on busy weeknights.
- Let the pot settle, then skim. This is the old school method. Fat is lighter than water, and if you let everything settle, fat floats to the top of the pot. Do what they do in professional kitchens – get out a big spoon and start skimming. (In professional kitchens that is a large part of the saucier’s job – skimming the fat off of their sauces as they simmer.) I can scoop out a lot of fat this way, but it takes patience and a steady hand.
- Refrigerate overnight, then scrape off the solidified fat cap. This is my favorite option – even better than a fat separator – but I have to plan ahead. After cooking, take the inner pot out of the pressure cooker base, set it aside, and let it cool for an hour. Then move it into the refrigerator overnight. (It helps to have a non-pressure lid to put on the pot.) The fat will float to the top of the pot and solidify. The next day: scrape off the fat cap, put the liner pot back in the pressure cooker, set to saute, and reheat until simmering. I did this all the time when my wife was on bed rest with our third kid. I’d pressure cook tomorrow’s dinner while I did tonight’s dishes and refrigerate it overnight. A quick scrape of the fat, followed by reheating, and dinner was ready in about 15 minutes. If you’re cooking soup or making chicken broth, the fat cap will form a solid disk floating on top of the liquid – you can lift it off in two or three big pieces. If the meal is more chunky – think a chili or stew – the fat cap will be stuck to the ingredients, so you have to scrape it off as best you can.
And my personal favorite, “buy a new kitchen toy:”
- Buy a fat separator:Amazon Prime will deliver a fat separator to your door in 2 days. A fat separator is one of my go-to kitchen tools; I’ve always had one, but it was a smaller 2 cup size. I bought the 4 cup OXO separator with a built-in straining lid, and was kicking myself for not getting one earlier.
Yes, I’m the kind of cook who answers most questions with “Cool! I get to buy a new kitchen gadget!” I wrote a paragraph about “don’t be like me”, but I deleted it. I figure:
- If you are like me, you know you aren’t going to change. (And you already have a couple of fat separators in your kitchen, or you clicked on the link above and ordered it before you even got to this sentence.)
- If you are not like me, you said “Pfft – why would I buy a gadget when I can skim off the fat with a spoon? No kitchen unitaskers!”
- Either way, I’m preaching to the crowd.
- Oh, and a FCC Notice: I am an Amazon affiliate, so anything you buy through the links support me with a small commission. (Also, I am an Amazon Prime addict. Two day shipping is awesome!)
What do you think?
How do you skim your fat? (And does that question sound oddly personal?) Tell us about it in the comments below.
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