Ever been in a situation where you’ve had to deliberate over arguments and counter arguments in your head when you’re faced with a plate of steaming mouth-watering roasts, meatloaf, rice or mashed potatoes with a side of deliciously thick gravy? Have you ever had to chastise yourself, tried to convince your appetite to do the right thing by your body when you’re hit with a craving for a sumptuously spicy Italian or Mexican cuisine? Do you ever stop to wonder, with a piece of biscuit dipped in sausage gravy halfway into your mouth, just how many calories you’re about to consume? Hmm, if your answer is yes, welcome to the club. Trust us; you aren’t any worse off than the health-conscious chef who’s stuck, recipe book in hand
, in an internal debate on how best to rid his next meal of excess fat.
For those of us familiar with this scenario, we’re glad to inform you that with a fat separator, you can control the fat that makes its way into your sauce from your meat stock and other such liquid during meal preparation. The fat separator is a nifty kitchen tool that exploits the non-polarity of fat and the fact that it’s less than water to produce a fat-free (at least as far as the naked eye can see – and that in itself is a relief) liquid for your gravy and other sauce. Just as using a steamer
is a modern, innovative means of preparing healthier vegetables, the fat separator eliminates the tedious, more traditional method of scooping out floating fat with a spoon and gives you a de-fatted product in much less time.
Fat separators are available in different sizes or capacities and are usually made from clear, transparent material. The materials used in their construction can be plastic, glass or Tritan and they’re made to be resistant to damage from bumps and falls that will no doubt be a common occurrence during their period of service. These materials are also engineered to be resistant to high temperatures, making most of them safe for use in a microwave
and tolerant of the high temperatures that characterize the liquids they’ll be filled with. Another common feature is the graduation usually seen on one or two sides of the separator; this will help you apply a more scientific approach to the fat separation process as you’ll be able to tell how much of the de-fatted meat juice it took to make a particular quantity of food. These tools are also fitted with ergonomic, non-slip handles for ease of handling.
We can go on and on but we are aware of the fact you have the final say – and we respect that – so this is just a sort of nudge in the right direction for your fat separator shopping need. You know what’s important to you and we hope you’re able to consider that in the light of the information you’ll be furnished with.
There are things you shouldn’t skimp on. A fat separator will spend most, if not all, of its working life in the kitchen and depending on its material, it will be put in a microwave to heat up its contents, it will be put in a dishwasher for cleaning, it will hit the ground and other hard surfaces time and again; need we go on? If you’re still wondering why you should shell out a few extra bucks on this tool, and probably wondering where we’re headed with all this, here’s a little exercise for you: Close your eyes and picture a cheap glass separator passing through all these and then you picture another sturdy, robust one in the same scenarios. That was pretty straightforward, forward right?
Now riddle us this: where’s the practicality in a fat separator that cannot endure the rigors of a microwave and dishwasher? Features such as this will cause an upward movement in the price versus features graph of a fat separator too. With all that said, the prices of the fat separators reviewed here fall within the range of $8 to $40. There are cheap fat seperators out there but we believe you’re smarter than that.
Delicate, malleable and cloudy are some of the qualities not needed in a fat separator; knowing this, we automatically eliminate those with thin-walled constructions, and those made with bendable plastic that can cloud over with use. It’s also wise to avoid separators with large prints on their walls so that wherever you use it, you’ll get a good view of the separator’s contents. There are more features to look out for in your search for the best fat separator and they include:
- The nature of the spout
- The design
- Ease of maintenance
- BPS free
A better understanding of these features will inform a smarter purchase.
Construction and Design
Fat separators can be made from plastic, glass and from an inventive Tritan material, molded into a cup or jug-shaped container with or without a lid that might have a strainer incorporated into it. The plastics used in the manufacture of these kitchen tools are engineered to be resistant to accidentals bumps and drops that are bound to occur in a fat separator’s service life. Glass is another material used to create these tools. Fat separators made from glass usually have a certain look of distinguished style to them; they’re also naturally resistant to high temperatures which mean they can be used in microwaves, reheated on stove tops and carry piping hot liquids without cracking. However, glass being glass, it demands a high degree of careful handling – a necessity that’s absent in plastic.
Then there’s the special Tritan material which combines the luster and elegance of glass with the sturdiness and impact resistance of plastic. What’s more, it’s warp-proof, dishwasher and microwave safe, tested and confirmed to be BPA and BPS free for your safety.
On the issue of safety, we advise you make sure any fat separator – as well as any other plastic kitchenware – is free from bisphenols. Bisphenols, commonly referred to as BPS (Bisphenol S) and BPA (Bisphenol A) are industrial chemicals that were used in the production of certain plastics until they were discovered to be unsafe as they were linked to a number of health disorders in adults, children, and infants.
In the course of your fat separator hunt, you’ll find the orientation of the spout, i.e. its location on the body of the separator, is of great importance. You want a separator with a spout that’s as close to the bottom of the container as possible so you’ll be able to get all your gravy. There are separators without spouts. What they have is a hole or drain and a plug. These plugs block the hole until you’re ready to pour out the contents of the separator. You release the plug and watch the gravy flow out and you replace it when the fat layer is reached. The drain can be on the side or bottom of the separator.
Performance and Ease of Use
One feature for convenient separating that a fat separator has is the strainer. This can be built into the lid of the separator or it may come as a removable component that’s designed to fit over or in the lid of the separator. Some of them have reasonably-sized holes and others have larger holes; depending on what you want, that may influence your decision.
A fat separator with a wide rim makes it easy for one to transfer hot liquid from the pot or pan into it. A raised end on the part of the rim by the spout prevents the separated fat from spilling into the container collecting the de-fatted liquid as you pour it from the separator. Look out for snouts that do not allow for dripping of gravy as you use it. Pay attention to the cleaning requirements for a fat separator as most of them are dishwasher safe while a few others will require hand washing and cleaning of the spouts with a suitable cleaning brush. Ensure you do not allow the grime or other particles to stick to the opening of the spout as they may make cleaning a chore.
Most fat separators feature graduated markings on their sides with which you can tell the volume of your gravy, they can even double as measuring cups – talk about multiple functionality! The size of the separator should also be considered as it’ll determine how much space the fat separator will take up in your pantry or storage rack. We also advise you take the size of the meal into consideration as they come in different capacities. If you live alone and cook for a single stomach most of the time, a smaller separator might be in order. If, on the other hand, you’re a family person or cook in commercial quantities, the larger separators might be your best bet.
Given that you’ve studied our buying guide, we believe you’re now sufficiently armed with enough information to make a wiser fat separator decision; so keep your eyes peeled as you read our five examples for the fat separator that will work for you.
OXO Good Grips is one of the 5 OXO brands. Its creation was the result of Sam Farber’s (OXO’s founder and first of all Oxonians – a nickname staff proudly bear) desire to make kitchen tools much easier for people to use after he observed that his wife, Betsey, had to put in a considerable amount of effort when using everyday kitchen tools, which aggravated her mild case of mild arthritis. It’s been more than 25 years since its first day of business and the notion of Universal Design, which is the making of products that can be conveniently used by the highest number of people possible, has been the driving force behind OXO’s much-loved products and increasing customer base.
The OXO Good Grips 4-Cup Fat Separator is an innovative kitchen tool that will put a silver bullet in your fat separating problems. It’s made from high-quality plastic, sans the BPA, that’s tolerant of the high temperatures expected from your meat, chicken or fish stock when it’s just been taken off the stove. Its strainer is also made of plastic that’s heat-resistant and keeps the odd bits and pieces of meat from making their way into the separator – call it the first line of defense if you will.
We can’t seem to get enough of its innovative spout stopper, an effective means of keeping all the fat out of your de-fatted liquid. How does that work? The stopper creates an air plug that fills the space in the spout, effectively preventing the fat or any liquid from entering – neat, right? So, when the fat has congealed and you make to pour out your fat-free liquid you won’t have any renegade fat strolling in. Then there’s the shield, the highest part of the separator’s rim. This is another clever feature as it tackles the problem of the sloshing of gravy over the rim of the separator and into where it isn’t needed as you empty its contents.
Ergonomics wasn’t forgotten in this separator as the handle on this tool has the signature OXO comfort and traction. The graduations on its side make it possible to measure just how much liquid it containers – plus, it can make a great measuring cup too. It’s quite easy to maintain and is dishwasher safe.
Since 1957, when it was founded, HIC Harold Import Co. (HIC) has had one thing on its mind and that is to provide the best of affordably-priced wholesale kitchen supplies, food preparation paraphernalia, and important cooking tools for your cooking pleasure. This is a third generation family business that’s been involved in the wholesale importation of kitchen supplies for well over half a century. It has its own family of brands that include HIC, Aerolatte, Marcato, Mrs. Anderson’s Baking and many more. In all its years of experience, it has learnt that value, quality and outstanding customer service is a combination that’s always in style. Worthy of mention is that this brand has won numerous awards, including the Gourmet Retailer Editor’s Pick in 2015.
The HIC Harold Import Co. Gravy Strainer and Fat Separator boasts a beautiful borosilicate glass body and a mesh filter with fine holes; these are all made with FDA-approved materials and are safe as they will not leach toxic chemicals into your food with exposure to high temperatures. Talking about high temperatures, we’re glad to inform you that this fat separator has the capacity to withstand temperatures as high as 3000 Fahrenheit without so much as getting a crack on its fine body. This translates into safe microwaving and safe reheating.
It has a bottom-level spout that drains the contents of the separator in such a way that the fat is left in the separator. For the convenient removal of unwanted lumps and pieces, it comes with a strainer made with stainless steel (18/8) that is resistant to corrosion and a fine mesh screen, of the same quality, that can be placed in the strainer when there is a need to remove smaller unwanted bits from your liquid.
The efficiency of this separator can be seen in the wide rim that ends in a no-drip snout; this makes pouring out its contents easier and reduces the chances of a messy experience. On the side of this separator are graduations in ¼ increments that mark out its 4-cup capacity, with markings in milliliters, ounces and cups. It’s top rack dishwasher friendly and care should be taken in its handling.
Cuisipro was founded nearly two decades ago on the principles of openness, trust, honesty, integrity and excellence. It’s a brand that doesn’t shy away from the hard work necessary to the creation of superior products based on innovation and practicality. Its range of over 250 functional cooking tools, gadgets, wares, utensils, serving tools and baking accessories is a beautiful display of its commitment to bringing its customers nothing but the best – and at budget-friendly prices, too. This is a brand of international renown and the knowledge it has a vast network of loyal customers who include its products in their kitchen exploits doesn’t get to its head – rather, it realizes that it has been entrusted with a responsibility of keeping up the standard it’s come to be known for.
The Cuisipro Fat Separator is made from Tritan, a BPA-free material that has the luster of glass but lacks its fragility and has the durability of plastic without its tendency to warp or cloud with use. This separator is resistant to damage from high temperature liquids. It has an oversized strainer that fits into its lid which catches unwanted meats and other odd pieces and the large rim helps to prevent accidental spills.
The bottom drain feature is a clever and effective means of separating the fat from gravy as the fat would have risen above the liquid – and perhaps solidified – if given enough time or refrigerated. The de-fatted liquid will be efficiently poured out at the removal of the plug that snugly covers the hole at the bottom of the container, this way, more gravy is actually collected and less is lost in the process.
A large comfortable handle is built into the rim and houses the plug. On the handle, you’ll find a button that once pushed will lift the plug from the hole. So if you want to pour out your fat-free gravy, a press on the button lifts the plug and when the fat layer is reached, releasing the button replaces the plug and stops the flow – we agree, that’s a neat trick.
This separator can be put in a dishwasher and to disassemble it, just remove the strainer and twist off the rim. We’d like to mention that the warranty on this unit is for remarkable period of 25 years!
Trudeau is a fourth generation family owned and operated business that was established in 1889. Every day, it draws on the rich experience it has amassed in it’s over a century-long presence as a player in this field and channels it into the development of kitchen and house ware that have come to be recognized as a great blend of sophistication and simplicity. It describes itself as a purveyor of products that feature exceptional quality and are easily identified by their unique Trudeau design. Its partnership with a team of talented designers and committed retailers is one of the ways it’s able to see to its valuable customers’ needs and keep them supplied with stylish products now and for a long time to come.
The Trudeau Large Gravy Separator is a 4-cup capacity tool that has been designed with robust and durable plastic. Its material is so tough that it can withstand temperatures as high as 4000 Fahrenheit; you know what this means, right? Yes, not only can you transfer your meat stock into it directly from the stove, you can also heat up its contents in a microwave without having to worry about damage.
You know how they say it’s the little things that make the difference? Well, same is true for this separator because on its side are measurements in both the metric and imperial systems, and they aren’t just printed on, they embossed, so even with regular use, the measurements will be clear and easy to read.
The strainer is quite wide and this is to afford you the necessary space for a clean, mess-free transfer of the broth from pot to separator. Its spout is wide as well, and while one might expect this to cause spills when transferring into smaller containers, the fact is it doesn’t. It is well-designed and such small details as these make it a worthwhile investment. Although it’s not immediately obvious, the opening that connects the spout to the body of the separator is way down at the bottom of the container which results in an efficient separation process. The handle is roomy, large enough for convenient maneuvering of the fat separator during use.
For ease of maintenance, this kitchen tool is top rack dishwasher safe; if you’d prefer to wash it by hand, the lid is removable and the inside of the separator is spacious enough to fit a sponge. For your buying confidence, the manufacturer backs this separator with a 5-year warranty.
Norpro has been run for many years by Kirsten Miller, the daughter of Gunnar Lie, CEO and founder of the company. She has kept faith with the principles upon which her father established the brand and it’s continued to grow, earning a place at the cutting edge of product development. Norpro’s products are manufactured using current technologies and introduces its customers to innovations in the industry. Everything it does is geared towards offering its customers the best quality in both product and service and an overall top-notch experience. Conscious of its customers’ loyalty through the years, it dedicates a lot of time to the study of global trends and incorporates its findings into the designing of its products. This ensures, with the entrance of every new era, its customers aren’t left hanging.
The Norpro Separator/Strainer is a clear, 1¾ cup (400 milliliters) capacity fat separator made from a toughened plastic with sturdiness that keeps it from cracking or breaking on impact. This gives you a strong fat separator you can count on for a long time. On its side are raised markings that graduate the separator in both milliliters and cups so you can tell how much gravy has gone into the preparation of a meal. The raised design of the measurements will provide easy, at-a-glance readings for a long time to come.
It has a removable plastic strainer with holes that are not too large. If you live alone or are planning a recipe that will not need lots of gravy, this separator might just be what you need as its small size will help you get small separating jobs done without the wastage a larger tool causes.
Yeah, we’ve come to the end of this review and we hope you found that fat separator. Go on and make it yours already. If not, have a look through what else is made by these trustworthy brands.