Gravy is an essential part of any Christmas roast, but it can also be high in fat and calories. If you want to enjoy delicious gravy without the guilt, you might want to use a gravy separator, says Dan, the Christmas.co.uk roast dinner gravy expert.
A gravy separator is a kitchen gadget that helps you separate the fat from the meat juices, so you can make a healthier and tastier gravy.
For me, when making gravy, one of the most important ingredients will be the pan juices and crispy bits which are often baked onto the baking tray.
Depending on what you’re cooking there may be a substantial amount of rendered fat in the baking tray. You won’t want to serve your guests a gravy which has a thick layer of fat on top, so you need to find a way to separate the liquid that remains in the pan – enter the fat separator jug.
If you’re roasting a large duck or goose, you’ll be amazed at just how much fat will be sitting in the bottom of the tray.
A fat separator allows you to retain the pan juices for use in the gravy while also separating the fat for separate use or to discard.
How to use a gravy separator
Here is my quick guide on how to use a gravy separator for your Christmas roast:
- After roasting your turkey, chicken, beef, or any other meat, transfer it to a carving board and cover it with foil to keep it warm.
- Pour the meat juices into the gravy separator carefully, making sure not to spill or overflow. If your gravy separator has a strainer, it will catch any unwanted bits, such as herbs, bones or skin. If not, you can use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the juices before pouring them into the separator.
- Wait for a few seconds until the fat and the meat juices separate completely in the gravy separator. You will see a clear line between the two layers.
- Choose a gravy separator that suits your needs. There are different types of gravy separators, which may include a strainer, and they are: trigger or spout.
OXO Fat Separator
Don’t just take my word for it, here’s a quick demonstration from the people at OXO on how easy it is to use a fat separator.
It is straightforward – and I learned why there is a stopper for the spout (it is, apparently, to stop fat entering the spout thanks to the air block that is created. Who knew?).
The presenter also makes clear that by separating the fat means delivering a healthier gravy or stock.
Two types of fat separator
I’ve had great results with two types of fat separator – the first looks like a jug with a spout that starts at the bottom of jug. The fat rises to the top so as you begin to pour from the jug it takes the liquid that is right at the bottom (which will either be a jus for your meat or can be used to create a thicker gravy). Once this has been poured off what remains is the fat which you can use for cooking, retain or dispose of.
You can find gravy separators in various sizes and materials, such as plastic, glass, or stainless steel. Some of them have measurement markings, handles, or lids for convenience.
There is an alternative version of this product made by OXO which uses a handle to dispense the gravy. While you may not be bringing the gravy separator to your Christmas table it frequently makes an appearance at our Sunday chicken roasts where there isn’t much fat to separate but it just makes a convenient delivery system. My kids love dispensing their own gravy directly from the bottom of jug with the pull handle system.
Both types will likely have an integrated sieve on top which allows you to pour your cooled pan juices into the jug without having to separate out any solid pieces which is handy when you’re in the harried state of trying to get all the finishing touches for the meal ready.
Depending on the type of gravy separator you decide to buy, you can either squeeze the trigger, tilt the spout, or lift the lid to release the meat juices from the bottom of the separator into a saucepan or a gravy boat.
You simply leave the fat behind in the separator and discard it later.
Christmas.co.uk top tip: We have found that a gravy separator is a great way to collect the fat when cooking goose or duck, for example, for later use. Recycling goose fat in this way is great for roast potatoes!
You can now use the meat juices to make your gravy as usual.
You can add some flour, stock, wine, herbs, salt, pepper or any other ingredients you like to enhance the flavour and texture of your gravy.
The end result is an impressive and easy way to get the meat juices and fat separated so you and your guests get a tasty gravy to enjoy with their Christmas roast.