Trouble With Fat Separating

46
10
Joined Jun 30, 2012
Hello,

I made Beef Stew and again, my sauce was really greasy. After cooking, I strain it through fine mesh into a fat separating pitcher. The fat rises to the top, but I always find there is still more fat mixed in with the rest of the braising liquid, congealed right into it. Must be some mistake I'm making? Thanks.
 
2,238
515
Joined Feb 17, 2010
I think the word you are looking for is homogenized. Fat will mix with the liquid if cooked hard enough.

Example, keep a chicken stock at a rolling or slow boil instead of a simmer, the fat and liquid become one.
 
2,403
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Joined Oct 9, 2008
To expand a little on ChefBuba's remarks:

If a liquid is greasy despite being fully skimmed of free fat, this is because fat has become emulsified into the liquid. This normally happens when (a) the liquid is very hot, and (b) the liquid is moving. The motion can occur from stirring or whisking, but it very often is caused simply by bubbling at a fast simmer or a full boil. Therefore, chances are, the culprit in your stew is that it was allowed to cook too fast.

Once you have brought the stew together and are ready for the long braise portion of the recipe, the surface of the liquid should never again bubble more than a tiny trace. If you are cooking inside an oven, check every 15 minutes to be sure it's stable.

If you don't allow emulsification of the fat, you're going to get a great deal of additional fat removed at the end in your separator... and a much cleaner taste in your stew.

Good luck!
 
46
10
Joined Jun 30, 2012
Thanks. Frustrating though because the directions say bring it to a boil then lower it to a shimmer, so I guess never bring it to a boil then. Also they have braising temp at 300 F.
 
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2,563
537
Joined Apr 25, 2014
I find it easier to braise on the stovetop just keep it at a low simmer.   Much easier to lift the lid and skim fat if you want.  Or in certain dishes like rendang you want to remove water vapor.  Really difficult if you have to open and close the oven all the time.
 
46
10
Joined Jun 30, 2012
I thought the whole point though is the cooking vessel is surrounded by heat versus from the bottom?? it would make it easier as you are saying. From now on I'm going to keep the temp much lower ever if it takes longer. Thank you everyone. 
 
2,563
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Joined Apr 25, 2014
 
I thought the whole point though is the cooking vessel is surrounded by heat versus from the bottom??
It really doesn't matter much.  The reason people use the oven is to clear up stovetop space so they can cook other things.
 
2,480
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Joined Feb 8, 2009
I do all my braising in a heavy duty restaurant style pot. I braise everything at 285 degrees for long periods of time in the oven. Durning the process of prepping the roast I cut/trim off all the excess fat. My cows are pasture raised corn finished with a lot of marbling. I think what your seeing is the braising liquid emulsifying with some of the fat. When you take out the roast you will see a separation of the liquids. When a stock is being produced in a correct manner it's call degreasing. Skimming the top of the stock to make a more clear and perfect tasting liquid. I don't skim the fat off the top of my braising liquid until it's finished cooking. I then skim off as much as I can.......
 

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