I use the following approach

  1. Beef stew meat (I think it's beef chuck)
  2. Soak in cold water for 20-120 min
  3. Pressure cook for 12 min
  4. Refrigerate
  5. Next day, hope to lift the solid fat out

Sometimes the fat freezes into a nice solid sheet - which is great! Other times it's tons of little pieces which is a bit of work to separate

How can I best ensure the solid sheet?

  • 7
    Why are you soaking the meat in water?
    – GdD
    Jun 28, 2022 at 8:49
  • 1
    This is going to sound counter-intuitive, but use fattier meat. (So there’s enough fat to form the sheet)
    – Joe
    Jun 28, 2022 at 13:45
  • @Joe That's an interesting idea. Do you know if the resultant meal then typically contains more or less fat (as compared to cooking the same meal using a meat with less fat)? Jun 28, 2022 at 14:12
  • @RockPaperLz-MaskitorCasket : it depends on what you’re comparing it to. It will have a little more fat than similarly defatted stew made with leaner beef, but typically less than stew that you couldn’t successfully defat. How you render the fat & cut the meat up also plays a factor
    – Joe
    Jun 28, 2022 at 14:48
  • 3
    Does this answer your question? How can I remove excess fat from stews or soups without refrigerating?
    – Luciano
    Jun 28, 2022 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


I assume the fat has just been emulsified in the stew's liquid, so it will not form a large mass.

I'd slowly reheat the stew and cool it down again so that the fat can properly rise up to the surface.

  • 1
    In this case, yes. In general when trying to defat stew this way, letting it cool down some in the container that it will be chilled in, and having sufficient liquid so the fat can float to the top both help it separate well
    – Joe
    Jun 28, 2022 at 14:52

Spoon with holes.

Here you go, Scott.

spoon with holes

Amazon called this a skimmer and I have one that I use for lifting the fat out. I did not know its name was "Skimmer" which is kind of embarassing because I have been calling it "flat spoon thing with holes" all this time. Or you can use an actual spoon with holes in it and take a little more time fishing for fat. Either way you can get the fat whether it is in big or little chunks.

If you do this with pork carnitas be sure to save the fat to fry the pork in for the next carnitas making step! If you do it with beef be sure to save the fat to fry the potatoes in, because you are making potatoes, right?

  • How does the spoon influence the formation of a solid and “liftable” sheet of fat? Please check the question(in the body) again, I’m not sure this is an answer. Helpful advice, sure, but not answering the question at hand.
    – Stephie
    Jul 14, 2022 at 9:17
  • @Stephie: you can put it (or any metal spoon) in the fridge or freezer, and then move it across the top of the stew; fat will congeal on it
    – Joe
    Jul 14, 2022 at 22:38

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