The Chilly Trick For Removing Extra Grease From Stew

There's nothing more comforting than a bowl of stew, but have you ever wondered why they sometimes taste greasy or oily? This is due to excess fat that swims around on the surface, per NoTime2Cook, and if it's not properly skimmed off, it'll affect the texture, taste, and calorie levels of your stew, per Better Homes & Gardens.

Modern Ghana explains a few reasons why stews end up tasting greasy. For starters, fatty cuts of meat (like beef short ribs, ground lamb, and ground beef, via Nutrionix) will, of course, equate to more fat in your dish. Thus, it may be better to opt for meats with reduced fat content. They also say stews should be cooked slowly so you'll be able to see and skim off the fat from the top. If the stew is aggressively boiled, that fat will mix in with the rest of the ingredients, which contributes to those oily flavors that may be more difficult to salvage.

It's no secret that skimming the fat is the way to go when cooking a stew, but this has a few drawbacks. First, it can be a pain to hover over the stew for an unending amount of time to constantly scoop up the excess fat. NoTime2Cook also mentions that this method typically results in less overall broth in the stew and some home cooks aren't too eager to waste away their hard work. 

Luckily, we've got a simple "hack" for such a greasy conundrum.

Grab a ladle and ice cubes

Sometimes, grandparents really do know what's best when it comes to cooking, and that seems to be especially true for removing excess grease from stews. In a TikTok video shared by brunchwithbabs, who describes herself as "everyone's grandmother," a ladle with ice cubes is lowered onto the surface of the stew. (Don't lower it too much though; You don't want a bunch of ice cubes to spill into the stew). After the ladle rests on the surface for a few moments, it's lifted up to show viewers how much grease is coated on the bottom. The TikTok user wipes off the bottom part of the ladle with a paper towel to remove the grease and then notes that this process can be repeated to soak up more of those oily bits.

But how does this work? Well, the user states that "the cold from the ice is going to attract all that grease." Kitchn likens this icy ladle trick to that of magnets and notes that this works best for broths with a thick texture or ones that are loaded with fat and/or oil.

But if you have a lighter broth that isn't as greasy, Kitchn notes that this technique may be a no-go. An alternative would be to place an ice cube directly into the stew, which will "coagulate the fat" to be fished out, via An Inexact Science.