Unitasker Wednesday: Fat Magnet

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

When I began receiving emails from readers nominating the Fat Magnet for our Unitasker feature, I was a bit nervous to follow the links. I feared some sort of bullying might be transpiring or not-so-family-friendly content was on the other end. Alas, there was neither bullying nor unseemly mature content, only an incredibly ineffective unitasker. Introducing the Fat Magnet:

When I finally followed the links, my understanding of the periodic table of elements set off my dubious detector about this device that is supposed to skim fat off foods. This “magnet” is not a magnet. It is made of aluminum and aluminum is a non-ferrous metal and not magnetic. (The only way you’ll get a real magnet to stick to a ball of aluminum foil is if you involve tape or glue.) Also, fat is not magnetic. Fats are lipids, and unless the animal you plan to eat had itself consumed a ridiculous amount of ferromagnetic metals over its lifetime (and I mean a lethal amount of iron, nickel, and/or cobalt), that fat won’t have any way of being magnetic. (Don’t believe me? Try sticking a refrigerator magnet to the meat you just cooked. How’d that work out for you?)

In theory, the Fat Magnet is supposed to work by drawing fats in liquids to the cold surface of the “magnet.” In scientific terms, this process is called solidifying. It’s hoping to turn liquid fats back into solids, and then get those solids to coagulate onto the cold “magnet.” If the liquid you’re working with isn’t especially hot, you can usually do this simply by dipping a spoon into ice water and then skimming the back of it along the top of the liquid. The slightly warmer fat usually sticks to the colder spoon. You have to repeatedly stick the spoon in the ice water, though, as the warmer liquid will warm up the spoon and make this process completely unhelpful. I’m more of a fan of just using a spoon to stir the liquid and create a bit of a whirlpool. This quick stirring pushes the heavier fat toward the edge of the pan (centrifugal force) and I just skim off the fat from the edges of the pan. Irrespective of the method, neither requires you to need something other than a spoon … which you already own.

Save your money and disappointment and reduce fat in your foods by consuming less meat or cooking only lean cuts of meat or trying one of the spoon techniques I previously described. Honestly, though, fat is often the most yummy part of meat as it is what gives it a rich, buttery flavor. Imagine bacon or pork belly without their delicious fat … well, I don’t even want to think about how depressing that would taste …

Thanks go to the dozens of amazing readers who tipped us off to the Fat Magnet.

14 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Fat Magnet”

  1. posted by Rachel on

    Oh! Perhaps I was skimming (no pun intended) too quickly, but at first I thought this was intended to pull fat out of *people*! Of course that would be ridiculous, but there are a lot of ridiculous “health” claims out there, so…

    Anyway, this is pretty silly as it actually is intended. 😉

  2. posted by EJ on

    the funnest way to do this is to pour the juice into a zip lock bag and let it sit for a few minutes. Then poke a hole in the bottom of the bag with a toothpick and let the juice that is in the bottom of the bag trickle out. The fat all stays floating at the top of the bag (don’t knead the bag) and you can see when you’ve reached the point where almost all the fat-less juice is out, then you just tip the bag over to stop it and throw it away.

  3. posted by Susan on

    Or, you know, you can just put the stuff in the fridge & remove the fat from the top when it solidifies. Or use a defatting cup made for the purpose (almost a unitasker but can serve as a measuring cup as well), with the spout attached at the bottom so you pour off non-fatty liquid & leave fat in the cup.

  4. posted by Dorothy on

    I’ve seen this sort of device for years, and have been mildly tempted. But I have not succumbed and this one looks like the worst of the lot: The fat would get in between the aluminum and plastic; it would be a mess to clean.

    As I read this I realized, I have an solid, cast-aluminum ice-cream spade. It’s great for scooping rock-hard ice-cream because the heat of your hand warms it just enough. This spade belonged to my mother so it’s probably 55+ years old. I could use it for the same purpose.

    And, yes, you can dirty another vessel or waste a plastic bag, or take the time to cool your food and scrape off the fat. But sometimes you just want to get the excess fat off the top of your soup or stew or chili now.

    As for the “use leaner meats” some of us can’t always afford the best of the best. And there’s a difference between the unctuousness of pork belly, and the unwanted fat from ground beef.

  5. posted by @R on

    Like Dorothy, I can see this being somewhat useful. And, like Dorothy, I immediately started to think of things currently in my kitchen which could be stored in the freezer to do exactly the same thing! I’ve seen people use icecubes for this purpose, as well, but you have to be quick. (Oh, and the fat, being oil, is usually *lighter* than whatever water-based thing you are cooking. That’s why it’s floating on top.) So, while there was a germ of a good idea in there, I do agree this would be a unitasker!

  6. posted by eccoyle on

    I’m really disappointed that there isn’t an infomercial to go with this.

  7. posted by Holly: The Domestic Dork on

    We just use an ice cube when we need to pull fat from something we’re cooking.

  8. posted by MJ Ray on

    “Imagine bacon or pork belly without their delicious fat … ”

    Actually, Bacon medallions sell quite well in England. You strange fat-eaters!

  9. posted by Anna on

    Looks to me like an ultrasound thingy.

  10. posted by Erin Doland on

    @eccoyle — I’ve seen a commercial on tv for this, but can’t find one online. I whole heartedly agree that an infomercial would improve the entertainment value greatly. Oh how I love infomercials! 🙂

  11. posted by CM on

    So this is a product whose entire purpose is to be slightly colder than whatever you are putting it in? I would love to see someone defend this one.

    Glad I read the post and comments, though — some good tips here for skimming fat! (Which I agree should only be done when absolutely necessary.)

  12. posted by Christine on

    I use a spoon where I’ve bent the bowl of the spoon so it’s perpendicular to the handle, makes skimming a lot easier.

  13. posted by Saint_Sithney on

    I got one of the better-made ones (on sale!) for my dad. He makes several big vats of turkey soup every year, and lugging the huge vats to the fridge to cool them, skimming the fat, and then heating them back up is a pain (my father is almost 72 and had torn rotator cuffs). Tilting the vats doesn’t work well either, and skimming with a spoon is really laborious.

    So it’s one of those devices that’s useful for some and not for others.

  14. posted by Rae on

    So you mean if I rub this over my thighs it won’t remove my fat? LOL

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