By now you have probably seen the chaotic TikTok video where a young woman rinses some cooked ground beef to get rid of “all this grease.” It is upsetting content for people who love flavour, but I suspect it’s even more upsetting for plumbers.
At first I didn’t want to write about this video at all. The internet seemed enraged enough, and the Emily Harper (the young woman in the video) has since posted another video stating that she has gotten death threats over the ground beef video which is — let me be clear — a completely unacceptable, absurdly disproportionate reaction.
But you really should not rinse your beef like Emily does in her video (and you really should not accept things you see on TikTok without questioning them). Not only will it make it taste worse (fat is where the flavour is), but much more importantly it will wreak havoc on your plumbing. As I’ve explained before, even if the fat is liquid at room temperature, it can clog up your pipes and demolish your personal or neighbourhood plumbing, resulting in backed up sinks or, on a larger and more upsetting scale, basements flooded with sewage.
If you are upset by the amount of grease that gets rendered out of your ground meat when you cook it, you can take several courses of action that don’t wreck your pipes. You can buy a leaner beef blend, or turkey, or maybe pivot to beans, or you can drain your grease into a container, let it cool, then throw it in the trash. (Or, if it’s bacon grease or chicken fat, save it and cook other things in it.)
But do not pour it down the drain, and do not rinse it. Grease is hydrophobic anyway, so you’ll never get all of it (though some of it can be physically blasted away with a strong stream of water), and you’ll be rinsing away any seasonings you happened to have applied during the cooking process.
And, while we’re on the subject of things we should not do, please do not email the young woman who made the TikTok video. I assure you all of this has been explained to her already and, as a receiver of hostile emails, I also assure you that they are not “helping” in any meaningful way. I would, however, like to talk to the “Nutrition” teacher that allegedly shared this tip with Emily. Please, whoever you are, stop telling children to dump grease down their drains.