Save your bacon fat for a next-level cooking WIN

Guest post by Dootsie Bug
Stoneware Grease Keeper in black and white
Stoneware Grease Keeper in black and white

Of the many little pieces of culture shock my Connecticut-raised boyfriend experienced when he moved to Kentucky (the pronunciation of “aunt,” “iron,” and bibbed overalls among them), Southern cooking has been a bit of a revelation for him. Biscuits and gravy? Pecan pie? BACON FAT?

It was a real shock to me to learn that some of y’all aren’t saving your bacon grease for later use. Why not? For all intents and purposes, bacon fat is extremely flavourful lard. Anywhere you use it, it will impart a smoky, meaty goodness that will take your food to the next level of awesome. If you love bacon, you’re going to love bacon fat–which you’re already probably struggling to dispose of, anyway.

How to do it:

  1. Gather a bacon fat receptacle. It needs to be reasonably heatproof (I recommend strongly against plastic) and something you can later cover. Mason or jelly jars work perfectly. My boyfriend and aunt swear by mugs covered with plastic wrap and a rubber band. [Editor’s note: You can also buy “grease keepers.”]
  2. Make PORK bacon. Skillet, griddle or in the oven preparations will all make perfectly usable bacon fat. Don’t add anything to your bacon–additional oil, fat, sugar or spices will make the final product weird.
  3. Let the bacon grease cool. You can wait for it to solidify, but scraping it out can be annoying.
  4. Pour (or scrape) the fat into your container.
  5. Let cool further, then refrigerate.

TIPS:

• Refrigerated and covered, this can last up to a year. Watch out for mold in the jar or a rancid smell. When in doubt, throw it out.
• Don’t save bacon fat if you burned your bacon. It tastes poopy.
• If you don’t like little bacon crispy bits in your grease, strain it with a mesh sieve when you’re pouring it into the jar.
• You can pour new bacon fat onto old in your jar. I advise taking the container out of the fridge and letting it warm up a bit before adding hot/warm bacon fat. Extreme hot + extreme cold can cause the jar to crack or shatter.
• BE SAFE! Don’t burn yourself. Do it for Dootsie.

Some ideas on how to use it:

• Replace lard in a biscuit recipe
• Grease a skillet for fry/skillet breads (pancakes, hoecakes, cornbread, etc.)
• Lube up a grilled cheese or other pan-toasted sandwich
• Fried chicken (I usually just add some bacon grease to shortening)
• Add to cooking greens or green beans
• Replace oil when making popcorn
• Replace HALF the butter in a cookie recipe

Who else saves their pig juices? What do YOU do with it?

Comments on Save your bacon fat for a next-level cooking WIN

  1. Ok but have you tried a teaspoon or two of it mixed into Kraft Dinner?
    Because we had bacon last month, and now every box of KD we’ve had since then (I won’t say how many because it’s kinda terrible how often we eat orange food-like substances) has had bacon fat mixed in with the margarine. I might cry when I run out. I don’t even need to add extra cheese any more.

    Also, a normal sized bacon pack got us basically an entire cup of fat. I don’t remember it ever being so much! Should I be offended that there was more fat and less bacon in my pack? Cause I’m totally not.

  2. My mom has kept one of these for a long time. I did for awhile but let my jar get moldy. Nowadays bacon is so stinking expensive and I don’t buy it. It might be worth buying a pound or two just to save the grease and keep that flavor around for much longer. Also kentucky represent! I’m in lexington bracing ourselves for the potential madness that will follow tonight’s final four game.

  3. Oh heck yes! We use ours for sautéing and frying up grilled cheese sandwiches, among other things. It’s also wonderful to save the top layer of fat (schmaltz) from bone broth or stock (after cooling) for the same reason- it’s seasoned, wonderful lard that can be used for a variety of cooking and baking needs.

  4. Someone at work was talking about she hated spinach and wondering how she could make it taste better. I piped up with “well, fry up some bacon, use the grease from the bacon to brown some garlic and then wilt your spinach in the bacon grease. Top it with the crumbled bacon”. They were HORRIFIED. Pity. They don’t know what they’re missing.
    We keep bacon grease in the fridge (big container) and a smaller container of grease on the stove. It goes in eggs , on chicken, to saute veggies, ummm.. a whole slew of things. OH! Ever made baconaise?! It isn’t quite a spreadable right from the fridge but MAN does it make a killer sandwich!

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