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Jun 10, 2004 05:35 PM

Bacon Grease

  • p

Forget about the bacon; I want the grease. I flavor greens with it, lubricate a pan for cornbread, fortify other oil for browning vegetables, and on and on.
Tonight I cooked liver and onions, both in bacon grease. The problem is that I don't eat much bacon anymore and was always short on grease.

I've discovered cheap, unevenly sliced bacon, more fat than lean. At Shop and Save recently I bought two packages for the price of one. This bacon renders out a lot of fat, which I refrigerate in a covered jar. If you're like me, buy the cheapest, least attractive bacon you can find. You can always find something to do with the crisps of bacon, and you'll have all that lovely grease.

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  1. Pat, I also save my bacon grease in the fridge in a covered jar. How do you solve the problem of "rotating your stock?" I strain the grease into the jar, onto the hardened grease already in there. When I use it I take hard grease from the top of the jar (the most recent). The bottom 1/3-1/2 of the jar never gets used. I don't think that the grease will go bad in the short-term, but over a period of years? Is there a solution other then tossing the jar every so often (and losing that trove of grease)?

    35 Replies
    1. re: TomSwift

      you could try using 2 jars.

      1. re: mik

        This thread is better than porno.

        1. re: Le Petomane

          I used to keep bacon fat in the fridge for years in a mason jar and always pulled it out when I made home fries.....yumm yumm!!!!!!!

          1. re: Le Petomane

            This thread IS porno.

        2. re: TomSwift

          Warm it up and stir occasionally. I also do that with my carefully saved duck fat.

          1. re: Candy
            Too Many Kooks

            It's pretty dangerous to warm up food every so often and then return it to the fridge, even if you'll get away with it 99 times out of 100!

            Without taking a stand on the method's effectiveness on the food quality side, on the health side I'd urge you to heat it all the way to sterilizing temps for a few minutes, then return it to a clean container. Then, let it cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge as warming up the fridge with hot food will shorten the safe life of the other food in the fridge.

            1. re: Too Many Kooks

              Lord, neither I nor anybody I know does anything but pour the grease into a container (mine has a strainer on it) and stick it in the refrigerator (or wherever they keep it) and use it when needed.

              When I was growing up we didn't have refrigeration, so the bacon grease simply sat covered in the kitchen, and was used and replenished without regard to epoch layers. I can't recall anyone getting sick or dying from it.

              Sometimes I think we kill ourselves by being overly cautious.

              1. re: Sandy

                I agree. My mother grew up without refrigeration, and she still leaves meat fat out in a can at room temp, cooks in unwashed pans that have been sitting out at room temp for days and have been only wiped out with a paper towel, and leaves cooked foods including meats sitting out for hours and hours "in case so-and-so is hungry when he gets home." You'd think one of us would have gotten sick in the forty years that Mom has been cooking, but none of us has yet!

                I'm not advocating Mom's methods. I'm more careful myself. However, sometimes the caution people take is excessive.

                1. re: Browniebaker

                  I keep mine in a freezer in a microwaveable jar. It only takes half a minute to melt what I need....then I let it cool down a bit and pop it right back into the freezer.

                2. re: Sandy

                  I just store the bacon fat in a jar next to the stove so it is always there. I know olive oil or veggie oil is better for you, but when it comes to potatoes, soups, collards or beans, nothing beats it.

                  I do not strain it. I like the bits and feel that it adds more favor. I've never worried about not refridgerating it. Actually it never crossed my mind. Been doing it for 3 years and so far so good.

            2. re: TomSwift

              You could always spoon out a glob from the top, set it aside and then dip into the bottom layer for the portion of bacon grease to be used and then return the set aside portion to the jar.

              BTW, besides the uses mentioned (cornbread and liver/onions) what other dishes benefit from some leftover bacon grease?

              1. re: bk

                Greens, green beans,butter beans, black eyed peas, potatoes, fried eggs, croutons. Any place where a nice smoky bacon flavor would be welcome.

                1. re: bk

                  fried eggs, pancakes, or potatoes(hash browns,homefries). also good in braised cabbage, sauerkraut.

                  1. re: bk

                    Wilted Spinach Salad.

                    Wash and trim one pound of lovely raw spinach and place in a serving bowl. Slice 1/3 pound (or more) mushrooms over the spinach.

                    Cut 10 raw bacon strips into 1" pieces and fry until crisp. Drain the bacon bits and sprinkle over the spinach and mushrooms.

                    Briefly sauté thin rounds of a medium red onion in the bacon grease. Deglaze the pan with a three tablespoons or so of balsamic vinegar. Pour hot vinegar/bacon grease/onion over spinach and mushrooms.

                    Some folks like this with crumbled hardboiled egg on top.

                    Serve immediately.

                    This is just as good with just leftover bacon grease.

                    1. re: Cristina

                      Thanks, Cristina-

                      The Somerset House in Santa Barbara used to serve spinach salad from the cart.

                      For my family this was a ritual: The night before my departure back east to boarding school, we'd have dinner at the Somerset House.

                      With spinach salad.

                      (And the hard-boiled egg.)

                      This is a great recipe. And a nice memory for me.


                    2. re: bk

                      german potato salad.

                      1. re: bk

                        Apples and onions.

                        1. re: bk

                          Fried chicken, liver, filet mignon, etc. If you're gonna kill yourself, do it right!

                          1. re: Ellen

                            That's why we have Lipitor!

                          2. re: bk

                            Refried beans, a staple here in San Diego, are great when made with bacon fat. I make bacon in order to make the refried beans. It is simple. Soak a pound of pinto beans or black beans. Drain water and pour fresh water to cover. Simmer beans until tender, you may have to add more water, keep and eye on them. When beans are tender, smash against the side of the pan to smoosh them. Continue doing this until the beans are the texture that you like. When I get to this point, I add a little chicken base, a couple cloves of garlic, and Tabasco or Louisiana hot sauce to taste. These make great burritos, bean dip, and freezes well too. The black beans are our favorites. I make a bean dip out of it also by adding some cream cheese, cilantro, and green onions. Sprinkle with some shredded cheese, pop in the oven until bubbly and serve with some homemade tortilla chips.

                            1. re: bk

                              Most fish, particularly salmon, benefits from a spoonful of bacon grease in the pan. The CRS King that is available now is amazing with it. Complimented especially well by pinot, which accentuates notes from both bacon and salmon.

                              It's a dirty little secret of most high-end restaurants that fish has some prok fat element in it. Ironic, when so many people order fish under the impression that it is "vegetarian".

                              1. re: Fidelixi

                                That's what they get for thinking fish are vegetables ;)

                              2. re: bk

                                Like my mother and grandmother before me, I fry potatoes in bacon grease. Also liver and onions. Just don't tell my doctor. :) D.

                                1. re: bk

                                  Use it to pop popcorn!

                                  -- Paul

                                  1. re: bk

                                    Drizzle a little "choctaw seasoning" in your muffin batter, not just for cornbread.

                                    1. re: bk

                                      COOKING 101

                                      1) heat cast iron pan
                                      2) add bacon grease
                                      3) decide what to cook

                                      it ALL tastes better sauteed in bacon grease

                                      1. re: bk

                                        Boil new red potatoes with the skins on; peel at the table and mash with a fork; season with salt, pepper, and some minced raw onion . . . then spoon HOT bacon grease over the potatoes (listen to that sizzling sound) and mix . . . heaven on your plate!

                                      2. re: TomSwift

                                        I use a squat jar, not a tall one. I dig in with a spoon along the side and get new, less new, and old in one spoonful. But mostly, I dont worry about it. And I go in fits and starts. During the colder months, I use more. Soon now, I'll be tapering off for a while. When it's hot I eat very light at home and that often means no grease. I figure it all evens out.

                                        1. re: TomSwift

                                          You gave me a good idea, Tom. I'm going to freeze what's left. Thanks!

                                          1. re: TomSwift

                                            I've never ever ever had bacon grease go bad. We have a container just meant for it, it is a metal canister with a removable strainer, a lid with a second removable knob so you don't have to take off the lid to pour in the grease. When we want some to cook with, the whole lid and strainer comes off. It sits between the burners of the stove and it's just always been there, into three generations, never refrigerated. Absolutely no other grease goes in but bacon. Sorry if that grosses anybody out, but my mom is 86 and still cooks with it.

                                            When I was a kid I was told that bacon fat would keep, but bear fat doesn't, and rancid bear fat killed Jesse Chisholm (Chisholm Trail)

                                            1. re: Betty

                                              That sounds like a great little container you've got. Does it have a brand name, although if it's been around for 3 generations they may not make them any more.

                                              1. re: TomSwift

                                                Tom, I just took a picture of the grease can, and put it on my middle school art website for you. Maybe it will give you a clue what to look for in junk shops - in the south most likely. There aren't any markings on it.


                                                  1. re: Betty

                                                    I've never seen anything like it. It looks like aluminum. I'll keep an eye out for that shape at the swap meets. Thanks very much!

                                                1. re: Betty

                                                  My Grandpa always had a a can of Bacon grease on the stove.
                                                  He used to mix in when he made biscuits
                                                  I wish i had that recipe he used..

                                              2. I have containers in my freezer that I use to make a bluebird suet with kayro syrup, cornmeal and peanut butter. But I got lazy (Lowes has the cakes so cheap) so I wonder how long will they be good in the freezer?

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Sweet Pea

                                                  I was informed not too long ago that using bacon grease for birds was very bad for the birds due to the high salt content of cured bacon.

                                                  1. re: Ellen

                                                    Wow, you're right! I never thought about the salt.

                                                    1. re: Ellen

                                                      which is part of why bacon grease lasts basically forever

                                                  2. Don't just use the fat, make "bacon au jus" with the "fond" left in the pan!

                                                    I use Nueske's Thick-Sliced Applewood Smoked Bacon (my fav--heaven on earth IMO). I bake it on a cookie sheet with sides at 400 degrees for about 18 minutes, then pour off the grease (can do 2 batches on the same pan--any more and the "fond" will burn).

                                                    Then, add water just to cover the bottom and return it to the oven to "deglaze" for a few minutes. Let it cool, then put liquid in a baggie and freeze (don't forget to date it).

                                                    This bacon "au jus" is fab in soups, etc. It is my "secret ingredient".

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Funwithfood

                                                      Do you have a smoke issue when makin' bacon in a convential oven? If yes, how do you overcome it?

                                                      I tried it once and when I opened the oven door, my apt filled with so much smoke,that I was afraid to continue and had to finish it off in a frying pan.

                                                      Even with a smoky apt, it was the crispest bacon I have ever had.

                                                      1. re: bk

                                                        I never have smoke--even with thin, regular store-brand bacon. Do you have an oven thermometer? Perhaps your oven runs hot.

                                                    2. After I microwave bacon strips between two sheets of paper towels (that's how I "fry" them), I save the bacon-grease-soaked sheets in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. The sheets are great for oiling pans, including cast-iron pans after each use.

                                                      I also keep a jar of bacon grease in the fridge or freezer. Good in red beans (for beans and rice), baked beans, corn chowder, cornbread, and cornbread dressing.

                                                      1. Hey Pat-san,

                                                        I'm thinking that bacon grease, used as a part of the shortening, would make a great pie crust for quiche lorraine. Should also be great in with the crust for any savory dish calling for a pastry ;)

                                                        Let's not forget that besides using it for greasing the pan, bacon grease is excellent as one of the shortenings used IN cornbread!!

                                                        My Grandma used to make ethereal biscuits on Sunday mornings, using the a couple of tablespoons of grease from the breakfast bacon in her recipe. She always made a double batch, so us grandkids would have something to snack on between the time of hearing Grandpa preach from the pulpit, and Sunday dinner.

                                                        Grandma's left-over morning biscuits, slathered with her homemade strawberry preserves, could make a grown man weak in the knees, and give us grandkids the energy to start hand-cranking the 5 gallon ice cream freezer!! Damn, them was some good biscuits.

                                                        I've used bacon grease to brown everything from pork chops to rabbit.

                                                        And, lest we forget, Ernest Matthew Mickler documented more uses for bacon grease than was probably ever previously collected, in his "White Trash Cooking" cookbooks. These should be on everybody's "must read" list of cookbooks.


                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Andy P.

                                                          I sell those books in my gift shop in Pigeon Forge, TN