HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Are you making a specialty food? Share your adventure
TELL US

Bacon Grease

p
Pat Hammond Jun 10, 2004 05:35 PM

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.

  1. u
    user961546 Aug 20, 2010 02:14 PM

    Use a little of the grease to fry corn cut ff the cob and add a little of that bacon and some onion too. Can you say MMM, MMM, Good?

    1. f
      FrankD Apr 2, 2010 01:39 AM

      Bacon grease? Bacon Grease?! Bacon GREASE?!?!

      Around here, we call it "bacon nectar".

      1. EWSflash Jan 15, 2010 04:47 PM

        If you're making cornbread in a cast iron skillet (like you should be), generously cover the bottom of the skillet with bacon and put it in the oven to heat up before you pour the batter in.
        If you have the corn-shaped molds, so much the better. Be sure there's some fat pooling in the bottom of the pan. It will give flavor to cornbread when it soaks up some of the fat and also nonsticks your skillet.

        1. m
          melly Jan 15, 2010 09:02 AM

          My mom saved bacon grease and so do I. Throwing it away is a sin in my book! It is great for frying eggs in, for sauteing greens in, for greasing savory baking dishes or pans, for frying potatoes in..onions too!

          Okay...I'll be in the kitchen.

          1 Reply
          1. re: melly
            ZenSojourner Aug 22, 2010 01:56 PM

            My son threw my bacon grease out the other day.

            I may never forgive him . . . .

          2. a
            aynrandgirl Jan 15, 2010 01:00 AM

            My parents used it as spread on sandwiches, a taste I never acquired.

            1. k
              ktb615 Jan 7, 2010 07:24 PM

              I like to confit potatoes in bacon fat. Nice and tender and smoky and delicious.

              1. j
                jenny l lee Jun 11, 2004 04:27 PM

                how long does bacon grease last if i keep it in my fridge? also, what about the little particles in the fat?

                1 Reply
                1. re: jenny l lee
                  t
                  TomSwift Jun 11, 2004 05:02 PM

                  I don't know about the little particles in the fat, but I strain them out with a coffee filter and a metal funnel.

                2. a
                  Andy P. Jun 11, 2004 11:01 AM

                  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.

                  Yoroshiku,
                  Andy

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Andy P.
                    u
                    user961546 Aug 20, 2010 02:12 PM

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

                  2. b
                    Browniebaker Jun 11, 2004 09:51 AM

                    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. f
                      Funwithfood Jun 11, 2004 03:28 AM

                      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
                        b
                        bk Jun 12, 2004 08:46 AM

                        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
                          f
                          Funwithfood Jun 12, 2004 09:59 AM

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

                      2. s
                        Sweet Pea Jun 10, 2004 07:08 PM

                        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
                          e
                          Ellen Jun 11, 2004 10:14 AM

                          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
                            s
                            Sweet Pea Jun 11, 2004 10:23 AM

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

                            1. re: Ellen
                              KaimukiMan Jul 12, 2009 09:29 PM

                              which is part of why bacon grease lasts basically forever

                          2. t
                            TomSwift Jun 10, 2004 06:00 PM

                            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
                              m
                              mik Jun 10, 2004 06:14 PM

                              you could try using 2 jars.

                              1. re: mik
                                l
                                Le Petomane Jun 10, 2004 06:18 PM

                                This thread is better than porno.

                                1. re: Le Petomane
                                  r
                                  Richie Jun 10, 2004 06:59 PM

                                  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
                                    c
                                    Cymbiosis Jun 11, 2004 02:19 PM

                                    This thread IS porno.

                                2. re: TomSwift
                                  c
                                  Candy Jun 10, 2004 06:26 PM

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

                                  1. re: Candy
                                    t
                                    Too Many Kooks Jun 13, 2004 02:31 PM

                                    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
                                      s
                                      Sandy Jun 14, 2004 06:25 AM

                                      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
                                        b
                                        Browniebaker Jun 14, 2004 09:25 AM

                                        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
                                          b
                                          Beckyleach Oct 27, 2009 01:05 PM

                                          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
                                          s
                                          Soup Aug 20, 2010 05:10 PM

                                          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
                                      b
                                      bk Jun 10, 2004 06:26 PM

                                      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
                                        c
                                        Candy Jun 10, 2004 06:32 PM

                                        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
                                          p
                                          petradish Jun 10, 2004 07:14 PM

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

                                          1. re: bk
                                            c
                                            Cristina Jun 10, 2004 07:34 PM

                                            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
                                              f
                                              flaco Jun 10, 2004 08:34 PM

                                              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.

                                              flaco

                                            2. re: bk
                                              e
                                              em Jun 10, 2004 08:01 PM

                                              german potato salad.

                                              1. re: bk
                                                s
                                                Sandy Jun 11, 2004 07:32 AM

                                                Apples and onions.

                                                1. re: bk
                                                  e
                                                  Ellen Jun 11, 2004 10:16 AM

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

                                                  1. re: Ellen
                                                    d
                                                    David Kahn Jun 11, 2004 05:15 PM

                                                    That's why we have Lipitor!

                                                  2. re: bk
                                                    d
                                                    d2u Jun 11, 2004 10:22 AM

                                                    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
                                                      f
                                                      Fidelixi Jun 11, 2004 02:24 PM

                                                      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
                                                        k
                                                        ktb615 Jan 7, 2010 07:21 PM

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

                                                      2. re: bk
                                                        d
                                                        Donna - MI Jun 11, 2004 02:37 PM

                                                        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
                                                          p
                                                          Paul Lukas Jun 11, 2004 03:36 PM

                                                          Use it to pop popcorn!

                                                          -- Paul

                                                          1. re: bk
                                                            b
                                                            Betty Jun 11, 2004 04:23 PM

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

                                                            1. re: bk
                                                              KaimukiMan Jul 12, 2009 09:27 PM

                                                              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
                                                                c
                                                                chowdawggy Jan 7, 2010 06:08 PM

                                                                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
                                                                p
                                                                Pat Hammond Jun 10, 2004 06:35 PM

                                                                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
                                                                  p
                                                                  Pat Hammond Jun 10, 2004 06:43 PM

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

                                                                  1. re: TomSwift
                                                                    b
                                                                    Betty Jun 11, 2004 04:20 PM

                                                                    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
                                                                      t
                                                                      TomSwift Jun 11, 2004 05:06 PM

                                                                      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
                                                                        b
                                                                        Betty Jun 11, 2004 10:50 PM

                                                                        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.

                                                                        Image: http://www.geocities.com/aunthoppy/ba...

                                                                        1. re: Betty
                                                                          b
                                                                          Betty Jun 11, 2004 10:53 PM

                                                                          another try

                                                                          Link: http://www.geocities.com/aunthoppy/bacon

                                                                          Image: http://www.geocities.com/aunthoppy/bacon

                                                                          1. re: Betty
                                                                            t
                                                                            TomSwift Jun 14, 2004 03:45 PM

                                                                            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!

                                                                        2. re: Betty
                                                                          h
                                                                          harold4187 Apr 1, 2010 05:26 PM

                                                                          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..

                                                                      Show Hidden Posts