Cook's Illustrated has a great recipe for Southern cornbread that does use bacon drippings. You cook it in a cast-iron skillet in the oven. It turns out great, with a great crisp crust and wonderful flavor.
4 teaspoons bacon drippings or 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup yellow cornmeal , preferably stone ground
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup water (rapidly boiling)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg , beaten lightly
Put the bacon drippings in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet. Preheat the oven to 450 with the cast-iron skillet inside. Reserve 1/3 cup of the cornmeal, and mix the rest of the cornmeal with the other dry ingredients Add boiling water to the reserved cornmeal, and then the buttermilk, followed by the egg. When the oven is heated, add the dry ingredients to the wet, pour the hot bacon drippings from the skillet into the mixture, and then pour everything back into the skillet. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn the cornbread out onto a rack and cool for five minutes, and serve.
I've never been real certain what "Southern Cornbread" infers. I've seen recipes with that title that produce a heavy, solid bread - and some that produce a light bread that resembles cake more than bread.
So, here's the one my wife uses. It's light, not quite as light as a cake but more delicate than the typical heavy weight variety.
1 cup corn meal (she uses yellow)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole milk (can use buttermilk but not necessary)
1/4 cup veg. oil
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk and oil together.
Add wet ingredients to dry, stir until well combined.
Pour into greased baking dish (I like to use a preheated but not smoking hot cast iron pan but she often uses a glass baking dish with bacon drippings on the bottom) which can be greased with either butter, shortening or bacon grease.
Bake at 425 degrees 25 minutes or until skewer poked into center comes out clean.
Let rest five minutes after removing from oven. Cut and enjoy; or - cool in the pan on stove top burner rack, not baking rack.
A variation that I also like to use is, prior to pouring the batter into the pan, I sprinkle raw corn meal on the bottom of the pan to coat it lightly. That produces a little more crispiness and browns nicely.