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Bacon fat

When I was a kid growing up in the southern part of the United States we cooked everything, I mean everything in either Crisco or bacon fat. We had an empty can Folgers coffee next to the stove that the bacon grease got poured into waiting for later use. Fried eggs & pancakes - bacon fat. Fried chicken - bacon fat. Fried okra, onions, peppers, sausages, chicken, hush puppies, cat fish - bacon fat.

Then one day someone told us it was bad for you.

And we discovered cold pressed virgin olive oil.

And we were told that you shouldn't be eating things like fried chicken and hush puppies anyway.

And so now we love our sautéed vegetables served without butter and our baked fish.

But every once in a while I get a craving for biscuits and gravy with fried eggs and sausages - all cooked with a healthy dollop of bacon fat!

Surely I am not alone????

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  1. You are definitely not alone! I use a dab of bacon fat quite often - and I follow weight watchers! Mix a bit with butter the next time you eat corn on the cob, it' s genius.

    1. Everything in moderation. I have a jar of bacon fat in the fridge. You are not alone.

      8 Replies
      1. re: roro1831

        Does it need refrigerating? I've always just left mine out in a jar next to the stove - the easier to access it!

        1. re: KailuaGirl

          Mine is on the counter next to the stove. Has a lid on it.

          1. re: KailuaGirl

            Unless you use it up fairly quickly, I would store it in the fridge so it won't go rancid. It's the same for olive oil and others, however, I don't keep olive oil around long enough for that to be a problem, so I store it inside my pantry.

            1. re: Awwshucks

              You should *never* put Olive Oil in the fridge, quick use or not.

                1. re: pdxgastro

                  There is nothing wrong with keeping olive oil in the fridge. It will partially solidify but it will "melt" when it warms back up to room temp.

                  In fact it will keep longer if you do refrigerate it. Both because of the cooler temp and because it protects it from exposure to light.

                  Once it warms back up it's as good as ever. You can keep a small amount of olive oil at room temp (so it's pourable) and keep the rest in the fridge, it'll last longer and be of higher quality that way.

                2. re: Awwshucks

                  Honestly, I have never heard of bacon grease going rancid. Unlike all of my nut oils and vegetable oils that go rancid no matter where I store them. Dark cabinet, refrigerator, doesn't matter. They still go bad.
                  As for bacon grease, that doesn't ever seem to go bad. My mom, aunts, grandparents kept their bacon grease on the counter or stove constantly, for years even. I have been known to keep it in my cabinet for months or maybe years and rarely touch it. It never changes. My guess is that between the meat being smoked, salted and loaded with.... whatever that preservative is that gives us cancer. I can't think of it right now. That maybe it just never spoils.

                  Of course in my parents young days, smoking and salting was all that was done to their pork. And it kept until next hog killing day. Hog killing was done late fall or winter when the weather was cold. The meat had to last until the next years hog killin time.

                  Anyway. Though bacon grease is very tasty, I have no doubt it is very unhealthy. I only use rarely now for me to eat and when I am cooking for the older members of my family. For they insist that the greens (that would be turnip greens, mustard, collard greens, poke, green beans, etc) and dried beans "just ain't fittn' to eat without being cooked in some bacon grease or a chunk of hog jaw thrown in the pot." They will not eat any of that without the grease to flavor. LOL
                  And yea, some of them are now suffering from poor circulation due to clogged arteries. But, not all of them. At least not that you can tell. Some people seem to eat it all their long lives and not suffer from it.
                  I too grew up eating everything flavored with bacon grease, and ever so often, I just have to have some. Wish I could find bacon that was was cured by just smoke and salt, and leave off the preservatives.
                  You know, if all that bad stuff can preserve bacon that well, you'd think it could preserve us too. :o)

                  Thanks for the memories of the bacon grease sittn' on the stove. I am thinking of resurecting that practice at my house.(just for occasional use and to season my cast iron with) I have not seen a grease container in years, except at flea markets and antique stores. I just keep mine in a fruit jar. I think I am going to switch to a wide mouth one though. I think it would be easier to pour it in.

            2. About once a year I crave a good calves liver meal amd the liver HAS to be fried in bacon grease. Niether one of those items is good for you but a couple of times a year won't hurt. It took me 20 years to wean myself off of lard for Mexican food but I do cheat once or twice a year for my cheese enchiladas.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                New studies seem to indicate that lard isn't so bad for you! Go figure!

              2. You surely are NOT alone.

                I don't like bacon fat with veggies, but for things like corn bread, potatoes, and liver and onions, it's indispensable.

                We are all going to die one day, and until that one day comes I'm going to make sure I absolutely maximize each bite I take.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I agree. This weekend I cooked bacon, and then fried the potatoes in the fat. Yummy! But not something I would do every day, or even every weekend.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Sounds like a plan. The way I see it, I can die happy, or I can die hungry. I'll take quality over quantity.

                  2. At least you know what is in the bacon fat. If it's imported cold pressed virgin olive oil who knows what it is adulterated with. A recent study showed 90% of imported extra virgin olive oils didn't meet the international standard for extra virgin.

                    1. You are not alone. Every once in a while I just have to fry my eggs in bacon fat.

                      Just this weekend I stated I need to fry some bacon because I am almost out of the bacon fat that I keep in a little jar in my fridge. I don't use it often but I like knowing it is there.

                      I recently cooked up some calabacitas that I sauteed in bacon fat and it makes all of the difference in the world.

                      1. I have just two words, BACON GRAVY.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Antilope

                          OMG!! Bacon gravy saved me from starvation while in college. I would fry up the whole pound and save every drop of grease. Then I would fry potatoes and onions for a meal or two. when the taters ran out, bacon gravy over bread was great! Or pancakes!

                        2. You are not alone. My grandmother saved bacon fat to fry potatoes in, nothing wrong with it. No, you shouldn't have it everyday, but once every few weeks is fine. A couple of laps around the block and taking the stairs never hurt anyone either

                          1. I can include some articles if you are interested.

                            1. if you search the home cooking board you'll discover that bacon fat is a beloved Chowhound ingredient.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                ghg, i was waiting for your usual comprehensive list of "so many very similar if not identical" threads! LOL!

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  ha! i just started a new job so i haven't had much time to "play" on CH. you guys are gonna have to fend for yourselves for a while ;)

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      aww, thanks alka :) it was a long time coming!

                              2. Just made cornbread this weekend--not only using bacon fat (from the jar I keep in the fridge) to grease the cast iron pan, but also in place of the 1/4 cup of oil in the bread itself. It was heavenly. My Alabama-born-and-raised mama (who cooked with bacon fat and Crisco and refined sugar and white flour and all manner of badness, and lived to be a feisty 81 years of age) would be proud.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: MsMaryMc

                                  I love that! I'm in south Louisiana & we love our cornbread in a cast iron skillet with bacon fat!

                                2. I still keep a tub of bacon fat in my fridge for when i'm feeling indulgent. :) I also keep chicken fat around.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: joonjoon

                                    Right now I'm eating a grilled chese sammich - slathered both sides of 2 slices of homemade otameal wheat bread with bacon fat, into the CI skillet, with goat cheese, jalapeno cheddar and prosciutto. Is it polite to type with your mouth full? :)

                                  2. Suppose I cooked up a bunch of bacon one day and saved the fat, as this thread has inspired me to do. What would the shelf life be in my fridge? I know fat is a natural preservative, but any thoughts?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: twj

                                      Properly handled, bacon fat can be nurtured and kept almost like a family heirloom.

                                      Read more here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/297418

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        I love the bacon/bacon grease threads!

                                        Only there can you find heartwarming funnies like fat being kept as an heirloom. So true and so cute.

                                        I cherish my bacon fat. When I hear about people dumping it down the drain or pitching it into the garbage I get a weird sinking feeling in my belly and let out an uncontrollable moan of sadness. Sometimes when I use it to say - - butter a bread pan, I do a little Muttley laugh. I know I am sneaking in some goodness where nobody is expecting it and they will say "MMM what is in this?" But only I will know it is my beloved bacon grease.

                                    2. Thanks ipsedixit for the link.

                                      My pork-loving friend (hehehe yeah right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.) once prepared wilted greens and other salad-worthy veg and dressed it with bacon fat, some vinegar and sugar. OMG.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: twj

                                        twj is right on... and collard greens and bacon fat go so well together...sheesh!(a little vinegar and a bit of brown sugar...oh NO! too good for words) First time I ever made them, it was unbelievable...what incredible FLAVOR...you don't need to use tons of bacon fat, either, for taste at least that's my opinion...a little goes a long way! In this recipe, I only use 1/4 pound of bacon:

                                        1. re: Val

                                          Mmmmm! Collard greens with ham hocks and some bacon grease. That's a meal in itself if you want it to be (although black eyed peas and ham hocks as an accompaniment are great!) Isn't pork wonderful? The first time I ever tasted collard greens with bacon, vinegar and sugar (or molasses - not sure what the sweetener was) I was a little kid, probably under 5 years old, and wondered why the grown ups had held out on me! Turns out they thought I wouldn't like it. I didn't eat anything else, other than a chicken drumstick, all night long. The makings of a Chowhound. :-)

                                          1. re: KailuaGirl

                                            haha, KG...I didn't know about collards and bacon til my 2 of my 3 sons went to Florida State University in Tallahassee....hooo-weeee! They both came home on break asking for collards since they had them in the cafeteria...WELL...I loved them immediately! That epicurious recipe was the one I tried and that's the one we all love now. Lucky YOU, to have had them as a child and you loved them all through adulthood!

                                      2. Hmmmm. Some company could make a lot of money selling containers of bacon drippings. Trader Joes are you listening? ;-)

                                        Well one company does sell bacon / ham drippings, but they are kind of pricey:

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Antilope

                                          Personally, I'd never buy bacon fat from the store. It's too easy to make at home, I can control the quality of the bacon I use and know when it was made. Due to this thread, I have already made my local butcher shop put a hold on a few pounds of bacon ends that will be rendered down to a jar of deliciousness tomorrow afternoon. I'm excited.

                                          1. re: twj

                                            Not only is bacon fat easy to make (if "make" is really the right word, more like "collect"), but making it has its own collateral benefits ... eating bacon!

                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              Thank you for that correction ;-). I originally used "rendered" and didn't like the repetition, but was at a loss for synonyms. What was I thinking...

                                          2. re: Antilope

                                            That is so funny! Recently I was telling my SIL how I make something and when I mentioned bacon fat, she asked me where she could buy it. I laughed to my husband later about it, and now I find out you CAN buy it.

                                          3. My kitchen in Santa Monica has a jar of bacon fat in the fridge.

                                            Bacon fat popped popcorn explains my ample A**.

                                            Also necessary in refried or baked beans. Always.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Azizeh

                                              Oh my.... I must have bacon fat/bacon for chowder, baked beans, my million dollar prime rib, too many others I am embarrassed to list. But, POPCORN cooked in the juice of the lords...(pork fat rules), that is a new one. I will try and report....

                                              1. re: taketheunder

                                                I like to get my butcher to save a big old slab of bacon fat, prior to cutting the bacon, and throw that slab on top of a good old beef tenderloin studded with garlic slices while it's cooking. The fat/bacon moistens the meat and permeates it with a slightly smokey flavor. I learned the trick from a friend, now long dead, and have received glowing compliments whenever I serve that as a main.

                                                I'm going to have to try popcorn in bacon fat. Thqt sounds divine!

                                                1. re: taketheunder

                                                  pop corn in bacon drippings!!?? Oh dear, another addiction I must fight off........

                                                2. re: Azizeh

                                                  For some reason my bacon fat seems to only like going to my gut...

                                                3. Not only do I keep bacon fat but also oil from tins of anchovies, and smoked oysters for puttanesca, shrimp stir-frys etc. Anyone else?

                                                  1. I agree that bacon fat is wonderful stuff and I love it. There are,however, healthier alternatives.

                                                    Namely, duck fat & goose fat.

                                                    Goose fat is absolutely THE BEST. But, its harder to get a hold of. You have to find, buy & roast your own goose mostly although here in France you can sometimes buy it in specialist shops. Its flavour is lighter than most other animal fats and its very light on saturated fats.

                                                    Duck fat is almost as good & I always have a jar in the fridge. Mainly I get mine when I cook magret. I just pour it off as I pan fry the duck breasts. Since I normally add thyme to the breasts this flavours the duck fat. Its wonderful stuff and makes a great lower saturated fat substitute for bacon fat.

                                                    Try potatoes roasted in duck fat. Absolutely delicious!

                                                    I agree though that there's nothing quite like bacon fat so I do still use it occasionally.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Yank

                                                      Hi Yank,

                                                      I second the duck and goose fat. Funny that it is fairly easy to buy here in Switzerland compared to France.

                                                      In some restaurants in Brussels (where the world's best French fries can be found) there are actually some restaurants that ask you what type of fat you want your fries cooked in - goose, beef or olive oil. Only people who have no idea of the wonders of a simple spud being cooked in goose fat go for olive oil!

                                                      But bacon fat is still my childhood preference for comfort foods.

                                                      1. re: marsprincess

                                                        *perk* Another reason ti wish to visit Brussesls!

                                                        Y'all are making me hungry! I have NO bacon in the house, just moved so I have no bacon fat in the 'frig. I mist remedy both these situations!

                                                        My guilty pleasure is taking home-made oatmeal date bread, making French toast ouf of it and frying it up in bacon fat.


                                                    2. Due to my job (international engineer) I lived in several European and Latinamerican countries. In all of them all kinds of animal fat are utilized in cooking. In France, in the goose paté producing regions, goose fat is used instead of butter even at the breakfast table. Curiously, those regions show the lowes incidence of heart diseases in the world. I´m convicted; we can eat absolutely everything in moderation. In my family (european origin) nobody dies before the age of 87 and in my home have never seen a drop of animal fat thrown away. By the way, I´m 74, relatively thin, no colesterol, normal blood pressure, no diabetes, healthy as a bull, God bless the drippings!

                                                      1. I keep a tin of bacon fat in my fridge. I use it for refried beans, and to start my chowders.

                                                        1. one of the best things ever is catfish fried in bacon fat ewwwwyah!!!!

                                                          1. My mom kept a custard cup of bacon fat in the fridge for cooking while I was growing up, and I've done the same ever since I moved out years ago. My favorite is cornbread baked in a bacon-greased cast iron skillet. And, pancakes always seem to taste better when fried in bacon grease. I don't use the stuff as much as I used to, but man, I've got to have it at least once every month or two.

                                                            1. I live in the south & that is a staple! I do recall the "can of crisco" in the pantry. Mom used that for our "cat head biscuits" & used the bacon fat for the tomatoe "mater" gravy plus the thick sliced bacon. I call my mom for that meal & luckily she makes it for me. I might have to drive 70 miles for it but oh well....the joys of childhood & good food!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: diamondfifi

                                                                Fried bread is a very good thing, but only if it is fried in bacon fat.

                                                              2. You can make good home fried potatoes with oil. You can make better home fries with oil and butter. But you can only make perfect home fries with bacon fat.

                                                                Fry your bacon, and then while it's draining, pop your potatoes and onion (I'm no purist here; if you want to add green pepper or celery, go ahead) right in to the hot bacon fat. If you can resist the urge to flip and stir too often, you get the perfect crispy crust on the spuds with that extra shot of smoky bacon flavour. A couple of fried eggs is just the icing on the cake (or, more aptly, cholesterol in the arteries!).

                                                                1. The only, well not only, problem is how do you get the stench of fried bacon out of the house?

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Dmj4rep

                                                                    STENCH??!?!?! STENCH!?!?!?!?!!!??

                                                                    You mean the fine, delectable aroma!

                                                                    1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                      When I had my home up for sale, the realtor said to fry bacon and onions just before showing the place! That aroma signifies home and the hose was sold in two days at the asking price!

                                                                      1. re: grannybo

                                                                        I always did chocolate chip cookies, or if I didn't have time, just put a dash of vanilla on a lightbulb and turn it on. It does work, almost as well as a buried St Joesphs statue. (My Mom was a real estate broker and she swears by both of these methods!)

                                                                      2. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                        STENCH? Have mercy, there should be pot porrie that smells like bacon frying. Nothing could bring me out of the bed in the mornings like the smell of bacon frying. Well, unless it was country ham.

                                                                    2. No, Marsprincess, you're not alone, not by a long shot.
                                                                      We keep the bacon fat in the freezer because A- it's hot here, and B- don't want to give it the chance to go rancid, I don't even know if it does.
                                                                      It doesn't take long to thaw, but it may not be necessary to freeze it.

                                                                      Okra is such a natural partner for bacon fat, and so is pie crust, beans of nearly any kind, fried chicken (put some bacon grease in the frying oil and you'll be glad you did.

                                                                      I'm an anomoly here, I don't think of bacon as the pinnacle of flavor, but bacon fat is such a fantastic additive to so many things, jeez , you'd have to be vegan not to keep a stash of it around!

                                                                      1. My father would fry the bacon first, then use it in the waffle batter. Every Sunday. So my mom could sleep in. Such memories!

                                                                        1. Bacon fat kills. To use it so widespread is to be unconscious. There are better ways.

                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                          1. re: observor

                                                                            My father lived to by 89. His mother used bacon fat extensively, our family continued that. He died of multiple cancers undoubtedly caused by the multiple toxic substances he came into contact with working in machine shops in the 30's.

                                                                            Bacon fat didn't kill him, it hasn't killed me, and it surely does make those home fries and fried eggs and every other thing I've ever used it for nice and tasty.

                                                                            1. re: observor

                                                                              Bacon fat kills.
                                                                              well, so does water if you drink too much of it! try to keep this in perspective - there are a lot of different Hounds participating in this discussion, each offering *their* favorite uses for bacon fat. that doesn't mean they use it all the time, nor does it mean that everyone who replied to this thread uses it in every single application mentioned.

                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                Thank you GHG, especially coming from a goodhealthgourmet, for being the voice of reason.
                                                                                We don't all wallow in bacon fat all the time, at least most of us don't.

                                                                                Cornbread in a cast iron skillet, if you don't preheat the skillet with bacon fat in it so the batter sizzles a little bit when you pour it in, you're really missing out on a dimension of flavor.

                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                  "We don't all wallow in bacon fat all the time, at least most of us don't."

                                                                                  Oh, lord, have you been looking through my window? Once a month, a big plastic sheet in the living room, a couple of pots of bacon fat just warm enough to liquefy, and, well..

                                                                                  I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

                                                                                  1. re: FrankD


                                                                                    /poking at eyes to stop the visions


                                                                                    1. re: FrankD

                                                                                      Kinda weird how easily the image just popped instantly into my mind so clearly...

                                                                                      1. re: FrankD

                                                                                        on "family guy" the other day (season 4, episode 7), a zit on the adolescent kid chris's face was ruling his life http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/fam... , and the zit (named doug) commanded the kid to go over to the bacon fat jar, and smear the fat on his face, so the zit could have some "homeys" (which proceeded to pop up, dutifully). hilarious!!!

                                                                                        chris later lies to doug (the zit), telling him that he is in the "bacon factory" instead of the dermatology clinic. it is his demise!

                                                                                  2. re: observor

                                                                                    There might be other ways to have sex, too, but the original has never been outdone !! Because it's not for you doesn't mean that others shouldn't enjoy what makes them happy.

                                                                                    1. re: observor

                                                                                      Or maybe you meant unconscionable.

                                                                                      bacon isn't for everything, but it's a good ingredient in a lot of preparations, regardless of one's conscious state.

                                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                        No, I intended unconscious...not being conscious of what your behavior results in.

                                                                                      2. re: observor


                                                                                        ps - no, there are NOT any better ways.

                                                                                        1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                          In the '80s my grandparents gave up butter -- which was supposed to be a "killer" -- in favor of the oh-so-much-healthier margarine. We now know the transfats in margarine are much worse for you than the natural saturated fats in butter (and yes, bacon fat).

                                                                                          People lose credibility when they call any foodstuff a "killer" -- it's a ridiculous thing to say: we all have to eat, and yet too much of anything will "kill" you.

                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                            My FIL still totes his margarine around. No talking him out of it.

                                                                                            Everything is not better with Blue Bonnet On It.

                                                                                        1. NOO, you're NOT alone.. most of us just won't admit it publically =-D.
                                                                                          I'm from the Southwest, lots of ranches and farming communities, etc.
                                                                                          I agree with the liver and onions..Yummy !! Any potato , other than baked, gets cooked in bacon grease, cabbage and corn , same thing. I don't drench my food in it, only just enough for flavor. Guess we gals are the Paula Deen of bacon grease =-D. Happy cookin'. !

                                                                                          1. Always have a jar on hand, that stuff runs in my veins! as well as duck fat!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: treb

                                                                                              The best bacon fat is rendered from thinly-sliced pork slabs
                                                                                              in a straightly laid missionary position.

                                                                                              It keeps the strips straight and they dripping-ly render
                                                                                              their grease in a roil super-heated surrender.

                                                                                              The results are a really good stiff piece to eat
                                                                                              and good drips of the fat to the pan.

                                                                                              When you do a full pound,
                                                                                              potentials abound
                                                                                              to grab up much more than a cupfull.

                                                                                              Bacon that's baked
                                                                                              after laid straight
                                                                                              has scents and aromas of true near perfection.

                                                                                            2. Absolutely NOT alone! I've never not kept it. I don't use it as lavishly as my grandparents did, but I do rely on it for many things. For my collard and other greens, and pinto, red, and lima beans, I use a little bacon fat and some liquid smoke to back it up - always delicious and not so much fat. But like other responders on here, I have to tell you: my maternal grandparents lived to be in their late 70s and did not die of food-related illnesses. My maternal grandmother was just shy of her 100th birthday when she died from a fall.....(my parents were killed in a car wreck when I was a child; don't know what would have become of them..) - and they all were frequent and heavy users of bacon fat, lard, sugar, and salt. They worked hard and had active lives: who knew? I keep my jar of bacon fat in the fridge and it's never let me down.