HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Bacon Grease

  • 24
  • Share

When I filter and set aside my bacon grease, it separates into an oil( which rises to the top)_ and a quasi-white solid. Is there a difference in it? What are these components? Should I use it all or discard the oil or white substance?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. I've never had that happen! How are you cooking your bacon? If you are cooking it to too fast, the juices released by the bacon are probably not evaporating. If you fry the bacon slowly (or better still, do it it in the oven), the water will evaporate more completely and the rendered fat will also be "cleaner" and better for other cooking uses.

    1. Your bacon drippings are a combination of saturated and unsaturated fats and water and, just as butter separates when clarified, the bacon fat separates when heated and then cooled. You can maintain the balance if you agitate the drippings during the cooling process but there would be no useful purpose served. My family has reserved bacon drippings for many decades to use as a flavor enhancing ingredient with other foods. Some family members prefer to pour off the lighter liquids and keep just the heavier fatty layer, others simply use the two layers as they combine when spooned from the bacon drippings saver (a lidded two part metal container with a strainer in the top half) that is kept on or near the stove or, for the fastidious, in the refrigerator.

      1. I grew up with it out on the counter, so I was used to the separation...In the past couple of years I suppose I became a little fastidious and started keeping it in the fridge...where I see no separation.
        Whatever works for ya!

        Fun!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Uncle Bob

          I keep mine in the refrigerator also and have not noted any separation.

          Never have filtered it. All the greebles sink to the bottom. When I add new bacon grease to an existing supply I always make sure the whole jar gets remelted.

          Also, bacon is so lean these days it's hard to get much grease. At our local store I can buy a $2 package of jowls that will yield at least a half pint of fat and a pan full of tasty jowl cracklins. The fat is slightly different than belly bacon but not by much.

          1. re: kengk

            I've started buying the jowls. More like $4+ per package here but it's just better than any other supermaket bacon I've tried.

        2. I've never seen it either, but I've always kept mine in the fridge.

          12 Replies
          1. re: rasputina

            I just started saving mine. Now what do I do with it?

            1. re: Allieroseww

              Use it to fry eggs, to make homefries or hashbrowns, to 'sweat' whatever vegetables you use to start certain soups (like split pea, lentil, or scotch broth)...also great in biscuits...or anywhere else you might use shortening, oil or butter but you want richer 'flavor kick'. I've even used it in the small fat/oil component of home made bread.

              ...and don't forget to thank the pig...
              bacon fat (or any other rendered pork fat for that matter) is a beautiful thing.
              not to mention that it is a far healthier alternative to things like Crisco or margarine.
              Still, I'd draw the line at using it in cookie recipes. LOL.

              1. re: The Professor

                And to add to that list .. I just realized what a revelation bacon grease is in donuts!

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I could see that, definitely! My Hungarian grandmother used lard to fry "Fánk" (a kind of donut). Not too much of a stretch to imagine using bacon fat for that same purpose.

                  Damn! Now I have to make a batch this week!

                2. re: The Professor

                  We saute greens in in. Corn off the cobb and onion sauteed in bacon grease is one of our favorite recipes.

                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                    Similarly, I add a smidge to a potful of cooking bean soup or green beans. Have to laugh: Mom always kept bacon grease on the stove over the pilot light (probably seriously rancid), and I swore I'd never keep the stuff. Now I do and use it, but keep it in the fridge.

                3. re: Allieroseww

                  We don't make chili con carne without it. Also great to use in beef stew for browning the meat and onions.

                  1. re: Berheenia

                    I use it in all my Mexican dishes...arroz con pollo, enchiladas, burritos, tacos. Saute the meat in bacon fat plus butter or oil. And especially making refried beans, must have bacon fat for that. Also grease my cast iron pan with bacon grease for cornbread. Oops guess this isn't answering the original question? As to that, no my grease doesn't separate as far as I know.

                  2. re: Allieroseww

                    Use it anywhere you want a tasty fat to cook in.

                    1. re: Allieroseww

                      Add to your biscuits and sausage gravy. I refrigerate so have never noticed separation, but one time the the bacon fat congealed but was kind of mushy ant not very appetizing.

                      1. re: Allieroseww

                        What you do is channel my great-grandmother. She used bacon grease for the shortening in cornbread. She fried potatoes in it. She made corncakes fir breakfast (sort of fried cornbread) and fried them in it, and how I wish I had some now. She fried sliced cornmeal mush in it, which we ate with syrup for breakfast. She fried up bacon and onions in it then added vinegar and sugar to the skillet and poured this hot over spring lettuce ("Wilted lettuce"). She sauteed white bread in it and served it with the rest of dinner. She added it to green beans as they cooked. She added flour to it to make a roux, then milk and salt and pepper, and made gravy that was poured hot over potatoes or over bread on the plate to make "bread'n'gravy". There was always a tin can of bacon grease sitting on her stove. To the Southern Illinois cook, good salty creamy bacon grease was the staff of life. I don't have the nerve to cook like that. But she ate that way all her life and died at 99.

                        1. re: Querencia

                          Maybe our grannies were sisters, 'cause mine did all the above! Plus, she cooked on a wood stove and made the most amazing baked goods, often with bacon grease. Wish she was still around. She was like my own "Foxfire" resource!

                    2. I use it instead of butter to gease the pan when I make cornbread.

                      1. How would I go about filtering and saving the grease? I just smoked up 3 lbs of homemade bacon and repurposing the grease seems like a great idea. Why haven't I tried this before?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: freshlycured

                          Unsure, but now is the time to go for it. Southerners (ske 0of them) make pie dough with bacon fat, I put some in a skillet when i"m going to cook some kale, just enough to flavor, maybe 1/2 tsp. You can keep a tuna can full in the fridge and any other stash you have you can keep in a jar or can in the freezer (in case of an apocolypse, in which case you'l be glad you saved it because you'll never ge bacon again).

                          1. re: freshlycured

                            I've never filtered mine. I like the little bits of bacon still in there. I do keep it (or rather should I say them, I have several jars) in the fridge though.

                          2. I just finished a four year stint of bacon wrangling - cooking off 10-20 pounds a day on sheet pans in the oven, then finished on a griddle. We would pour off a quart of liquid at a minimum. When refrigerated the result would be solid bacon fat and, on the bottom, jelled bacon juices. Sometimes it would be almost 50/50, but usually there was much more fat than jelly. We always assumed that it should be separated because the jelly part wouldn't last as long as the fat. The jelly was gold - perfect for adding to soups (though you had to be careful because it was intensely smokey and salty).

                            1. Getting ready to bake some yams for dinner and remembered a big thing for me....coating potatoes or yams with bacon grease before baking. Adds a nice subtle flavor.