HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
What's your latest food project? Get great advice
TELL US

Bacon grease

f
Felila Jul 10, 2013 10:40 PM

One of my roomies is on a bacon binge. I've been cooking bacon too -- I like bacon bits in my green pea salads, so I fry up a whole pound of bacon and freeze the crispy bits. We have been making a lot of bacon grease.

We're not supposed to pour it down the drain, as it clogs the condo drains. We've been pouring the grease into a jar on the kitchen counter, then throwing out the jar when it's full. I wrap it in paper towels, two plastic bags, and put it in the condo dumpster.

I don't like doing that either; a lot of the grease stays liquid, and the jar will doubtless break when the garbage is picked up, drenching everything in grease. It is true that it will go to a garbage-to-energy plant, but still ...

Does anyone have any ideas as to safe and green disposal of bacon grease?

  1. greygarious Jul 10, 2013 11:53 PM

    First of all, bacon grease is great for frying other things like potatoes, onion, chicken......lots of people keep it on the counter but I put the jar in the refrigerator.

    Search the Home Cooking board for threads on baking bacon, which you may find gives you more even cooking, with flat, well-rendered rashers.

    If you still want to toss it, put it in a plastic jar, not glass, or in a plastic bag filled with cat litter or shredded paper.

    4 Replies
    1. re: greygarious
      f
      Felila Jul 11, 2013 12:20 AM

      If I put it in a plastic yogurt tub, still hot, it will melt the tub. Perhaps a tin can, if I could find a lid that fit ...

      I don't want to turn on the oven just to make bacon bits. Heating up the oven in my electric stove uses a lot of electricity, which is extremely expensive here in Honolulu.

      I don't do much frying at all. When I do saute -- say, a sofrito -- I use canola or olive oil. I cook vegetarian and East or South Asian, for the most part, and bacon grease is not the best thing for a stir-fry or curry :) I have a container of bacon grease in the refrigerator, been there forever, never used.

      1. re: Felila
        a
        ARenko Jul 11, 2013 01:07 AM

        If I'm not keeping it I pour it in a small bowl until it solidifies (put in freezer to speed up the process), then scoop it out and throw in the trash.

        1. re: Felila
          ennuisans Jul 11, 2013 02:56 AM

          I was going to suggest haunting local thrift stores--every one here in the Ozarks has bacon grease jars fairly often--but if that's not part of Hawaiian culture your mileage may vary. They can be metal or ceramic; heck, coffee mugs work.

          Bacon grease is used hereabouts for seasoning beans as well as for the usual frying applications; one could probably season lentils, split peas, anything along those lines during the cooking.

          Otherwise you can always make candles:

          http://lifehacker.com/5929854/diy-bacon-fat-candle

          Edit: another source, as commenters on the lifehacker recipe seem to think it's questionable:

          http://www.poortastemag.com/no-butche...

          1. re: Felila
            greygarious Jul 11, 2013 03:34 PM

            I have no way of testing but I would think that the 15 min in a 375F oven that it takes to bake a whole pound of bacon at once (cooked bacon lasts for months in the fridge; freezing is unnecessary) uses less electricity than frying a pound on the stove, which means doing it in several batches. No grease spattering kitchen surfaces, either.

        2. Soul Vole Jul 11, 2013 12:11 AM

          You seem to be mistaking bacon fat for nuclear or chemical waste.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Soul Vole
            BiscuitBoy Jul 11, 2013 07:38 AM

            PLUS FRIKKEN 1 ! Your damn iphone battery is more harmful to the environmnet!

            1. re: Soul Vole
              t
              tardigrade Jul 12, 2013 07:44 PM

              Plus a lot! There are some places - my city is not yet one of them, alas - where you can put basically any food scraps in a special composting bin to be picked up by the city's composting program.

              Otherwise, I put mine into a metal can left over from tomatoes, keep the can in the fridge, and either use the fat for cooking, or when I get too much for one can, put in the regular garbage. The critters in the landfill will appreciate it :)

              eta: when it comes down to basics, pork fat isn't that far from the current foodie fave, duck fat, so use it for frying potatoes, etc.

            2. j
              jpc8015 Jul 11, 2013 12:28 AM

              Put a tablespoon of it in your coffee in the morning. Or pour it over ice cream as a dessert in the evening.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jpc8015
                deet13 Jul 11, 2013 12:35 AM

                Pork butter makes everything taste better...

              2. Chowbird Jul 11, 2013 06:36 AM

                1. Ask around your condo until you find someone (non-Jewish, non-Muslim, non-veg*n) from the American South.

                2. Give them your bacon grease. They should thank you.

                1. k
                  kseiverd Jul 11, 2013 06:40 AM

                  YOU'RE THROWING IT AWAY?????? That's just WRONG!! It's great for cooking eggs in. It's the ONLY thing my grandmother ever used to shallow fry crab cakes. Great for making home fries. Make REAL popcorn with it... a few T in bottom of heavy pot (WITH LID) and sprinkle on kernels. Will pretty much last "forever" in fridge.

                  1. t
                    treb Jul 11, 2013 07:11 AM

                    That stuff is GOLD!!! use it to fry instead of oil. Also good for warm salad vinegarette's.

                    1. YAYME Jul 11, 2013 07:18 AM

                      Try frying spam and potatoes in it.

                      1. b
                        beevod Jul 11, 2013 07:39 AM

                        Bacon grease is my go-to sun-block

                        1. j
                          joonjoon Jul 11, 2013 09:50 AM

                          This is a travesty!!! Either that or some excellent trolling. The only safe, green and ethical disposal of bacon grease is through your gullet.

                          Fry some potatoes with it. Here's an awesome method:

                          Cut up potatoes into rounds - slightly over half an inch thick. Salt and pepper and put it in a microwave safe bowl and nuke for about 10 minutes - until potatoes are soft but not fully cooked.

                          Heat your oven up to 450. Put a baking sheet in the oven.

                          Pour in a generous amount of bacon fat and stir into the potatoes. You want to stir it vigorously and make the outside of the potato a little fuzzy from the mashing.

                          Lay the potatoes on to the baking sheet. It should start sizzling immediately. Give it about 15 minutes on one side and flip. Let it go another 15 minutes.

                          You should have the crispiest and creamiest potatoes you've ever had. I like to serve with some spicy sour cream scallion mayo.

                          The only way to top that is if you just straight deep fry the potatoes in the bacon fat. SO CRUNCHY.

                          1. jrvedivici Jul 11, 2013 10:03 AM

                            1st. if you have public sewer system and not septic you can pour it down the drain. The problem is most people are idiots and will pour it down a drain running luke warm or cold water which will make the grease solidify and stick to the pipes.

                            If you run HOT, as hot as your water can get, and combine some dish washing soap to the grease, let the water run a good minute or two before you dump the grease/soap combo and a few minutes after and you should be fine.

                            Regardless of that how about a lil old country gravy!?!?! Take that grease add some flower, salt, pepper and milk.......yummm you got some good ole country gravy right there!

                            1. juliejulez Jul 11, 2013 10:42 AM

                              Since you've already mentioned you don't use bacon grease in your cooking (although it makes a great replacement for other oils, and the calorie/fat count is very similar to other oils and butter), and you already have a jar in the fridge, I would suggest letting it cool in the pan a bit, then scraping it out. Make a little box/dish out of aluminum foil, and put the cooled grease in that. Fold it up and toss.

                              You also might want to look into buying center cut bacon. It has less fat on it so it doesn't produce as much grease. If all you're using it for is bacon bits, then it should be just the same as using regular bacon.

                              1. fldhkybnva Jul 11, 2013 04:40 PM

                                Keep it! There are wonderful threads here for how to use it.

                                1. f
                                  flavrmeistr Jul 11, 2013 06:58 PM

                                  My wife fills a little cup of foil with bacon grease and sets it out for the raccoons/possums. They lick it clean.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: flavrmeistr
                                    kattyeyes Jul 11, 2013 07:44 PM

                                    And they don't make it to their 30s either, but they are happy varmints, aren't they?! :) I like this eye deer.

                                  2. e
                                    emptybelly Jul 11, 2013 07:16 PM

                                    I sauté vegetables with it. A friend's dad used to slather it on toast!

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: emptybelly
                                      f
                                      flavrmeistr Jul 11, 2013 07:24 PM

                                      I knew a hillbilly family that always had a pot of lard on the stove. They would dip white bread in it and eat it, all day long. That's pretty much all they ate. None of them lived past their thirties.

                                      1. re: flavrmeistr
                                        kattyeyes Jul 11, 2013 07:40 PM

                                        LOLOL!

                                        1. re: kattyeyes
                                          f
                                          flavrmeistr Jul 12, 2013 03:49 AM

                                          Seriously, that's what they ate. Not even bacon grease. Lard.

                                        2. re: flavrmeistr
                                          e
                                          emptybelly Jul 11, 2013 07:48 PM

                                          They must not have heard of "everything in moderation".

                                          1. re: emptybelly
                                            kattyeyes Jul 11, 2013 08:08 PM

                                            Many inhabitants of our planet have missed that particular memo...

                                          2. re: flavrmeistr
                                            biondanonima Jul 12, 2013 08:22 AM

                                            My grandfather used to clean out the bacon pan with white bread, but it certainly wasn't the only thing he ate, LOL. He lived well into his 80s, so I suppose the moderation helped?!?!

                                            1. re: flavrmeistr
                                              MVNYC Jul 12, 2013 09:29 AM

                                              Funny thing it's te white bread that killed em

                                              1. re: MVNYC
                                                greygarious Jul 12, 2013 10:06 AM

                                                I hope the population of fauna on Long Island has recovered by now. For 30 yrs, Mom tossed cubes of white bread into the remaining bacon grease in the pan and put this out in the yard for the birds and squirrels. The carnage! ;-)

                                                1. re: greygarious
                                                  t
                                                  treb Jul 12, 2013 10:08 AM

                                                  Happy....Happy furry and feathered friends!

                                            2. re: emptybelly
                                              fldhkybnva Jul 12, 2013 06:59 AM

                                              I love it with spinach, asparagus and especially smothered collards, cabbage or green beans.

                                            3. Mariem414 Jul 12, 2013 08:36 AM

                                              I usually grab a small coffee/tea cup and line with a small amount of tin foil - make sure the sides are covered with the foil. Pour the bacon fat/grease into it. After it cools a bit, put it in the fridge until the fat solidifies and crumple up the foil and toss it in the trash.

                                              Oh yeah - and wash the cup. My husband forgot that step one day and I couldn't figure out why my cabinet reserved for mugs was so stinky!

                                              1. k
                                                kseiverd Jul 12, 2013 12:02 PM

                                                Fried cabbage! Whenn I was a kid had "old" people who lived nextdoor. Couldn't have been THAT old cuz had a 14-15 yo daughter who babysat up when Ii was 9-10. Mrs. B made something that I guess would be a stir fry today. A few slices of bacon in big old cast iron pan till crispy... cooled and crumbled to top finished product. She's rough chunk a messo green cabbage and cook in bacon grease, a dash of apple cider vinegar when soft, and crumbled bacon on top. YUM!!

                                                1. w
                                                  wyogal Jul 12, 2013 12:08 PM

                                                  We put leftover, cooled grease, not yet solidified, and it's mostly vegetable oil anyway, into old plastic oil bottles. Yes, I then screw the lid on and put it in the trash.

                                                  1. JB BANNISTER Jul 12, 2013 05:45 PM

                                                    Make friends with some local chefs. In sure they will take all you got if they trust you. I keep a old tymie greese holder in my refrigerator. I love it for everything when I cook. Try starting a paella with it instead of olive oil.

                                                    1. MsMaryMc Jul 12, 2013 11:16 PM

                                                      Seriously?? Bring it over to my house. I'll use it in my cornbread; to brown meat for all kinds of dishes; in refried beans; and in a whole bunch of other recipes. If you're not re-using it, you just don't know what you're missing!!

                                                      1. f
                                                        Felila Jul 13, 2013 02:45 AM

                                                        Let me remind you again ... I don't cook many things that use bacon grease. I don't think you can use bacon grease in South Asian, East Asian, or Southeast Asian cooking. I don't know anyone who does cook with bacon grease, perhaps because I live in Honolulu, have Asian neighbors, and many vegetarian friends. Indeed, the majority of my meals are vegetarian.

                                                        I wish I could donate my grease to all of you grease-lovers via the magic of the internet, but no one has developed a bacon grease transfer protocol yet :)

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: Felila
                                                          MsMaryMc Jul 13, 2013 01:03 PM

                                                          And you never try anything new and outside familiar territory?

                                                          1. re: MsMaryMc
                                                            f
                                                            Felila Jul 13, 2013 06:25 PM

                                                            I cook S, SE, and E Asian; Central Asian, Iranian, Arab, Mediterranean, and Latin American. Some European and standard American, but not a lot. What do you mean I never try anything new?

                                                            Having grown up in the 1950s with an ill-tempered, domineering father who refused to eat anything but a bog-standard American meat and potatoes diet, I never want to eat a dad diet again.

                                                            1. re: Felila
                                                              j
                                                              jpc8015 Jul 13, 2013 07:40 PM

                                                              If you cook all those different cuisines then surely you could find a use for your bacon grease.

                                                              1. re: jpc8015
                                                                s
                                                                sedimental Jul 13, 2013 09:09 PM

                                                                Not really. I cook very, very similarly. Now, Latin American foods can benefit from bacon grease at times, but not the others. Bacon grease leaves a distinct flavor not desired in those other cuisines. I like some other fats as well, like Argan oil, coconut oil and butter....they have distinct tastes and one size doesn't fit all.

                                                                I save some bacon grease (but not all of it) for specific purposes. It is not like it is a finite resource or something, really, it is perfectly okay to toss some out sometimes ;)

                                                                1. re: sedimental
                                                                  j
                                                                  joonjoon Jul 14, 2013 09:22 PM

                                                                  I don't mean to argue but I really don't think bacon fat lends itself better or worse to any one cuisine vs. another. You can use bacon fat in any application that fat is called for. Desirability is a matter of perception and I think you should try to think outside the box as much as possible - why limit your flavor possibilities that way?

                                                                  Stir fries can be quite tasty with bacon fat.

                                                                  Fried rice is great with bacon fat.

                                                                  Eggs with bacon fat.

                                                                  Do you ever work with kimchi? One of my favorite uses for bacon fat is caramelized sour kimchi.

                                                                  1. re: joonjoon
                                                                    s
                                                                    sedimental Jul 15, 2013 04:59 AM

                                                                    Of course, to each his or her own. I don't really eat stir fries or fried rice but certainly you can put whatever you want in them, even Spam or hot dogs.

                                                                    Here is my take on it. If you use bacon grease, or Spam or hot dogs, or any ingredient that is distinct, strongly flavored and "easily recognizable", you will taste it in the dish, which could be completely counter to the desired outcome. I wouldn't want all my food tasting like bacon, especially dishes I cook specifically for their own unique flavor profile.

                                                                    I think if you want to "baconize" all your dishes, that is fine too. But I do think that some people (like the OP) choose specific cuisines and dishes for their unique flavors and would not want them all to be flavored with bacon. It is not about thinking outside the box, it is about celebrating the uniqueness of a dish. It is not unique to me, if it all tastes like bacon.

                                                                    ...and yes, of course many Korean dishes lend themselves to porky goodness of all kinds. That one is easy, pork belly is already a common ingredient in that pork heavy cuisine. When I choose to make Korean dishes I am not looking at that particular cuisine for subtle flavors! That is not true in other cuisines or specific dishes.

                                                                    I occasionally eat kimchi, fried with bacon fat ...with my spam and eggs :)

                                                          2. re: Felila
                                                            ipsedixit Jul 13, 2013 09:44 PM

                                                            Fried rice is great with bacon grease.

                                                            Filipino adobo never hurts with a touch of bacon grease.

                                                            Many Chinese pastries like sun cakes, moon ales and even egg tarts, can be made with bacon grease.

                                                            1. re: Felila
                                                              John E. Jul 14, 2013 02:20 PM

                                                              You have received many answers to your question. Many gave posted solutions I used in the past, only one provided the best solution. Let the grease cool a littke in the pan, then pour it into a heat proof bowl. Leave the bowl on the stove or a trivet until it's room temperature. Then refrigerate it and the next day scoop it out with a rubber spatula onto a paper towel and into the trash. After pouring the fat out of the skillet, wipe that out with a paper towel.

                                                              I'll use the fresh bacon fat to fry eggs, but do not like the flavor of solidified bacon fat. Besides that it is not too healthy.

                                                              1. re: Felila
                                                                JMF Jul 28, 2013 09:14 AM

                                                                Have you ever tried using bacon grease in stir frys, and any other dish that calls for frying in oil? Because I have and it is fantastic.

                                                              2. d
                                                                Dissie Jul 13, 2013 09:14 PM

                                                                Are you nuts? Throwing out bacon grease? OMG.....Its like gold to me. I use it flavor dishes, use it to make gravy, use it to fry things. Save that grease! Its like gold to me. Adds so much flavor to many dishes.

                                                                1. nokitchen Jul 13, 2013 10:02 PM

                                                                  I'll reiterate what others said about resusing being better than recycling.

                                                                  But the actual answer to your question varies by municipality. In your area, you're supposed to "absorb and trash." Basically, pour liquid grease into a plastic bag filled with shredded newspaper and throw the whole mess in the trash.

                                                                  http://www.opala.org/solid_waste/Hous...

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: nokitchen
                                                                    f
                                                                    Felila Jul 15, 2013 09:02 PM

                                                                    If it's not one thing it's another. I do not subscribe to the newspaper. Or to any paper magazines, for that matter. I bring my own bags to market. Nothing to recycle or throw away. Nothing to absorb grease :)

                                                                    1. re: Felila
                                                                      ipsedixit Jul 15, 2013 09:14 PM

                                                                      Well, for what it's worth, it's great as a skin moisturizer.

                                                                      Or is the climate already so humid in Honolulu that there's no need for moisturizers?

                                                                      If it's not one thing ...

                                                                  2. s
                                                                    Stardustgirl Jul 28, 2013 09:06 AM

                                                                    Bacon grease can be used in making suet for feeding birds (squirrels, etc.) If you don't feed birds, maybe a friend or neighbor who does could use it.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Stardustgirl
                                                                      f
                                                                      flavrmeistr Jul 28, 2013 01:15 PM

                                                                      In the wintertime.

                                                                      1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                        greygarious Jul 28, 2013 06:33 PM

                                                                        The OP wrote that she lives in Honolulu - not stomping grounds for hungry winter wildlife.

                                                                        1. re: greygarious
                                                                          f
                                                                          flavrmeistr Jul 28, 2013 07:08 PM

                                                                          Quite so. You know what rendered fat turns into in warm weather. Liquid rendered fat. Hate to clean that bird feeder.

                                                                    2. n
                                                                      nsgirl Jul 28, 2013 09:03 PM

                                                                      I save every drop of it. Sometimes for cooking, sometimes just to rub on after cooking to keep my cast iron skillet seasoned.

                                                                      Most of the year, I just pour it into a cute little SS thing that looks like a thing you put pancake syrup in. If we get a heat wave, I might think to throw it in the fridge. My Mom used to simply pour it into a tin can and store it in the freezer.

                                                                      I have to watch it with bacon itself. I think I am sensitive to very salty things. Grrrr.

                                                                      1. JB BANNISTER Oct 6, 2013 02:27 PM

                                                                        I started using bacon fat instead of EVOO when starting up my paellas. I think it will be a permanent addition

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: JB BANNISTER
                                                                          f
                                                                          flavrmeistr Oct 6, 2013 02:47 PM

                                                                          Diced pancetta is nice, too.

                                                                        2. daislander Feb 12, 2014 09:14 PM

                                                                          make soap!

                                                                          or use it in decadent cookies. not the full amount but half and half for whatever your recipe calls for. They make a nice crisp cookie. My grandma did this 30 years ago. I remember thinking it was crazy but the cookies were delicious so I couldn't argue!

                                                                          1. a
                                                                            AdinaA Feb 13, 2014 09:59 AM

                                                                            Pour it down the drain at an hour when a lot of people in your building are taking showers - turn your shower on to hot, turn the kitchen tap on as hot as it goes, then pour the grease down the drain and leave the tap running while you take a shower. The flow of copious hot water will keep it from clogging up the drain pipes. Ultimately it will end up in the same place it would have ended up if you processed it through you gullet, and you will have high hot water bills, but your arteries will be in better condition.

                                                                            If you want absolute green, save it until you have enough to make your own soap.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: AdinaA
                                                                              daislander Feb 13, 2014 10:02 AM

                                                                              I wouldn't recommend this! As someone who has done this and had to pay to have a drain guy come out and bore my drain. Just pour it in a bowl let it solidify and then scoop it in a bag and throw it out if you don't want it.

                                                                              1. re: daislander
                                                                                a
                                                                                AdinaA Feb 13, 2014 11:42 AM

                                                                                You're right , a can is better.

                                                                                In a single family even in a moderate climate, iusing a drain is a bad idea because over time bacon grease will clog the outflow to the sewer, , and it's a terrible idea if you have a septic system.

                                                                                But the OP lives in a condo. I was assuming that this meant a big-city an apartment building connected to a sewer system.

                                                                                If the condo is a small building, pour the fat into a can or jar and throw it in the garbage if you can find have no use for it.

                                                                            2. v
                                                                              Virginpacific Mar 15, 2014 12:24 PM

                                                                              When I was a kid Bacon grease would solidify in few minutes. What crap is now into the bacon since it takes for ever to solidify and some times not completely.????????

                                                                              1. ennuisans Apr 1, 2014 04:44 PM

                                                                                BACON VODKA GUYS

                                                                                http://www.bettycrocker.com/how-to/ti...

                                                                                Show Hidden Posts