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Bacon grease

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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?

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  1. 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

      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

        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

          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-bac...

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

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

          1. re: Felila

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

          2 Replies
          1. re: Soul Vole

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

            1. re: Soul Vole

              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. 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

                Pork butter makes everything taste better...

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

                    1. Try frying spam and potatoes in it.

                      1. Bacon grease is my go-to sun-block

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

                                1. 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

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

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

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: emptybelly

                                      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

                                        LOLOL!

                                        1. re: kattyeyes

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

                                        2. re: flavrmeistr

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

                                          1. re: emptybelly

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

                                          2. re: flavrmeistr

                                            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

                                              Funny thing it's te white bread that killed em

                                              1. re: MVNYC

                                                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

                                                  Happy....Happy furry and feathered friends!

                                            2. re: emptybelly

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

                                            3. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

                                                          And you never try anything new and outside familiar territory?

                                                          1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                            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

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

                                                              1. re: jpc8015

                                                                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

                                                                  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

                                                                    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

                                                            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

                                                              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

                                                                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. 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. 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

                                                                    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

                                                                      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. 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

                                                                      In the wintertime.

                                                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

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

                                                                        1. re: greygarious

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

                                                                    2. 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. 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

                                                                          Diced pancetta is nice, too.

                                                                        2. 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. 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

                                                                              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

                                                                                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. 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. BACON VODKA GUYS

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