Yes, you need bacon grease. It adds flavor to cooking (and to snacks!) We show you how to save bacon grease and how to use it in your cooking.
Save that bacon grease!
You’ve cooked your bacon. You’re looking at all that bacon grease. What to do with it?
You don’t want to pour it down the drain. That could clog it!
If you’re going to pour it in a container to dispose of it, why not save it to add flavor to your cooking? “Great idea, but how do I do that?” you ask.
Here’s everything you need to know to give you the confidence to:
- render bacon grease
- store it properly & safely
- replace butter, oil and shortening in your favorite recipes
- deep-fry, pan-fry, sauté or bake with bacon grease
- imagine new ways to add the flavor of bacon in your cooking
How to render your bacon grease.
We know you’re in a hurry to eat that wonderful bacon, but cooking it slowly is key to rendering the most bacon grease – and better bacon.
If you’re frying it, that means using low heat and cooking it for 10 minutes. This will produce more bacon grease and perfect, crisp, bacon without the burnt edges.
You may not want to use flavored bacon to render your bacon grease. (Unless, of course, you don’t mind the sweetness or maple-favored whatever you’re using the bacon grease to flavor.)
How to save bacon grease in 5 easy steps.
Step 1: Cook your bacon strips. You can fry it (slowly for more grease), bake it in the oven (on a rack for easier retrieval), or microwave it (1 minute per slice).
Step 2: Let the grease cool slightly while you eat your bacon so you can handle it without getting burned. (It needs to be liquid, just not first-degree-burn liquid.)
Step 3: Use a strainer. Grandma used cheesecloth, but let’s not mess with that. (It’s harder to clean than a strainer.) If you’re using a jar, put a strainer on the mouth of the jar. If you’re using a bacon grease container, use one with a built-in strainer.
Step 4: Pour it in a heat-proof container. Don’t use plastic! You’ll end up with a hole or a deformed container from the heat of the bacon grease. Instead, use a stainless steel, ceramic or glass container.
Step 5: Decide how you’ll store it. On the counter, in the pantry, in the fridge or freeze it. (See below for storage times.)
These containers are a better choice than your grandmother’s coffee can.
How long does bacon grease last?
Storage in the pantry or on the counter.
- Bacon grease is a lard, so it can be stored at room temperature but it will go rancid faster.
- It’s best to keep it in a solid container rather than an opaque jar that is susceptible to light.
- If you keep bacon solids in your grease, they will collect bacteria and will go rancid faster.
- Make sure it is closed tightly. (Critters domesticated and wild like it too.)
- It should be kept away from heat sources (like the stove), and lower than 80°F (or 26°C) or it will liquify.
- Use it up within 3 months. (This is difficult to determine if you keep adding bacon grease to the container.)
Storage in the refrigerator.
It can be stored safely in the fridge for 6 months, and is easy to scoop out as needed.
Storage in the freezer.
Bacon grease can be stored safely in the freezer for 9 months. It is more difficult to scoop out when frozen.
If the bacon grease smells bad or turns dark get rid of it, wash your container and start again.
How to use bacon grease in cooking.
Heat it up before use.
Before you use bacon grease in your recipes, heat it to its liquid form in a saucepan or a few seconds in the microwave.
Replace cooking oil, butter or shortening in your recipes when deep-frying, pan-frying, or sautéing.
Use bacon grease in an equal amount as recommended in the recipe to add a wonderful bacon flavor. (You may want to decrease the amount of salt in the recipe.)
Replace butter or shortening in baking.
When substituting bacon grease in baking, use 1/2 the recommended amount of butter or shortening.
Ways to try bacon grease in your cooking:
- making pancakes
- grilled cheese sandwiches
- sautéing green beans, corn, brussel sprouts and other vegetables
- butter corn on the cob
- topping for popcorn and Chex mix
- cooking eggs, especially scrambled eggs, omelets and also deviled eggs
- baking biscuits
- in cookies, brownies or cupcakes, especially when combined with maple syrup as sweetener or frosting
- baked beans
- cheese spreads
- baking Tater Tots
- cooking breakfast potatoes
- in mashed potatoes and on baked potatoes
- making homemade tortillas
- frying pierogies
- frying fish, seafood, chicken, pork or beef
- rub for baking chicken or turkey
- hot dressings, especially on spinach (not cold dressings because will congeal again)
2 ways to make bacon butter:
Bacon butter is great for serving with biscuits, seafood, meats or vegetables
#1: Stovetop Method
- heat 3 Tbsp bacon grease with 1/2 c butter in a saucepan
- take off heat
- (optional) stir in 1/2 tsp of paprika, or dry mustard, or chili powder or other herbs or spices, or 1 Tbsp of bourbon or maple syrup
- let it sit, stirring once in awhile until the consistency of cream – about 30 minutes
#2: Mixing Method
- use room temperature: 3 Tbsp bacon grease with 1/2 c butter
- (you may include any of the optional ingredients listed above)
- pulse in a food processor or whip with a mixer until combined
If you like, you can crumble 2 slices of bacon and add pieces to the bacon butter.
Word of warning: do NOT feed bacon grease to your dog!
Yes, your dog loves the smell of bacon. Yes, it sounds like a great way to make your puppy happy. But it can make your dog sick!
Bacon grease, like other fatty foods, can cause pancreatitis in dogs.
A little bit of flavoring in homemade dog biscuits may be fine, but never give them a spoonful on their kibble. It sounds like something they would love, but don’t do it.
Bacon grease will make your dog’s pancreas inflamed and maybe even stop functioning.
We hope you’ve been inspired to save your bacon grease & have started to dream of all the yummy ways you can use it in your cooking.
Does Bacon Grease Go Bad at Does It Go Bad?
Photo of spoonful of bacon grease by kaktuslampa on flickr.
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