What Should You Do With Bacon Grease?
So you're cooking up a fresh batch of crispy bacon at your home, apartment, or even ski condo, as you should be, daily, and you find yourself thinking, what do I do with all of this grease? How do I get rid of it? Can I pour it down the drain, or should I put it in the trash? And, can I reuse the bacon fat?
Yes, No, and we're about to tell you. Not necessarily in that order.
What is Bacon Grease / Bacon Fat?
Bacon fat, or bacon grease, or bacon drippings, is the leftover hot liquid remaining after you cook bacon. Whether you are cooking bacon with a cast iron skillet or on a baking sheet, there is no escaping the leftover grease. Some call it liquid gold. We just call it delicious.
If you've never cooked succulent strips of swine before, there are a few things you should know.
- Hot bacon grease pops and has a tendency to land on your arms. There are two things you can buy, longer tongs and a grease shield, to help make the cooking experience more delightful. Cooking with a bacon press helps too.
- There are proper ways and improper ways to dispose of cooked bacon grease.
- Using bacon grease to cook other meals works like a charm. Sautéing veggies with some fat is a treat. You can also mix it with other ingredients to make condiments such as salad dressing. Bacon vinaigrette for the win.
- You will invariably eat bacon while you are cooking, so always buy more than you think you're going to need. You may even find yourself making a BLT sandwich on the side. That's ok. Just roll with it. (Bonus points for using your own baconnaise).
How do I get rid of leftover Bacon Grease?
The easiest way to get rid of bacon grease is to let it harden and dispose of it. The process is the same, whether or not you are cooking pork belly or bacon strips. You can do this in one of two ways, either by finding a container to put it in or by simply leaving the hot grease in the pan.
One thing to keep in mind if you're leaving it in the stovetop pan is that scraping it out may damage non-stick and cast iron frying pans. This is different altogether if the bacon drippings are all over a baking sheet. You're definitely going to want to remove them from the sheet in that case.
And one other thing to keep in mind if you are using a plastic container is that it may melt. Adding tin foil to the mix is a great way to save your countertop from being ruined. Also, if you go the paper towel route, you're going to need a lot of them.
Hard Rules for Bacon Fat Disposal
- Do NOT pour it down the kitchen drain. Same goes for the bathroom tub and toilet. Basically, do not mix the leftover liquid grease with your home's plumbing. This introduces it into your town's sewer system or your own septic system and that's good for no one.
- The last point is doubly true if you have a garbage disposal.
- Unlike uncooked bacon, composting the grease is not a viable option either.
- Last, never pour hot grease (of any type) into your plastic trash barrel. There are a whole host of issues that can arise, ranging from a little bit of plastic getting melted all the way to the hot liquid fat burning its way through the barrel and spilling onto the floor. Or worse, all over your inner cabinetry if you store your trash barrel under counter. Do you want to clean that mess? Neither do we.
How Do I Avoid Rendering Bacon Fat?
Cook bacon on a grill. You can use the bacon drippings will half serve as fuel at that point.
How do I store Bacon Grease?
Another option is to store bacon fat for future use. Put the bacon fat into a container with a tight-fitting cover (such as an empty margarine or sour cream tub), and refrigerate. If you're using it for cooking, then consider cutting off just enough to use at that time.
You can also freeze bacon grease for long term storage by picking up some ice cube trays from your local grocery store. Fill each tray about halfway with melted bacon grease and add water until it's filled up like normal ice cubes before freezing them in the freezer. The next time you have broth on hand and need more thickening power, pull out one of these frozen blocks of rendered bacon fat instead!
It's not a bad idea to keep excess lard around the house, as silly as that sounds.
Good Container Types for Storing Fat
Here are a few suggestions. Once again, plastic melts, so remember to be careful if you're going that route. Finding a good temperature balance is key as bacon drippings solidify at room temperature.
- Glass Jars
- Metal Cannisters
- Paper Cartons
- Plastic Tubs
How to cook with Bacon Fat
Bacon Grease is not only delicious, but it also has some really amazing culinary uses that you should have in your arsenal. Plus, anything you cook with it will become accented with bacon flavor, and we're all for that.
You can fry eggs in the fat instead of using butter or vegetable oil for some added flavor and richness. You can make your own baconnaise. You can even rip boozy shots by adding bacon grease to bourbon. What's not to love!!?
Pouring some fat into the mashed potatoes is an easy way to add a dollop of smoky flavor. Speaking of potatoes, bacon bits complement sour cream & chives on a baked potato excellently.
Foods That Work Well With Bacon Grease
If you'd use butter to make a dish, you can use bacon fat. Same goes for olive oil, because Bacon > Olive Oil, and you can't dispute mathematical operators.
- Brussels Sprouts
- Pan-fried Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Our personal fave, and what we will be cooking up on Bacon Day, is to combine homefries with a hot stack of flapjacks that have been drizzled in real maple syrup and, of course, a side of crispy bacon. You know, the same bacon we just cooked to get the grease for the homefries we are about to eat. No fried rice or green beans here.
Anyway, reusing the grease gives you a lot of flexibility, whether that's using the fat as an ingredient, or, spinkling it on your spinach salad.
If you want to see what the pros do, go check out a Bacon Event near you. You can get a much better idea of how to properly handle the grease as opposed to watching you and the other home cooks you know. The other benefit of attending a bacon event is all of the extra bacon-themed dishes, drinks, attire, and more that you will come across. You may even get to treat yourself to some bacon ice cream.