What should I do with all this bacon fat?
June 2, 2013 7:16 AM   Subscribe

I cook about a pound of bacon a week, and in the process generate a pretty healthy amount of bacon fat. I like to keep and use it, rather than throw it out, but my store of bacon fat has slowly been outstripping the rate at which I use it in cooking. So: what are some good uses (delicious recipes or otherwise) for my bacon fat horde?
posted by monju_bosatsu to Food & Drink (35 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
Wilted Spinach Salad!
posted by gjc at 7:19 AM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Tortillas are made with lard. I have, in fact, used bacon grease to make a variation of homemade tortillas (I was adapting it as a flatbread recipe).
posted by Michele in California at 7:19 AM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yeah I'm in the same position, and I decided to make soap. There are a lot of resources out there on the internet on how to make soap out of bacon grease, but I find that this one is best geared toward someone who is not a professional soap maker. All you will need is a small amount of lye and a stick blender.
posted by seasparrow at 7:32 AM on June 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The short answer to your question is everything. Do everything with bacon fat.
  • Brussels sprouts or asparagus
  • homestyle potatoes (boil the potatoes first)
  • Warm salads of any sort
  • greens like kale, or the above mentioned spinach though I prefer actual bacon in them
  • soup base - cook the onions/celery/whatever in bacon fat instead of an oil.
  • I have had bacon fat aioli, which replaced only some of the oil with bacon fat.
  • cornbread
  • gravy
  • scrambled eggs, just a tiny bit in the pan before the eggs go in, no other oil
  • grilled cheese sandwiches, instead of buttering the pan, use bacon grease
  • actually, pretty much anything that you would cook in a little bit of oil, use bacon fat instead. Pancakes, french toast, veggies
  • I've heard people claim that a really good Italian red sauce will have lard or bacon grease in it, but I cannot confirm.
  • biscuits that call for lard, use bacon grease instead. That'll use up quite a bit of your store.
Obviously, I believe that bacon fat can and should be used often.
Also, now I'm hungry.

After you've cooked with your bacon fat, go for a walk. Because then you won't be able to hear all the people blaming bacon fat for their health problems, and walking appears to be the more important side of the health equation anyway.
posted by bilabial at 7:37 AM on June 2, 2013 [17 favorites]

Popcorn popped in bacon fat is "different" and tasty.
posted by mattu at 7:39 AM on June 2, 2013 [6 favorites]

Fried chicken cooked in half oil/half bacon fat will change your life.
posted by neroli at 7:43 AM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also: take any gingerbread or ginger cookie recipe and substitute bacon fat for half the butter.
posted by neroli at 7:48 AM on June 2, 2013

I mostly just save mine and use it as a cooking oil, but I have had bacon chocolate chip cookies, so I imagine you could replace some or all of the butter/shortening in those with bacon fat.

Also bacon fat vinaigrette.

Also, if you really render the fat and get out all of the impurities (like clarifying butter), I'd imagine it would keep a really long time, so there wouldn't be a lot of worry of using it up.
posted by hrj at 7:53 AM on June 2, 2013

Best answer: We use it to season cast iron pans and grill grates.
posted by xsquared-1 at 8:01 AM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Bacon fat doesn't work in every cookie recipe, but it does awesome things in many. Like the aforementioned gingerbread.

Wow do I miss having roommates who eat a lot of bacon.
posted by bilabial at 8:03 AM on June 2, 2013

Best answer: Bacon fat + chopped onion and garlic + day old rice + leftover chicken (or bacon, Spam, corned beef, or steak) + scrambled egg + peas + dashes of soy sauce and fish sauce = Filipino chicken fried rice, otherwise known as breakfast at my house.
posted by HeyAllie at 8:03 AM on June 2, 2013 [8 favorites]

Half bacon fat + half butter = awesome popcorn topping.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:11 AM on June 2, 2013

Best answer: Cook sliced onions in it low and slow til they are brown... you can keep them in the freezer for times when you need something insanely fantastic to add to (whatever -- quiche, home fries, meat...)
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:45 AM on June 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You can use bacon fat in place of half (or all?) other oil to make homemade mayo. It is ... weird. But worth considering. (In fact, I see "Baconmayo" is a related question just below.)
posted by nevers at 9:00 AM on June 2, 2013

Bacon drippings (which is a useful search term, rather than "bacon fat", if you'd like to google up old recipes) makes the best cornbread! Check out the variations in the Joy of Cooking or Fanny Farmer. Heat an oven-safe skillet (cast iron is superior) in the oven as you mix up the batter, grease the skillet generously before you pour the batter in, and bake it.
posted by BrashTech at 9:03 AM on June 2, 2013

Have you considered selling it to a biodiesel producer?
posted by rw at 9:19 AM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Send some to me, because I haven't had enough to make these cookies yet!
posted by whitneyarner at 9:31 AM on June 2, 2013

Best answer: Put it in beef chili. DELICIOUS.
posted by Unangenehm at 9:44 AM on June 2, 2013

We mostly use ours for cornbread and making refried beans.
posted by juliapangolin at 10:19 AM on June 2, 2013

Just in case this got lost in that delicious list:

bilabial: scrambled eggs, just a tiny bit in the pan before the eggs go in, no other oil
posted by Room 641-A at 10:22 AM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hey, we do the same thing over here! bilabial nailed it— mostly it gets used for cornbread or eggs, but I also like to use it in lieu of butter when making steel-cut oats, pancakes, quinoa, or other things that need fatty oil at a medium or higher heat.

I plan to do steaks in the cast-iron skillet cooked in bacon fat for this week's Grillin' Wednesday, also.
posted by a halcyon day at 10:39 AM on June 2, 2013

Best answer: I use my bacon grease to make the world's most amazing pork belly confit.
posted by gone2croatan at 10:43 AM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Because I'm much more an experimenter than I am a precision cook, I've subbed bacon fat for a portion of the shortening for pie crust (for apple pie, which works well with the slight smokiness of the bacon fat) although I don't remember the proportions and I don't think 100% bacon fat will work. If I had to do it again, I'd probably start around 30-40% bacon fat.
posted by gauche at 11:06 AM on June 2, 2013

Best answer: Also, saute diced mushrooms and shallots in some bacon fat for sandwich & omelette fillings &c.
posted by gauche at 11:09 AM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You can also confit chicken wings/legs in it (similar to any duck confit recipe), and they will be amazing.
posted by homotopy at 11:10 AM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Have you considered selling it to a biodiesel producer?

Unless you have gallons of the stuff, it probably wouldn't be worth it. Finished biodiesel needs to cost under $4 a gallon to be worth it, so the feed oil has to be purchased for less than that.

Another thing about using heavy fats like lard (which is what bacon fat is, essentially) and beef tallow and butter is that you can use far less of it to get the same delicious mouth feel and satiety as much more of a lighter oil. So it ends up being a wash, or even a net positive, health wise.
posted by gjc at 11:13 AM on June 2, 2013

Best answer: I like roasting cauliflower with bacon fat instead of some other oil/fat.
posted by raf at 11:23 AM on June 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Bacon fat is great for cooking greens and for making hot vinaigrettes: you heat it, saute a little diced onion in it, and add vinegar--about half as much vinegar as fat, more or less depending on your taste and the vinegar in question. You can just pour it hot over things or toss greens around in it. Add a pinch of mustard to the vinegar if you want to punch it up.

But I would mainly freeze it and just use it every time you need fat to cook with. It is much better to saute vegetables for a soup in bacon fat than in vegetable oil ('better' as in 'more delicious'.)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:30 PM on June 2, 2013

My grandpa fried up slices of bread in the leftover bacon grease for breakfast every morning. He lived to be 93+ so it can't have been too bad for him.

I vaguely remember tasting it once or twice as a small child, but I don't think I liked it much.
posted by qurlyjoe at 2:11 PM on June 2, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the great ideas everyone!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:32 PM on June 2, 2013

My favourite bakery in Barcelona has two different kinds of croissants. Those made with butter and those made with pork lard. I still can't figure out which one I like best, so every time I go I buy one of each.

So yeah, puff pastry can be made with bacon fat. Especially good if you are going to put in a savory filing.
posted by kandinski at 5:49 PM on June 2, 2013

Bacon grease, garlic, copious amounts of chard: go directly to heaven.

Has anyone here succeeded in making bacon grease candles?
posted by plinth at 6:14 PM on June 2, 2013

Damn, I wish I'd seen this earlier. I keep my bacon fat, and use it instead of oil for starting chili (browning meat, sautéing onions and chiles). For homemade BBQ sauces that call for butter, use bacon fat.

I hadn't thought about confit, but now that I have, I fear I'll never lose weight.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:19 AM on June 3, 2013

Bacon infused Burbon.
posted by Gungho at 8:08 AM on June 3, 2013

Ahem...technically, it would be possible to infuse all that bacon fat with cannabis. And really, using hash oil or keif would erase most straining issues.

So...there's that.
posted by justalisteningman at 11:21 AM on June 3, 2013

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