When I began living on my own, I started saving my bacon grease in a large, empty protein container, one of our competitors of course. The sole reason behind this was to protect the pipes in my house and do my part in keeping the sewage lines in my neighborhood unclogged. Just trying to be neighborly.
Not to mention the priceless look on friends’ faces when you show them your two pounds of lard and grease that you’ve been stashing for years. Some think it’s pretty cool and want to start their own collection. Other’s start to view you as Gollum, hoarding your precious pork fat oil for no apparent reason.
It had never occurred to me there might be practical uses for this bacon grease, other than throwing it in my pitbull Rogue’s food for her enjoyment. Then, the door to Narnia swung open with its endless world of possibilities for this golden juice during our conversation with Cassy Joy Garcia of Fed & Fit.
During her talk on all things Paleo and cooking for longevity, she mentioned how she utilizes bacon grease in various recipes, for cookware, baking, frying, and the list goes on. She never lets this precious resource go to waste. And now, neither do I!
My two-pound collection, however, was spoiled. I had thrown all sorts of other greases in the mix along with cooking refuse throughout the years. Not to mention it was WAY too old to be of any dietary use. I kissed it goodbye and started another collection.
Side note: I would never advise placing hot oil in a plastic container and then plan to digest any of that oil. The oil can melt the plastic, inundating your grease with plastics and free radicals that can lead to a multitude of health issues. I now use an airtight mason jar to house “my precious.”
How to Maximize Your Bacon Grease
The first step in collecting bacon grease is to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck. I only cook bacon in a cast iron skillet, over low-medium heat, with room between slices.
I choose the cast iron because it is non-stick, there’s no worry of cooking aluminum into my food, and the bacon subsequently adds to the flavor and richness of my skillet for its next use.
You want to cook your bacon over low-medium heat with room to render your bacon. This just means allowing time and space for the fat of your bacon to melt or be cooked into solution (grease), while cooking the bacon meat to your desired level of crispness.
Cast iron tip: Any time you are cooking meat in your skillet, wait until the meat is free from the bottom of the pan. Sometimes it can stick, especially if cooking at too high of a temperature, too fast, or due to poor cleaning practices. However, once the meat has a chance to crisp, it will free itself from the bottom – telling you it’s ready to flip!
How to Use Your Grease
Now, for the fun part. My top 10 uses of bacon grease.
- Greasing Pan or Skillet Before any Cooking
Instead of reaching for the coconut oil, which adds a coconut flavor to my food, or olive oil, which has a lower smoke point, I use bacon grease to oil my ceramic skillet or pans before any cooking or baking.
- Sealing Your Cast Iron Skillet
After cleaning my cast iron, I use bacon grease to seal and lock in my skillet to prevent any moisture or rust. It also adds a savory pork flavor to my next dish while keeping it non-stick!
- Fry Up Anything!
Everything you fry needs oil to cook your food. It does not take an immense amount of oil to make pan-fried chicken, just substitute your new favorite grease in place of the called for oil. This rule applies to every recipe where you can imagine bacon flavor.
C’mon, this one was a no-brainer. This should probably be number 1 on the list.
- Homemade Gravy
No matter what is on the menu for the evening, homemade gravy from scratch always comes in the clutch. Not to mention, you’ll be sure to impress your significant other with your new cooking skills. No recipe here though, trial and error is your friend.
- Throw in Your Dog’s Food for Fat, Flavor, and Digestion
The easiest way to make bacon grease disappear is to employ your ever-ready, persistently begging friend. Top his next meal off with leftover grease for additional dietary fat, digestive support, and a new jam-packed flavor to his regular old fare.
Another no brainer. I cannot take credit for it, but here’s a paleo-friendly recipe I made and was not disappointed in the slightest: Paleo Leap Mayonnaise.
- Sauteed Vegetables
Add a smoky, pork flavor to your next batch of Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, mixed medley, or even potatoes.
- Add Eggs
Most of the time when I’m making bacon, eggs are sure to follow. Whip the eggs in a separate bowl, season, and toss directly on top of the grease. The eggs will soak up some of the greases, but it also keeps the eggs from sticking to your cast iron. If there is too much grease in the skillet for you, get out of the kitchen!! Just kidding, just pour some out.
Okay, confession…I’ve never actually made or used bacon bar soap. However, this idea just seemed too cool not to include. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out! I hear chicks dig it.
How to Correctly Store Your Grease
If you have your own supplement line and want to show your competitors just what you think of them, go ahead and pour their powder straight into the garbage, then immediately re-fill with your leftover grease. Kidding 🙂
The best way to store your grease is in an airtight container, such as a mason jar or sealable glass jar. If the jar is empty, allow the oil to cool in the pan before placing in the jar. I learned this one the hard way.
I keep my grease in the pantry because I use it regularly. If you plan on intermittently using your oil, go ahead and keep in the fridge or freezer for long-term storage.
How to Correctly Get Rid of Your Grease
Apparently, you did not heed any of the advice up until this point, but if storing your liquid fat is just not your cup of tea, please at least listen to me here. Your neighbors and pipes will thank you.
Option 1) Let the grease solidify by placing the fridge or pantry and throw away at a later date.
Option 2) After it cools, top off your dog’s next meal for the reasons listed above and because he deserves it.
Option 3) If you insist on getting rid of the grease directly after use, wait until you have cracked some egg shells. Place the egg shells down the garbage disposal, turn on the COLD water, pour grease down the sink and turn on garbage disposal at the same time. The cool water keeps the oil from expanding, and the enamel from the egg shells shuttle it through your pipes and will clean them at the same time.
Now go have some fun with your new friend, bacon grease. If nothing else, these 10 uses give you an excuse to fry up some bacon tonight! Enjoy.