Monday, March 8, 2010

Bacon Grease. Do You Keep It?

I know there are people out there who won't even make it past the post title. Heh.

But this is something I've been curious about, how many of you folks out there keep bacon grease on hand? I do. I don't use anywhere near as much of it as I do olive oil, but I almost always have a mug at least a quarter full in the fridge. A little goes a long way, but it adds the best flavor when you're cooking eggs, burgers or sauteing onions. I've used it as the fat in breads, cooked pancakes in it and brushed in on top of calzones before putting them in the oven instead of olive oil. It's essence of bacon, people, it can add deliciousness to anything.

So come on, who else?

I know I'm not alone.

Update: A few people have asked some basic questions about storing bacon grease, which is really something I should have covered before. Heh. So, here we go, a quick bacon grease faq:
Q: How do you store bacon grease?
A: I like to store it in a ceramic coffee mug, covered in plastic wrap, (sometimes I wrap a rubber band around if it won't stick) in the fridge.
Q: How long does bacon grease stay good for?
A: Many months in the fridge and when it goes bad you know since it smells rancid. My rule thumb for it is if I don't know if it's still I just toss it. More can always be made by frying up some bacon.
Q: What other ways can you store it?
A: Well, my dad used to store it at room temperature and we never had any issues with it. Of course we also used it pretty quickly. You can store it in a coffee can, although I think it gives it off flavors. My suggestion is to keep it in either glass or ceramic, covered and in the fridge.

70 comments:

Leslie said...

Funny you asked the question. I was just thinking about starting to save it. But when I do cook bacon I always pour the grease in the eggs or grits before cooking them. So you know what?, I think I am going to start saving it up!!!! Everything is fine in moderation!

A Year on the Grill said...

You are not alone!

Angie's Recipes said...

I do but I don't usually use them right away...to stir-fry the noodles, veggies (esp. Brussels sprouts) or use them to bake the bread.

Sage Trifle said...

Yes, I do. Though I avoid using the "grease" word. I propose more people will start saving it after seeing your provocative, curvy, spoonful.

Kristen said...

I keep it! I have a special mug in the fridge always full. I use it on the griddle when I make french toast (it's amazing really), sometimes to brown chicken, and of course for eggs. Like you, I mostly use olive oil, but you just can't beat the flavor of the bacon in certain dishes.

Ann said...

i keep flavoured fats in the fridge too! i usually fry it with eggs and rice. yummmy fatty goodness :)

Lea Ann said...

I agree, nothing like fried eggs in bacon grease. I used to keep it all the time but now try to use olive oil for most things. I just bought some lard (and blogged about it), so I can see a bacon grease revival in my future once I'm reminded how good pork fat can be.

Jeannie said...

They make food taste more delicious and fragrant. I only have enough oil after frying the bacon,to fry eggs and sausages :D hardly enough to keep.

5 Star Foodie said...

Never thought about doing that but it's a terrific idea, would be great flavor addition of so many dishes!

Bob said...

I knew it! See, the food blog world understands me. :D

Hungry Dog said...

I don't but I should. You're right about it having great flavor--it improves nearly everything!

Elra said...

Interesting question, I never really keep it though. Hmm, maybe I should huh? Imagine making al dishes with bacon grease, delicious guarantee!

Joanne said...

Is bacon grease the same as lard? Because I've heard that lard is actually not as bad for you as butter is... something to keep in mind!

Bob said...

Joanne: No, bacon grease is just the fat leftover from frying bacon. Lard is rendered pork fat. Bacon grease tastes better, but it isn't so good for pie crusts. ;) Except maybe for quiche...

I didn't know that about lard, definitely something to look into! Heh.

Mama Feoneafey said...

Hey now, you tellen' one of me best secrets here..LOL..
I confess, I keep a small mason jar with a class lid in the fridge of bacon grease.. I probably shouldn't use it for several reasons, but ya know, there are just some things that wouldn't taste right with out it!

Mini Baker said...

I don't, and I really don't think I should! Just the name alone makes me think I shouldn't be eating it! ahh!
-Mini b.

USA Kiwi (aka Kylee) said...

I do. It's fabulous for frying potatoes in for breakfast burritos.

GREAT for sauteeing onions in too.

You are not alone. :)

Mary said...

I still keep some in my refrigerator. There are those who disapprove, but what the heck. Oil or butter can't take its place in middle European recipes.

Holly said...

Hmmm....I've never done this! I think I'll give it a try:)

Karen said...

For years I've always kept a can in the freezer and poured leftover bacon grease into it. When the can gets full, it goes into the trash. It never dawned on me to use it... until a few months ago! I scooped some out and fried diced potatoes for breakfast. Yum!

The Runaway Spoon said...

Always - I grew up in Southern kitchens where there was always an old coffee can full of grease by the stove, and I do the same thing, though I actually use an attractive little red container. I am in fact off to make dumplings for my chicken and dumplings right now. The secret is the bacon grease in the dumpling dough. And I can only cook corn bread when the batter is poured into a skillet slicked with hot bacon grease. I also throw a little bacon grease in the oil when I fry chicken. The uses are endless!

Pam said...

I only use super lean bacon so I never have leftover grease. We had a grease can when I was growing up and it was always full.

Duchess of Fork said...

We most certainly keep it! It resides in a coffee can under our sink.

HoneyB said...

I don't but my grandmother always did! We tend to not eat bacon often in our home but we do have it as a treat once in a while. I agree, it does give great flavor and a little goes a long way!

Julia said...

bacon grease in corn muffins. Bam and Bam, Bob, we totally understand you. But only sometimes do I use the grease since it is pretty gnarly for your arteries.

Jenn said...

I keep it. I have a small container of it in the fridge just in case I want something with a little more flavor. I'm more of an olive oil girl, but it doesn't hurt to have it on hand just in case.

Mhel said...

Guilty as charged for doing the same. They give wonderful flavor in cooking eggs, meats, and even toasting breads.... U

Jan said...

Ugh.

olDad said...

...and some people, stylishly these days, throw away the cream and choke down what your grandfather called "diluted water." Never noticed you turning down crêpes with edges crisped in luscious bacon fat. Nor even when we had the even-lovelier goose grease on hand...

Vicki said...

I've got a jar in the fridge, but I rarely use it - I usually keep it until the jar's full, then toss it, because I don't want to clog my pipes with bacon fat.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I save and use bacon grease for many things, notably sauteing brussel sprouts, and cabbage. A little goes a long way!

Pam said...

Let's put it this way ~ I'd do without chocolate before I'd give up my bacon grease jar in the refrigerator! I can't imagine anything else in fresh green beans unless they are roasted.

Goldie said...

Whenever I get the motivation, I'm going to make homemade tamales...with bacon inside, rather than spicy pork meat. I'll cook the bacon and then mix the leftover grease into the corn meal for the masa. Been meaning to do this, but only got as far as the planning stage. :(

Culinary Alchemist said...

I use to always keep a little bacon grease around when I was able to cook by bacon on a Farberware open hearth grill. But since my last 2 apartments had fuse issues, I quit using it and stopped keeping it around. But let me tell ya, 2 eggs + Bacon Grease + Cast iron Pan = Serious Good Chow

Drake said...

My mom, grandma, & aunts all keep jars of it. I used to as well, but have been a vegetarian for a couple years, so no bacon for me. It's generally the recommended fat to season cast iron with, though, & if you eat bacon, is perfect for cooking eggs or greens in.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Yup! But in the fridge. Every once in a while I pitch it and start fresh.
I remember the last generation keeping it under the sink in coffee cans. They seemed to survive.

Cate O'Malley said...

I haven't in the past, but really starting to think I should. Just in case.

Sook said...

ha ha at first I thought the photo was of icecream... silly me.. I don't eat a lot of bacon but no, I don't keep it. I hear it's really good for a lot of things, though.

Joie de vivre said...

When I make bacon, I use the grease to make hashbrowns and eggs, but I don't save it after that meal.

Danielle said...

YES!!! its the essence of good southern food! I have a mug or jar in the fridge that I keep some in. My problem is that I forget that it's there. (this may sound terribly unhealthy) but I need to use bacon fat more often..hahaa. sooo....I wonder, how long is it good for if kept in the fridge?

matt74 said...

Oh yeah..try using it for the fat in roux..it takes any gravy to the next level.

My Little Space said...

I used to do that but not anymore! I know this is really delicious when in used for the second time. But not healthy to our heart! I mean this is OK for kids but not for our age.

tamilyn said...

so do you strain the bits out? Sometimes we'll get some bits that are black and crunchy and I'm thinking that would give it on off flavor to use in food. And I see some keep it in the fridge and some on the counter-if it gets warm in the kitchen, won't it go rancid? I have saved some and used it the same day for some flavoring, but never saved it longer than that

Mickle in NZ said...

Most definately I keep the bacon fat - need it decent potato cakes (yes, I'm 1/4 Irish).

I also save fat from baked chicken pieces - for wonderfully crispy yet not fatty roast potatoes. I can't afford to buy goose or duck fat for roast veggies, so I hoard the fat from the chicken pieces I cook.

Both/either fats are only used once in a while, yet they keep so well in the fridge.

Super thanks for your post, Michelle downunder in Wellington,, NZ.

The Dutch Baker's Daughter said...

I do use bacon fat to fry my eggs, but only when I'm frying bacon with the eggs...I don't save it...my husband would have a fit if he saw it in the fridge. He does seem to enjoy those eggs though... ;)

cookies and cups said...

I always THINK about saving it when I cook it, but have never gotten up the nerve...
You have given me the push to save it!
Also, just came across your site...love it and I thought that grease was frosting and I was all...yummmm.

Bob said...

Danielle: It stays good for quite a long time. When it goes bad you can smell it, rancid fat is nasty. :/

tamilyn: It does stay good longer in the fridge, but it will last for a few weeks. It's not a delicate substance. :)

Mickle: Nice, I have a bunch of chicken fat in the freezer too.

Linda said...

I do save it sometimes when I know I'll use it up soon.... I don't keep a jar of it normally.... but I do always have bacon in the house so if I need it... I cook some up and have a BLT.. and have the grease for what I need it for.

So you are not alone!

Mary Sue said...

I have bacon grasa in one container and grasa from roasted pork in another, and in a third I've got all the collagen from said roasted pork. They're my secret ingredients.

pigpigscorner said...

Oh man, I should start now!

Jen said...

I don't but now I'm realizing I should!

Me and My Pink Mixer said...

I don't fry bacon very often, but I do keep the grease when I do. My mom always adds it to her green beans & they are delish!! I also heard that you can freeze it in ice cube trays, but I haven't tried that yet.

Ash said...

I never even thought of keeping it, but gee, I think I need to now!!

tasteofbeirut said...

I don't save bacon grease, I use bacon salt ; seriously, I save other fats for flavor like chicken or lamb, to recycle in stews or stuffed veggies. I am not that into bacon, unlike millions who even like it in their ice-cream!

Cinnamon-Girl said...

I don't do that but now I wish I did! I can certainly see it's usefulness! Nothing beats the flavor.

appropriated.muffin said...

i've never even thought to save it and to re-use it! wow. i am slow on that one. next time i make bacon (hopefully soon!) i'll remember to keep the grease in the fridge for future use.

Bridgett said...

No, i've never kept it. Maybe I should start??

Barbara said...

While I don't cook bacon all that often any more, when I do, I save the grease. My mother always had a coffee can full of it in the fridge. Words cannot describe how good potatoes are fried in bacon grease. OMG.

Dani said...

I've been really interested in clarifying leftover bacon grease- haven't tried it yet, and actually threw a ton of leftover grease away a few days ago thinking I would never get around to making it happen. I keep thinking it would be fun to bake with if I could clarify it into a purer product. Is this necessary? Anyone ever tried it?

Bob said...

Dani: I've never tried clarifying it. I think it's about as rendered as it can get (although I'm not 100% on that), but it you wanted to pass it through some cheesecloth to get any bits out that would make it cleaner.

I have done some baking with it, although nothing fancier than bread, and it worked fine in that. I'm not sure how it would work in anything else, but I'd be interested to know. If you do try it, let me know how it works for you please!

Leigh said...

I didn't used to. Then I read Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions,. Now I save it and use it use it freely without fear.

monicajane said...

yes! I save my bacon fat...I see too many people have already had their say...

cheers.

Susan said...

Oh yeah ... I've got a big mason jar of it in the fridge at all times! My mom ALWAYS used it for what we called "dirty eggs."
Great blog! Hope you'll check out mine: www.spoonandshutter.com
Susan

grace said...

very artistic shot of a substance which must not be wasted.

Lauren said...

I have always saved bacon grease, because I prefer to use it to cook with. I can actually get away with using less of it than other oils/shortenings, because it seems "greasier". I like the taste. I usually just let it sit until the food particles separate out to the bottom, and just take the top. I have read about using a coffee filter to filter it, and have used one, but be prepared for a long wait. They filter slowly.

Anonymous said...

How about a tutorial. Like, how should it be kept... should it be kept refrigerated? Container with lid? Etc...

Anonymous said...

I find if you bake your bacon in the oven your grease comes out cleaner. I always tend to burn or unevenly cook the bacon when I cook it on the stove top. If you over cook the bacon grease it doesn't taste good. and yes a little does go a long way as far as flavor, especially when making a roux for a soup.

Chuck said...

http://healthydietsandscience.blogspot.com/2011/06/lard-offers-protection-from-heart.html

MagnoliaSouth said...

@ My Little Space: Actually, as usual, studies have shown that this isn't necessarily true. I've a feeling that a lot of their theories are not true. I'm a nurse, so I'm fairly familiar with it.

That said, I'm a freeze-everything-kind-of-woman. I refrigerate it until chilled, scoop it out in tbs onto a tray to freeze, then put the balls in a bag and freeze. Actually, I put them in snack bag size bags, then put those in a freezer bag. This way it's easier to separate them out.

I used to use ice trays, but that's more work than it's worth. This way is much easier.

Jason Morgan said...

Ah man, I just threw my bacon grease in the trash. Cooking green beans with it sounds really good.

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