39 ways to use delicious bacon Fat
The ways you can use the bacon fat you get while cooking it.
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While cooking bacon, you get lots of bacon fat. I haven’t always been a bacon fat saver yet, I always think it’s a shame to toss it – such a great food enhancer. You can use it for baking, sautéeing, and anything you’d use butter. When chilled, it’s more like bacon butter than bacon grease. If you don’t want to save it by yourself, you can actually buy it, too (even by bulk).
Bacon fat is surprisingly considered as a healthy fat. It is higher in monounsaturated (“healthy fat“) fat than butter. Saturated fat is about 40%. It doesn’t contain trans fat (“bad fat”) like margarine. It has slightly less cholesterol than butter, the same calories as canola oil, but a lot more saturated fat and sodium.
You need only a small amount to get the flavor. Of course, moderation is the key, though it’s a healthy fat.
Smoke point: About 325°F
We love duck-fat fries. Why not bacon fat? I’ll show you delicious ways that you can use up the leftover bacon fat.
Definitions of various pork fats
Pork Fats: lard, other rendered pork fat, and bacon grease (bacon fat, bacon drippings, etc).
Bacon Grease: the byproduct of cooking bacon. When you cook bacon, you are essentially rendering the solid fat into a liquid by heating. It has been flavored by the seasoning/ brine/ smoking of the bacon.
Leaf Fat: the fat comes from around the kidney and loin.
Leaf lard: Rendered leaf fat with a more mellow flavor than regular lard. It is considered the highest grade of lard.
Lard: Rendered/cooked down pork fat, not from leaf fat. It is considered a pure fat with a flavor. All other pork fats can be rendered down the same way but are not as good as Lard.
- Lard has a higher melting point and smoke point than butter.
- Lard is higher in healthy unsaturated fats and lower in saturated fats than butter.
- Lard has larger fat crystals than butter.
- Lard has a lower water content than butter. Actually, lard has no water in it and butter usually has between 14% and 18%.
Rendering bacon fat
The key: Cook the bacon slowly, on medium-low heat.
Do this on the stovetop in a cast iron pan, because it retains heat and helps you cook bacon more evenly. Also, the bacon fat will help season the cast iron pan. But any pan will do.
Once you finish cooking the bacon, remove it from the pan and pour the bacon fat into a jar. Make sure not to pour the hot fat into any jar that might crack or melt.
A half-pound of bacon may yield anywhere from 4 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of rendered fat.
Storing bacon fat
If you use bacon fat regularly in your cooking, you can store it in the container on your kitchen counter for a week or two.
Don’t add freshly rendered bacon fat to the previous batch container. It has a fairly long shelf-life, but it won’t last forever. Exposure to heat, light, and oxygen can cause it to turn rancid, and adding new fat to rancid fat (or nearly rancid fat) will just ruin all of it. Simply cover the jar with a piece of plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.
If you plan on storing the bacon fat for more than a few months, strain out the solids first before pouring it into a jar. You can also find a container with a filter like this.
- If you don’t filter out the solid bits, the fat can last a couple of months in the refrigerator.
- If you do filter out the solid bits, the fat can last up to a year in the refrigerator.
- You can also freeze bacon fat if you want to store it even longer.
What to cook with bacon fat
Bacon fat is such a flavorful fat to cook with. Basically, you can use it for frying anything that would benefit from having the bacon flavor. When cooking with it, spoon it out from the jar and half a teaspoon is all you need.
- Any vegetables – Brussels sprout, onions, corn, spinach etc.
- Bacon aioli
- Bacon infused bourbon
- Bacon fat crackers
- Creamy mushroom pasta
- Eggs – scrambled eggs, fried eggs, omelets
- French toast
- Fried rice
- Grilled cheese
- Hash browns
- Maple bacon ice cream
- Mashed potatoes
- Bacon milkshake
- Pie crust
- Pop popcorn
- Potato and bacon soup
- Warm Bacon Dressing
Discarding Bacon Fat
If you don’t want to save it for cooking, just wait for it to cool down and harden, then toss it. Or line a container with foil, pour the liquid fat in, let it harden, and then pull out the foil, wrap up the fat, and toss it.
- Don’t pour hot fat into the trash
- Don’t pour it down the drain
- Don’t add it to your septic system
- Don’t compost it (liquid or solid)
Conclusion: Bacon fat can be used in so many items. Don’t waste the fat and enjoy it as a flavor enhancer!
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