When I cook bacon in a pan, I usually blot the excess grease as I go along - it seems to make the bacon (mmm … bacon!) come out extra crispy.
It dawned on my tonight, while cooking bacon as a garnish for butternut squash soup, that all those greasy paper towels are starting to add up.
So, Dopers of the Cage Society … convince me that I should be pouring off my liquid bacon grease into a coffee can or something.
Give me recipes that require starting with rendered bacon fat. (Please!)
For the record, I already save the raw, uncooked fatty bits of bacon that I slice off of my cookin’ bacon - they go in a baggie in the freezer and eventually find their way into beans and such. But this is a different application from that, right? Liquid rendered fat vs. uncooked scraps?
Because it is so wonderful and tasty! You can use the bacon fat for so many things and it will add a depth of flavor you had no idea was possible. You can use it for frying (that’s a no-brainer) but also as the fat in cornbread, biscuits (the American kind) and almost any other savory dish (I would not try it in cakes or sweets ;)). Just substitute the bacon grease for the fat in the recipe- it works particularly well in place of shortening or lard.
You can also add a spoonful or so of bacon grease instead of bacon to beans, soups, green beans…and just about everything. Mmmmmmmm…bacon grease.
Use it to fry eggs. Use it to brown pork. Use it to pop popcorn instead of oil (especially if you have little browned bits of bacon in it) - it’s awesome. Use it to saute onions. Use it pretty much in place of oil for sauteing anything.
I keep mine in the freezer or refrigerator. It can go rancid if you leave it out on the counter.
Oh man, using bacon grease to pop popcorn? I need to stop at the store on my way home from work for a lb of bacon and some bagseed popcorn now!
What if you run out of KY Jelly?
The hotel that I stay at in Germany serves bread with a ball of something made essentially of bacon fat with little bacon crisps in it (and something else; they told me once but I’ve forgotten). You just spread it on the bread and it melts as you spread the stuff. It’s delicious, but I always limit myself to one small piece of bread since I want to live past the age of 50.
I make grilled cheese sandwiches in bacon fat, if I have bacon fat. I mean, it’s grilled cheese. Flavored with bacon. As long as you don’t tell your cardiologist, you’re in heaven.
I also flavor green beans and other veggies with bacon fat, if I have it.
We have a family recipe passed down from my Dad’s side that is chicken fried in bacon fat. Incredibly yummy!
My Dad also uses it to make bread, instead of oil.
He grew up in logging camps, and he’s told me that the loggers used to pour liquid bacon fat over pancakes and top it with white sugar. I can’t say I’ve tried that, but you’re welcome to!
Best application of bacon grease:
Boil 1 lb. elbow macaroni. Drain well.
While macaroni is boiling, cut up 1 lb. of bacon into 1" pieces. Use a BIG skillet. Fry, stirring around to cook evenly. Chop up 1 large onion. Dump onion and macaroni into pan with bacon. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir regularly to keep from sticking. Fry till browned andd crispy.
Simple, and the best heart-attack side dish ever.
When making clam chowdah, you must saute the onions in bacon fat. Or else!
I’ve posted this recipe on this site before, but this thread seems to call for it!
2-3lb venison or beef roast/stewing beef
1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
4 small or 3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2lb carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, washed and rough-sliced
3 good cooking apples, cored and sliced but not peeled
2 bay leaves
3C each beef stock and apple juice/cider (cider is best, but you can’t always find it)
1/2C red wine vinegar
1/4C apple juice/cider (separate use)
2Tbsp corn starch
Salt and pepper
Herbs De province or whatever seasonings tickle your funnybone in recipes like this
Season meat with salt, pepper and herbs/seasoning.
Heat bacon fat in large skillet.
Brown meat in bacon fat, remove meat to 6qt. slow cooker.
Add onion and celery to bacon fat, sautee until they are just beginning to caramelize/tenderize/‘get happy’.
Add browned onion and celery, as well as carrots and potatoes to slow cooker (do not add apples yet).
Add beef stock and apple cider and vinegar
Add bay leaves
Cook on high for 6-8 hours, or until meat starts to fall apart and veggies are getting nice and tender.
Add sliced apples, continue cooking until apples are just starting to get tender (you don’t want applesauce in your stew!)
Remove bay leaves
Mix final apple cider with corn starch and stir into stew until thickened to taste
Serve with a nice crusty bread or rolls
The combo of beef stew and apples/cider sounds really, really strange, I know. Everyone I’ve ever fed this to has said “You can’t put apples in beef stew!” and then loved it!
Browning the stew meat in bacon fat adds a layer of flavor and smokiness that you don’t get otherwise.
If you get the bacon fat by cooking bacon just before starting the stew, you can serve the stew with crispy, crumbled bacon bits as a topping/garnish.
The addition of vinegar with the cider gives the whole stew a kind of sweet and sour thing, and it’s even better the next day!
Thank you, Dopers of the CaFe Society!!
(“Cage Society??” :smack: that’s what I get for typing in a hurry while the bacon cooks!)
ShibbOleth, that sounds sort of like what I had in Poland while visiting relatives. The Poles there all looked down on bacon-fat-spread-on-bread as the lowest form of peasant food. Meanwhile, there’s me, a little kid who never tasted such a heavenly concoction before. I vividly remember two things: the wonderful taste, and the fact that I ate so much of it I promptly threw up.
PappSett, I do a similar thing with leftover pasta. Re-fry with bacon’n’onion. Mmm…
This popcorn idea … I must try it!
Lordy, it fries up the best homefry potatoes with onions.
Biscuits and Gravy!
Brown the sausage with the bacon fat! Also make the roux with the bacon and sausage fat.
Bacon fat is a must for making skillet cornbread. Grilled cheese sandwiches, too, as others have mentioned.
My parents had a friend who was fanatically health-conscious. Everything had to be sugar-free, salt-free, fat-free, etc. However, he did have a fondness for ginger snaps. But none of them were ever as good as the ones his mother used to make.
My mother took this as a challenge. She tried every recipe she could find, to no avail. One day, she heard my father reminiscing fondly about his aunt’s ginger snaps. So my mother called the aunt and asked her for her secret recipe. “Oh, I just use the one in the Betty Crocker cookbook. But instead of shortening, I use bacon grease.”
My mother cooked up a batch, and presented them to the friend. Success! The friend asked what was in them. Mom smiled and said, “You don’t want to know.”
Garlic, roasted in bacon fat is amazing. I generally do it in regular olive oil.
Peel a ton of garlic, leave the individual cloves whole. Put in an oven safe cooking vessel. I use a small individual size casserole dish. Fill with oil (or bacon fat) to almost cover. Sprinkle a bit of kosher salt over the top.
Place in a 350F oven until brown. (This usually takes me 60-90 minutes) You may need to rotate the cloves to get even browning. Store in a canning jar (or other container with lid) in the fridge until needed.
I use them on all sorts of things. Pasta, pizza, toast, etc…
I’ll also second the Biscuits & gravy. Either as the shortening, or the roux base, or both.
It’s great for frying fish from what I remember/hear… Makes some great cornmeal breaded and shallow fried, authentic Southern catfish, okra, eggplant, and green tomatoes.
Dip any of the above in a milk with beaten eggs eggwash and then press into and coat in a breading made with equal parts Wondra flour and Cornmeal, seasoned with salt pepper and a touch of cayenne. Fry till Golden Brown in about an inch of bacon grease inside of a cast Iron skillet.
You can make a really good warm vinaigrette with bacon grease. It has to be melted, of course, then whisk in fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar and some minced shallots. Also pepper, maybe a little salt too. It’s really good on a spinach or romaine salad with eggs, toasted almonds, tomatoes and some freshly grated parmesan. Yum. I think I just decided on dinner tonight.