The shelf life of bacon grease

Does anyone know the actual shelf life of bacon grease, both refrigerated and left out on the counter next to the stove? Does straining or filtering have any effect?

Googling brings answers varying from 3 days to around 100 years, a variance which doesn’t give me a lot of confidence about their veracity. I was raised on products cooked in bacon grease of various ages, with no ill effects, but I don’t know if that’s normal or if I was a lucky individual.

PS - Yes, I’m fully aware of the health hazards of bacon grease even when freshly recovered from a slab of bacon, so consider this question to be for purely scientific purposes if you wish.

My parents (and to a lesser extent myself) had a can of bacon grease in the fridge for many years.

It can go rancid, and bugs can get at it if left out.

If kept in the 'fridge and covered more or less with plastic wrap I would tend more toward “100 years”.

If you create a tub of bacon grease that can’t be used up before it goes bad, then you are eating too much bacon. Good lord, I never thought I’d use that phrase, - Too much bacon -

Where my dad grew up (rural area in eastern Europe), he said it was pretty common to keep all the sausages etc. from a slaughtered pig in a barrel of the fat rendered from it. That is, they’d put a layer of fat in the barrel, then some sausage, then more fat and so on in layers until the barrel was full. The sausages were thus preserved in the fat. The fat would be scraped away as needed for cooking, and once you hit a layer of sausages you’d eat those too. I don’t know how big the barrels were, but he did say that they usually stored such things in a cool place like a root cellar, since they had no refrigeration (except for butter, which was kept in a bucket down in cold well water until needed). He claims the sausages and fat would last for some months.

Bacon grease will go rancid if left out too long. That means it will taste bad but still be perfectly okay to eat (well, as okay as bacon grease can be). If it starts tasting sour or musty, throw it out. Otherwise, it’s good to go. The amount of transfat may increase though if you repeatedly fry with it.

Mmmmmmm… french fries fried in bacon grease… now that’s a heart attack, and heaven all rolled into one! :cool:

Thanks for the reponses, but it just confuses me more as to why I find things like this that say it should be used in 2-3 days even if refrigerated. I’m sure we kept our can on the counter (for the uninitiated, bacon grease solidifies at room temperature), and I know for a fact it wasn’t emptied for months at least. It was frequently used, and shortening was added as needed (we treated it a lot like sourdough in that way), but at least some of the grease in the can was close to a year old at any given time.

It’s the internet, they’re talking out of their ass.

FWIW, my grandmother used bacon grease in almost everything she cooked. What she kept on the counter she used pretty quickly, but she stored extra bacon grease in the freezer, sometimes for years. None of her children died (of food poisoning, anyway).