I share why bacon grease is GOLD along with the best ways to use it to take many foods and recipes to a whole new level of deliciousness!!!
Why bacon grease is gold.
Most avid cooks know that bacon grease is gold. It seasons food like nothing else, and it makes cooking “Southern-style” a piece of cake. It is not something that you can run to the store and purchase (like shortening). This is why saving bacon grease is so important. It is easy, and it pays huge dividends in the kitchen!
Is bacon grease bad for you?
Bacon fat is higher in monounsaturated fat (the good fat) than butter. Unlike margarine, bacon grease does NOT contain trans fat (aka “bad fat”). A comparison between a tablespoon of bacon grease, butter, and canola oil is quite interesting. Bacon grease has slightly less cholesterol than butter and only 2 more milligrams of saturated fat. It has the same number of calories as the oil, but more saturated fat and sodium.
Tips for cooking bacon and saving the grease.
- Use your largest baking sheet (I use this extra-large USA ) to cook all the bacon at once. Place one large or two smaller cooking grids (these are an excellent choice ) onto the baking sheet. The bacon will cook evenly and grease will fall onto the pan (and bacon won’t be swimming in grease).
- Line the baking sheet with heavy-duty foil before placing baking grids on the sheet. This will make clean-up way easier.
- I cook most of my bacon in a 400-degree oven. If you are cooking thick-cut bacon, a lower oven temperature works better. I cook thick-cut and uneven bacon at 350 degrees.
- I like to check my bacon after 10–15 minutes of baking. When it’s close to being done, I start checking it every few minutes. Bacon can burn very quickly once it is to the “almost done” stage.
- It works best if you pour the grease out of the pan while it’s still warm. If you’re using a plastic container to hold the grease, make sure to wait until it cools a bit, otherwise, it will warp or melt the plastic.
- If you like, you can flip your bacon halfway through the cooking time and rotate the pan so that it will cook more evenly. Most ovens have hot spots and are also hotter in the back, so this might help make baking more uniform.
How to make your own pre-cooked bacon.
If you want to have bacon (and bacon grease) readily available, consider making your own precooked bacon. In this short video below, I share how to make pre-cooked bacon in the oven to avoid having to make it before guests arrive. After all, even those of us who love bacon are not fans of the lingering smell after cooking it.
How to store bacon grease.
Once bacon grease is poured into a bowl, strain it to remove any burnt bacon particles. Pour grease into a glass or heatproof container. Strain if needed to remove bits. Cover and keep in the fridge.
How to dispose of bacon grease.
Pouring bacon grease or any cooking oil down the sink drain can cause major plumbing problems that can affect the entire sewer system in a home. Not only can grease cause backups and clogs, but it builds up over time and coat pipes. The best way to dispose of bacon grease is to let it solidify. Then put the solid fat in a container that won’t leak if the grease melts. Below are several options for disposable grease storage bags.
Some of the best ways to use bacon grease.
- Southern-style peas. I love to saute chopped onion in a bit of bacon grease for Southern-style peas or beans. Here’s how I make peas in the Instant Pot. I share another recipe for perfect lack-eyed peas in this blog post.
- Green beans. I can’t imagine green beans without bacon and/or bacon grease. Here how I use them in my recipe for Mississippi Green Beans.
- Pancakes or waffles. Bacon and maple syrup are a winning flavor combo. You can either stir a tablespoon or two of liquid bacon fat into your pancake batter or add a bit of bacon grease to soft butter to make a spreadable bacon-flavored butter.
- Cornbread, biscuits, pie crust. Bacon grease adds flavor to bread that just can’t be imparted through shortening or other oils. Cornbread is especially next-level if bacon grease is added.
- Gravy. Use a mixture of bacon and butter instead of ordinary butter for making biscuit dough.
- Salad dressing: Spinach salad if often served with a warm bacon vinaigrette made of apple or red wine vinegar and bacon grease. The vinaigrette is best made with warm bacon fat; otherwise, it might turn solid and ruin.
- Skillet potatoes or hash browns. Savory breakfast potatoes or hash browns can be sauteed using bacon grease instead of butter or oil. I always reach for bacon grease to make breakfast potatoes taste richer and smokier.
- Greens (collards, turnips, or mustard). Use a smidge of bacon grease to cook fabulous Southern greens. Here’s my Instant Pot greens recipe; here is my stovetop version.
- Steak or burgers. If you fry up a burger on the stovetop or make a skillet sizzling steak, bacon fat is one of the best fats to use for flavor.
- Bacon & eggs. Bacon and eggs are a perfect flavor duo. Make your bacon first, and use the leftover grease to cook the eggs. YUM!!!
- Steamed or roasted veggies: Before you roast or grill veggies, try tossing them in melted bacon fat instead of EVOO.
- Season cast iron. After you wash your cast iron, dry it well with a clean cloth. While the pan is warm, add a touch of bacon grease and rub it in with a paper towel to keep the skillet smooth and seasoned.
- Mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash. Bacon grease can add richness to mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash. A little dab will go a long way.
I hope this post has been helpful to you as you cook bacon, save the grease, and use it to make food taste next-level delicious!!! As always, feel free to leave comments or share your own tips below. I am so grateful to you for stopping by. Wishing you a joyful, blessed, and savvy day!!!