Southerners are known for our love of bacon grease and the zeal with which we save this “Liquid gold” but I’ve found that a lot of folks are saving bacon grease without really knowing what to do with it so I decided to write this post in hopes of giving you some ideas and letting you know how it was used in days gone by – and can still be used today.
I’d love for you to chime in on the comments thread if you have other uses not listed here and I’ll come back and add them in with credit to you of course!
Interesting facts about Bacon Grease
*Bacon grease is one of the most flavorful oils.
*Bacon grease is used as an all purpose flavoring as well as a base for many recipes.
*One teaspoon has 38 calories.
*It’s Green! By reusing Bacon Grease, you save money, avoid waste by not using store bought oil when you don’t need it, and have more flavorful results than by using other cooking oils.
*I did a series of posts entitled “Oh My Bacon Grease!” when my husband threw an ENTIRE jar of bacon grease away. I posted recipes using bacon and replenished my stash by week’s end.
How To Use Bacon Grease
Substitution For Oils In Recipes And In Frying – Bacon Grease can be used in place of oils in recipes and in frying.
Greasing Muffin Tins or Cast Iron Skillets for breads – Before you put your cornbread or hoe cake batter in that skillet, grease it with a little solidified bacon grease. To make this mess free, fold a paper towel in fourths and cover your index and middle finger with it. Dip your covered fingers into the bacon grease and wipe the inside of your skillet. Toss paper towel away when done.
Make Milk Gravy – Milk gravy begins with a base of two tablespoons bacon grease. Heat them in a large skillet, add two or three tablespoons of flour and cook until flour is browned. Slowly add milk while stirring constantly and continue cooking until gravy is thickened over medium heat. For photos on making gravy, click here.
Cornbread – Many cornbread recipes call for a tablespoon or so of melted bacon grease added to the batter for extra flavor. This makes such a big difference that it’s worth it to save your baking grease for cornbread alone! Click here for my recipe.
Seasoning Dried Beans – Traditional beans are seasoned with a ham bone or bits of ham to add flavor. If you find yourself without any of these, just add two or three tablespoons of bacon grease to the cooking water and they’ll taste just as good. Click here for my recipe.
Fried Corn- Fried corn is often called Creamed Corn. No matter what you call it, adding a tablespoon of bacon grease makes it better than ever! Click here for my recipe.
Green Beans – Whether they’re from the can, garden, or freezer, green beans taste just like Grandma’s when you add a tablespoon of bacon grease! Click here for my recipe.
Any Other Vegetable You Can Think Of! – Just about any type of vegetable can be made better with 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of bacon grease added while cooking. Try it with cabbage, greens, I’ve even seen folks fry green tomatoes in it!
Wilted Greens – Fry up some bacon and set it aside. Pour a little bit of the hot grease over fresh dark greens and then top with crumbled bacon for a wilted lettuce salad like we had in the old days.
Frying Eggs – I really and truly will not make fried eggs without bacon grease. I place a tablespoon or so in my skillet and let it melt, then fry my eggs in it.
Delicious oven fries – Spread some bacon grease into the bottom of a jelly roll pan. Cut potatoes into long wedges with the skin still on them and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place on top of the bacon grease and put in a 400 degree oven until browned, about 45 minutes to an hour. Turn every fifteen minutes to get evenly browned and allow the bottoms to oven fry in that delicious grease.
These are just SOME of the countless uses for bacon grease and I’d love to hear more ideas fro you in the comments section at the bottom of this post!
How to store bacon grease:
Allow to cool slightly and then pour into a container. It is important to have one specific container for just bacon grease and make sure not to put any other type of grease in it. Many people strain theirs but my mother and I don’t. I enjoy all those little yummy bits of bacon and since I store mine in the fridge or freezer, they’re fine in there.
My grandmother always kept a metal soup can on the back of her stove with her grease in it.
Counter Top or Refrigerator?
Bacon grease is traditionally stored on the stovetop or next to the stove, but nowadays we don’t use it nearly as often as folks used to so it is best to store it in the refrigerator. If left on the counter indefinitely, bacon grease will go rancid. This used to not be a problem because it was used and replenished so often back in the old days. If bacon grease goes rancid, you WILL know it and you will Not want to use it. The refrigerator guards against this and your bacon grease will last for months and months and months!
Having said that – If you prefer to keep your bacon grease on the counter, more power to ya! Your kitchen = your rules.
Another bonus to storing bacon grease in the fridge: Room temp bacon grease remains a little on the liquid side. Refrigerated bacon grease solidifies and becomes the consistency of shortening, making it super easy to measure and scoop out whatever you need for recipes.
Did you know that you can freeze bacon grease?
Every now and then a jar will fill up and I just seal it and put it in the freezer. Then, I start another jar in the fridge. It never hurts to have extra 🙂 Bacon Grease can last indefinitely in the freezer if sealed well.
Interesting Bacon Grease History
During WWII, Housewives were encouraged to save their bacon grease and turn it in to help with the war effort. Disney even got on board with a propaganda movie to help promote this. You’ll notice Minnie about to pour the bacon grease over the dog food – many people still swear by this. I wouldn’t reccommend a whole skiletful but a tablespoon or so is said to help give them a shiny coat. It is also neat to note that in the film the government suggested keeping bacon grease in the refrigerator to keep it from going rancid, as we discussed above. This wouldn’t have been a problem if it was being used every day, but since it was being stored up for a longer period of time, it was needed, much like we store it today.
Photo Gallery of YOUR Grease Jars!
I asked if anyone would like to send me photos of their grease jars from home and WOW, what an exciting response! I’ve spent about two hours going through them and uploading them to this post. More keep pouring in so I’ll try to add more as time allows later. Thank you so much! I have really enjoyed getting to see these and hope you will too!
Okay so I’m going to start with two of my photos and then I’ll move on to the ones y’all were so kind to send.
This is an example of a range set from the 1930’s – 1950’s. The center piece is the grease jar, but I use it for a salt crock because it is too rare for me to be pouring hot grease into it when I can just as easily use a mason jar. The salt and pepper shaker beside it are reproductions, and not very good reproductions at that, but I don’t have the originals and I wanted to show you what a typical range set looked like.
This is my current grease jar. I have more in the freezer 🙂
Now on to yours!! I loved getting to see all of these and know you will, too!
When it comes to storing up bacon grease, Becky Young doesn’t play around!
Alicia from gatewaytosaving.com keeps it simple in a half pint canning jar. Notice all those yummy bits!
Amanda Kornegay is another canning jar gal 🙂 See that fresh layer on top?
Angie Blake uses an old jelly jar
See how we recycle? 🙂
Angie Gilchrist has an old spaghetti sauce jar plum full!
…and now we know that Beth Hamilton uses the same spaghetti sauce as Angie Gilchrist 🙂 I love her list behind the mixer!
Kat Norman’s used to belong to her grandmother.
This is my Mama’s grease jar. it is designed for a soup can to fit inside to hold the grease.
Brenda Parker with her red lid topped Ball canning jar
Carolyn Berryhill has a vintage model with a convenient pouring spout!
Charlene Pinke keeps it simple with a coffee cup
As does Cynthia Brandon. Nothing like using what you have on hand and what works!
Jenny Hester uses an old pickle jar
Jenn Preble looks to be using a spaghetti sauce jar as well.
I’m with y’all, I just hate to throw those things away because they’re such good jars!
Heather Dedeaux has a handy dandy bowl to scoop out of
Ginger Grayson looks to be using an old Cheez Whiz jar (perhaps) but I love the short fat size of it and wide mouth opening for scooping!
Donna Gordon has one of the vintage grease cannisters
Dianne Ledet doubles up!
Debbie has another vintage grease pot with a spout and strainer
Jill S has a nice jar of refrigerated bacon grease with a lovely scoop missing that likely made a yummy breakfast!
Rowena Giddings and her well used jar.
Some good cookin’ going on in that kitchen…
Ross Jordan has a cute jar with a reminder from whence it came… 😉
Rose Daily has a beautiful little ceramic container.
Renee HS Calls hers the “Bacon Bliss Bowl”
I love this container Paula Papen!
Melissa Jensen keeps hers in gladware containers – and I LOVE how she has two of them! One filled up and she kept on going! lol
Lisa V shows us the inside of her fridge, with the bacon grease center stage!
I’ve often thought about photographing the inside of my fridge and showing y’all but I’m afraid it would cause nightmares for all of the neat and organized folks…
Laura Morris with another fridge shot. Hey! I have that same salad dressing! 🙂
Laura Bailey’s jar looks kinda like a candle 🙂
You can actually use bacon grease to make candles ….or you can fry your veggies in it. I’d choose my stomach any day. You can buy candles 🙂
Kathy Malphrus posed her big old jar of grease right next to some actual bacon! Now that is a sight for sore eyes!
Sandy Rooks has a pretty stainless grease pot
How could you not love Tom Miller’s “Bacon Butter” pitcher?
Tinnah N Has another well used recycled jar. Way to go, Tinnah!
Teresa Leonard has several jars proudly posing behind some fresh bacon 🙂
I buy those big old packages, too!
Stephanie Carlton has some good looking solid grease in there!
I have MANY more pictures to post but have to get some other work done first so check back later for more of your pics!
Be sure and tell me how you use bacon grease in the comments section below!
“If it can’t be fried in bacon grease, it ain’t worth cooking, let alone eating.”
~ Southern proverb