Oh the wonders of Bacon Grease!!!
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.
Note: Keep in mind that bacon itself is a processed meat so it is important to limit or for some completely eliminate it in the diet. Some people have to avoid it all together. This post is strictly for informational purposes, and since none of us at southernplate.com are dieticians, doctors, or nutritionists we always encourage you to follow your health professionals guidance about what the best diet is for you.
The same goes for cooking with bacon grease. It’s probably not a great idea to use straight up bacon grease with every meal you make that needs oil. You could, if you are allowed to in your eating plan use it when you are sauteing vegetables or in baking and combine it with a dash of olive oil or coconut oil too. I’d love for you to chime in on the comments thread if you have other uses
Does Turkey Bacon Grease Work Just As Well As Regular Bacon?
With Turkey Bacon you will typically have less grease because there is less fat so though it works very well for the uses described below I often add a bit of olive oil or coconut oil when I am using it. Both bring some additionally great flavors.
What to Use Bacon Grease For…
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. Check out our Fried Turnip Greens here.
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 too. You can use a cheese cloth for draining or an unbleached coffee filter works too. 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.
Where To Store Bacon Grease?
Bacon grease is traditionally stored on the stovetop or next to the stove, but nowadays it’s recommended to store it in the refrigerator or freezer. 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. But now that we aren’t using it as often it’s best to store it safely in the fridge or freezer. 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!
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. It would be good in the fridge for up to 3 months.
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.
How Do You Know If Bacon Grease Has Gone Bad?
Has it changed color? Don’t trust it if it has. And keep in mind, blue, green, gray, or brown tinge in the fat definitely indicates rotten fat. Throw it away if you see any of that.
Smell: Does it smell different than bacon? If yes, don’t use it. Once it goes bad it can smell sour, fishy or a rotting like smell. Now that last one should be a dead giveaway. When in doubt, throw it out!
Texture: If you aren’t sure touch it with clean finger and if it’s slimy or sticky then just do not use it.
Mold: If stored well you probably won’t see this but if you do see any mold well then, say see ya later alligator.
Remember, when in doubt, throw it out!!
Also if you are looking for some more information about bacon and bacon grease check out this Healthline article here.
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