Tuesday, February 24, 2015

6 Delicious Uses for Bacon Grease

There is a ramekin of bacon grease sitting by my stove. It's steadily getting fuller and fuller, and I have no idea what to do with it.

"Why save it, then?" you might ask. I save bacon grease for two main reasons:

  1. I've been watching cooks do it my entire life, so I just thought it was the thing to do.
  2. A ceramic ramekin is a much better place for hot bacon grease than the garbage or *shudder* the dish drain, so why not? 
Doesn't look very appetizing, does it?

It's pretty full at this point, I figure it's finally time to figure out what to do with this gooey-bacony white stuff. A quick search found plenty of suggestions. Essentially you can use it as bacon-flavor concentrate or wherever you would use shortening or lard.  Who knew?

Here are my favorite suggestions:

  1. Sauteing vegetables/onion/garlic/whatever: Want to add a little extra kick to your sauteed veggies? Use a little bacon fat in place of whatever oil you normally use to add a little bacon-y goodness. Let's face it, who can resist the smell of bacon and onions?? 
  2.  Cornbread: Use bacon grease instead of shortening in your cornbread for a little bacon-infused goodness. 
  3. Pancakes/Waffles: Same as the cornbread. Use bacon grease instead of butter or oil in your pancake or waffle mix. Trust me on this one. It's fabulous! 
  4. Popcorn: Pop your popcorn on the stove? (If you don't, you should really give it a try. Quick, easy, and so much better and cheaper than the microwave variety!) Try a little bacon grease instead of oil in your pan to give it a little extra flavor. 
  5. Gravy: Oh, good gravy! Ask any Southern cook: If you want to make real white gravy, it must, MUST contain bacon grease. Check out this recipe from Uncle Jerry's Kitchen.
  6. Vegetable Cream Sauce: I personally haven't tried this one, but I've read and heard from multiple sources that a little melted bacon grease mixed with cream cheese makes a fantastic vegetable sauce. Definitely going to have to check that one out!

Two Bonus Non-Cooking Uses:

  1. Cast-iron seasoning: Bacon grease does a fantastic job maintaining the patina on cast-iron cookware. Check out this post from An Oregon Cottage.  
  2. Drizzle a little melted bacon fat over your dog's next meal to add a little flavor to Fido's dinner. It's also known to keep a shiny coat, and it can promote regularity. (So make sure not to overdo it!)
So, there you have it! Six cooking uses and two non-cooking uses for bacon grease. If you don't save your grease already, hopefully now you have eight good reasons to do so. With so many delicious ways to use it, I might have to cook more bacon!

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