Bacon Fat

By Jillian Bernardini - Feb 07, 2014 - 12:04 PM
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Some mornings, I open the cold cuts drawer in my refrigerator and discover that I am depleted of an egg's long life best friend: bacon. I don't require the pork protein everyday for breakfast, but it definitely takes a toll on my 6'4" boyfriend's well being for the remainder of his day. However, on this particular day, I recall a ramekin full of bacon fat that I saved from my last endeavor with the smoky swine strips.

There are numerous benefits that come from straining off the leftover liquid fat resulting from cooking bacon. When the fridge is missing those typical breakfast meats, frying an egg in a little bacon fat adds much more flavor than the usual tab of butter or drizzle of olive oil. Those crispy browned edges of a pan fried egg embody bacon's flavorful essence, making the mind almost forget that it's actually missing from the plate.

My favorite method for cooking bacon, with the end result of reserving that liquid, is placing the strips of uncooked bacon on a rack that sits on a rimmed baking sheet, and is placed under the broiler in the oven! For easier clean-up, I often line the baking sheet with tin foil to better catch all that rendered out fat.

This is also an ideal method for cooking bacon if you prefer extra crispy strips because the fat drips down through the rack, as opposed to the frying pan method and laying in its own fat on the stovetop. However, don't leave the bacon unattended as it cooks under the broiler because this method is relatively quick in cooking. For even browning, I prefer to use tongs and flip the bacon slices halfway through broiling, which also helps to drip off any excess fat onto the baking sheet.

bacon fat

Have some paper towels ready, and once the bacon cooked to the preferred level of crisp doneness, transfer the bacon to the paper towels with the tongs. Using a strainer or fine mesh sieve, place it over a heatproof bowl, and pour the liquid bacon fat through the strainer and into the bowl. Set the bacon fat aside to cool to room temperature, cover it with a tight fitting lid or tin foil, and store it in the refrigerator for about 6 months! 

Here are some of my favorite ways to cook with bacon fat:

  • Substitute bacon fat for olive oil or butter in the base of soup recipes.
  • Spread a small amount on biscuits, toast, or English muffins before toasting in the oven.
  • Cook eggs with a spoonful in a saute pan.
  • Use as the base of a homemade vinaigrette or dressing to add a smoky flavor to salads and vegetables.
  • Saute diced potatoes to make home fries.
  • Use a spoonful in making popcorn on the stove top.

Bacon fat is a frugal way to amplify the flavor in so many dishes and recipes that I'm telling you to start saving up this weekend! However, be sure to warn those vegetarian friends about this hidden "secret" ingredient that will be your new claim to culinary fame at the next soup potluck or brunch party.