Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bacon Grease

Yes.  You all read that right, and you all love it, and you all want to save it and cook with it, but someone SOMEwhere told you that it's bad for you.  It'll clog your arteries!  It'll make you fat!  It's so greasy!

Too bad for them.  Bacon grease is glorious stuff to be saved and savored and used up.

All fat that is both natural and minimally processed or refined is GOOD for us.  Butter, cold-pressed olive oil, properly-rendered lard, virgin coconut oil, beef and chicken fat.  Animals that eat what they were designed to eat produce fat that we were designed to eat.  I know I've harped on that before, so I'll leave it alone for just now.

I buy bacon that is free from nitrates/nitrites and monosodium glutamate.  Often, it will be labeled "uncured" and this is your friend!  If you can find bacon made from small farmers who raise happy pigs, even better.  Please read the label and the ingredients list.  It should have not much more than pork, salt, sugar, lactic acid starter culture. 

Cook up your bacon for Saturday breakfast, or loaded baked potatoes, or BLT's, and then save the grease!  If you cook your bacon in a pan on the stove, just let the fat cool a bit and pour it into a pint-sized, wide-mouth glass canning jar.  I don't strain mine because a few of those tiny bacon shreds add plenty of flavor, but you can strain yours if you like it smooth.  Keep your jar in the refrigerator until you need to use it.

What on earth would you use it for?

Sigh.  Perfectly fried eggs, for starters.  Use it just like you would butter in the bottom of your NON non-stick pan.  Cast iron pans are the choice of the Sassy family.  A couple of teaspoons in the pan, heated to medium, with an egg or two or three cracked in there, salted and peppered, sunny-side or over easy - it really and truly is the best fried egg you'll ever eat.

Use it for scrambled eggs and omelettes, too!

When I make pinto beans, I soak and cook up a big batch.  Some are used whole in various things, but I like to leave out a couple of cups for refried beans.  3 tablespoons of bacon grease go into a skillet, add the cooked pinto beans, and mash and cook away.  Some of the bean liquid is nice if the mixture seems dry.  Season it up and add it to taco meat, use it as a dip, or anything else you can think of.

Some sausages are lower in fat these days, and a bit of bacon grease in the pan helps them to saute nicely without sticking.  Making chili?  Saute your onions, garlic and peppers in bacon grease before you add the tomatoes and such to the recipe.  A bit of liquified bacon grease added to pancake batter makes REALLY good pancakes!  Next time you're making fried potatoes, use bacon grease in place of butter or oil, and your family will rise up and call you blessed.  Hamburgers, meatloaf, and meatballs are all yummy with the addition of a tablespoon or so of bacon grease.

Saving bacon grease is tasty, healthy and economical.  A pint jar is 2 cups, right?  2 cups of butter is a full pound, right?  A pound of good butter can cost $4-5 (organic, small farm).  A few packages of cooked bacon will easily yield a pint of grease.  And it will last for a long time in your refrigerator.  It costs you nothing.

Start the cycle the next time you cook bacon.  You'll be so glad you did!

5 comments:

  1. Bless you.

    I just started saving it again in the heavy old (mini)crock my mom used for the same task. Was only using it for eggs...not any more! ♥

    Yooper

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  2. YAY for bacon and it's grease!

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  3. I've actually been thinking about doing this for a while... I think about a lot of things I never get around to doing. I'm for sure going to do this.

    My old Mexican Granny keeps her cast iron skillet with grease in the cabinet. She just pulls it out and cooks in it. That's old school but for the last 70 years no one has been sick from it, at least not that I know of. Her breakfasts are the best!

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  4. Ever since I read Julia Child's cookbook, I've added a TBSP of bacon grease to my hamburger mixture! Mmmmmm....good burgers!
    ~J

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  5. You just destroyed my love for insta-nuke bacon from a box!
    - Christine Gibson <3

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