Bacon is a fabulous food that practically everyone except vegetarians adores. But when you cook it, unless you microwave it, the meat produces a lot of fat. While most people look at a pan of bacon grease and see an oily mess, the best chefs know there's a world of culinary uses for that fat. Cooking with bacon grease certainly isn't the healthiest option, but it sure is tasty.
Cooking With Bacon Grease
Bacon grease can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. You can use it to make authentic gingersnap cookies or the classic Southern recipe of turnip greens with bacon drippings. Or you can use it to make wilted spinach salad, which I think is delicious. Use it the next time you fry vegetables to give them a nice bacon flavor. Any recipe which calls for lard or shortening can usually be substituted with bacon grease.
To store your bacon grease for cooking it's best to strain the oil into a sealable container like a plastic Tupperware or a recycled glass jar. Make sure you keep just the oil, not any remnants of breakfast; if you don't have a strainer or cheesecloth lying around try straining the oil with a paper towel. After straining, cover the container and store it in the freezer. This not only keeps the grease fresher it will become hard and easier to cook with. In the freezer, bacon grease will last over a month. You can add new grease to your container each time decide to fry up some bacon. This grease can become rancid over time so always do a sniff test before using. If it has a rancid or bad smell, it has probably spoiled.
Discarding Bacon Grease
Bacon grease will harden when it cools. The easiest cleanup is to allow the fat to harden and then use a paper towel or rubber spatula to knock it into the trash. If you don't want to wait for it to cool naturally, there is a quick clean up method you can try. Line a small cup with heavy-duty foil. Carefully pour the bacon fat into the cup while the fat is hot and place it in the freezer. When the bacon fat is frozen, you can save it for recipes or fry food with it. Or simply throw it away by folding the foil around the solidified fat and discarding it in the trash.
Never pour hot bacon fat down the drain, even if you have a garbage disposal. As it cools, it will harden and clog the pipes. Running water isn't enough to dislodge this grease. Bacon fat, like the fat of other animals, can also turn rancid which is not a smell you want emanating from your kitchen sink. You should also never use any type of meat or meat product in compost because the meat could contain pathogens that the compost may not be hot enough to kill. Composting with meat can also attract predatory animals which can pose a danger to small children and house pets.