It has come to my attention that not everyone saves and stores bacon drippings for later use in cooking. Unless you are bound by religious convictions or have a health issue that’s beyond the reach of modern medicine (in which case, what were doing cooking bacon in the first place?), you’re making a big mistake. A really big mistake. Bacon, of course, is delicious. We all can agree on that. Bacon grease — the term for the congealed drippings — adds a smoky, bacony flavor to all sorts of food. Eggs fried in bacon grease are even better than eggs fried in butter. Really. And potatoes fried in bacon grease put oil-fried potatoes to shame.* Bacon grease is great for browning meats for soups and stews, and you should never cook cornbread or grits without it.
An article in Garden and Gun offers seven ways to use bacon fat, including some that had never occurred to me, such as using some warmed bacon grease when making mayonnaise. But then, I believe that if God had wanted me to make my own mayonnaise, He never would have invented Hellmann’s.
And there’s another article in Garden and Gun on how to store bacon grease. Of course, being Garden and Gun, they advise buying a vintage grease can, but they also suggest a new Hamilton Beech model. When I was growing up, my mother used an old frozen orange juice can which she kept in the refrigerator. She put custard dishes in the freezer to save chicken fat, as I discovered once when I tried to sneak a dish of custard. These days, I use a repurposed lidded plastic container. I take care to let the drippings cool. Oh, and I don’t bother to strain the drippings, but then I don’t let it sit around that long.
*If you don’t save the drippings from roasted duck, please send them to me. Potatoes cooked in duck fat are beyond wonderful.
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