Recipe Time: Julie Rokala’s Bacon Grease Salad Dressing

I re-introduced everyone to Julie Rokala in opening her guest post on Wright’s Barbecue, and mentioned how much I liked the bacon grease salad dressing for the salad she brought to our Memorial Day celebration last year. It was a big hit.

Julie’s salad isn’t shown. I just like the picture. The use of bacon grease in salad dressing piqued a lot of interest, as well as requests for the recipe. Julie graciously agreed to share it, and here it is.

Cook 1 lb bacon, reserve bacon grease, keeping it in the pan in which you prepared the bacon.  
Remove bacon – set aside
Add the following to the warm (not hot) pan with bacon grease:
3/4 C White Vinegar
1/2 C Sugar
Whisk to combine
Salt and Pepper to taste

**Crumble bacon on salad.  

**Salad dressing can be saved and warmed for future use.  Sometimes I halve this recipe for a smaller salad.

I don’t have to tell you that you cook the bacon in a cast iron pan, do I? Good. Now, I would go ahead and eat some of the reserved bacon. It’s right there, throwing out alluring glances, and a whole pound of bacon is a lot to put on a salad, especially bacon that’s metaphorically batting its eyelashes at you.

This dressing is usually used over spinach, and counters the astringency of the spinach. It goes with any greens, however. Sometimes people add some Dijon mustard or, better, some chopped red onion. You also can go crazy and add some just-scrambled eggs divided into strips — eggs that were lightly scrambled in the film of bacon grease left in the pan — and toss them into the salad. That’s an idea I got from Frank Stitt, who the James Beard folks decided runs the best restaurant in the United States, the Highland Grill in Birmingham.

If you ever, ever have any bacon grease left over, be sure to save it — just pour it out of that cast iron pan. Bacon grease has a host of wonderful uses discussed here and at the included links. There is also advice on storage. Revel in its possibilities. Remember, a bacon’s grease is a terrible thing to waste.


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14 thoughts on “Recipe Time: Julie Rokala’s Bacon Grease Salad Dressing

  1. I would be remiss in not acknowledging that this is a family recipe. The true author of this recipe is my Mom, Laura Eddy! All three of her daughters consider this a champion among her many homemade salad dressings! As always – John Tanner nails a recipe post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John, sounds delicious. I’ve made versions of this for years and will give this a go. For the cast iron pan: are you just a big fan (as am I!)? Or is there something important to impart here except the mess? For decades, I’ve been sparing myself the splatter and clean up by lining a sided-sheet pan with foil and baking off the whole pound at 350 degrees til down. You still get to harvest the oil so no loss there and it doesn’t require you to keep an eye on it. Thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve had an older relative do something similar and pour the hot grease dressing over lettuce leaves, romaine is best, and wilt them. Artery clogging, good! Also, my mother would pour the hot bacon grease over boiled potato cubes when making Potato Salad, and please no sugar or mustard, but do add the crumbled bacon!

    Liked by 1 person

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