Animal fat is an important source of calories, but it is not just a calorie fat bomb. Fat is also highly nutritious; it is where a lot of the vitamins and minerals are stored.
Did you know that a lot of the essential vitamins people need are fat soluble, meaning that your body cannot absorb the vitamins if they do not come within fat.
It is the real reason why you are recommended to take multivitamins along with a meal.
Whether you are just a person living a 9-5 life, a homesteader, survivalist, or prepper… I think you should always be looking to minimise waste.
Meat generally comes along with a source of fat; some cuts are more noticeable than others. Ribeye Steaks and Bacon have noticeable amounts of fat attached to the meat.
When you cook these cuts of meat, the cooking process renders down the fat, and if you cooked the meat in a pan you are going to be left with liquid fat.
A lot of people will discard this fat, some people are just consumers and don’t think about how much waste they are causing.
However, some people discard this fat because they fear it, as they have been told for decades to eat low fat diets.
Yet, even with that advice westernised countries are as fat and as weak as ever before. I personally think sugar, and industrialised seed oils are a bigger health problem than fat.
We have been eating animal fats for a very long time, they are natural foods, whereas sugar and seed oils like Canola Oil have only been around a relatively short amount of time, yet they now make up a large proportion of a lot of people’s calorie consumption.
If I can’t make it, then I don’t eat it, I cannot make Canola Oil because it involves a highly industrialised and unnatural process… so I don’t eat it.
Making bacon grease is so easy.
All you need is a pan, some bacon, and a mason jar (or any airtight container).
Cook the bacon you are intending to eat. The lower and slower you cook the bacon, the more time the fat has to render, and you will get a bigger supply of bacon fat. Then pour the fat through a sieve and into the mason jar.
There is a practical reason for sieving the fat, as you can store it for longer. Which means there is less chance of waste. It also tastes and looks better in my opinion, especially if you have burnt some of the meat in the cooking process.
I see so many people pour bacon fat and other animal fats down the drain. Not only is this a waste of food, yes, fat is food! It is also a blockage waiting to happen.
As animal fat cools, it hardens into a solid mass, if it hardens whilst in your drainage system, then you could have a problem.
If you keep the grease in a mason jar like I said, then you can just leave it out on the kitchen counter and upwards of 2 weeks. As with most things, keep it out of direct sunlight.
It can easily last 6 months in a fridge before going rancid. People even say it can last upwards of a year, but there is no way bacon grease would last that long in my household without being eaten.
You can even freeze bacon grease, and it will be good for a few years. We always have some in ice cube trays, which is a great way of reducing the clutter on your kitchen counter but also maintaining a method of cooking different foods.
I simply heat up a cast iron skillet, drop a frozen bacon grease cube on the pan, it quickly melts, then I cook some eggs… perfect!
Note these times are with strained bacon grease, the shelf life is shorter if you leave the bits in.
Mainly I am going to tell you how to take your food recipes to the next level with bacon grease, but I am also going to give you a few curve balls on how to use bacon fat for other purposes around the home.
Let’s have a look at how versatile bacon grease is:
I am a huge fan of homemade mayonnaise, made with ingredients from my homestead. It is so much nicer than shop bought mayonnaise. But do you know what is better than homemade mayonnaise? Yep, homemade Baconnaise.
Whatever recipe you use to make your own mayonnaise, simply replace the parts of the recipe that says oil, with the liquid form of bacon grease.
It is very simple to make and is a great additional taste boost over standard mayonnaise. I especially like it on homemade chicken burgers. Yum yum.
My only other tip is to make sure the bacon grease has no bits in it, so that you end up with a nice and smooth baconnaise.
I do love a baked/jacket potato.
What I do is I rub a potato in the solid bacon grease, and pierce with a fork a few times. I then put it in an oven on a medium heat for a couple of hours and it results in a really crispy skin but with a soft and fluffy centre.
I cut the potato open, stick some more bacon grease on the top and eat. Delicious!
When I make homemade burgers, I always use bacon grease to cook them in, as it enhances the flavour of the meat and adds a bit of salty taste.
I finely chop some red onions and add it to the ground beef with a couple of egg yolks. I mix it all together and make burger patties with a burger press.
Then I get some bacon grease out of the freezer and cook the burgers in a cast iron pan. Then I put the cooked patties in a bun with some lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced cheese, and finally a dash of BBQ sauce. Unbelievably good!
I almost exclusively use cast iron cooking equipment, and my trusty skillet gets the most hammering.
Cast iron needs a bit of maintenance, as it needs seasoning to keep it rust free and non-stick.
When you have finished cooking, remove all the debris with warm water (never soapy water), then dry with kitchen towel.
Dip another piece of dry kitchen towel in the bacon grease and rub the entire cooking surface of the cast iron pan with some bacon grease.
Then stick it in a hot oven or over a roaring fire for a couple of hours. Wipe down and excess grease with more kitchen towel and you have a well-seasoned cast iron pan.
This is a great option for if you have left over rice from a previous meal. I don’t know about you, but I always cook too much rice.
This isn’t a big deal as rice is cheap, and you can just throw any leftovers on the compost heap. However, this is a little wasteful in my opinion, so I will sometimes save the rice and have egg fried rice for my next meal.
All I do is put some bacon grease in a skillet, and heat it up, then I fry some spring onions, and add some frozen peas, then I add the rice and heat everything so that the rice is thoroughly warmed through.
Then I take the skillet off the heat and stir through 2 whisked eggs. Then serve.
This is a quick and easy use for left over rice and bacon grease.
You should be well versed in multiple ways in which to start a fire so you can be adaptable to various situations.
One such method is to use a cotton bud and Vaseline as a primer. This is especially useful if you do not have a supply of perfectly dry wood at hand.
Cotton buds are easy to light but only last a few seconds, but if you rub them in petroleum jelly they will burn for minutes. This enables you to get a good flame going, and get that fire started even in unfavourable conditions.
Well guess what, bacon grease does exactly the same job. So, if you are on a wild camp, instead of having to carry a tub of oil for cooking and a tub of Vaseline for fire-starting… why not just carry one tub of bacon grease?
Does it sound crazy to you to use bacon grease as a lip balm? Well, most shop bought lip balms are based around petroleum jelly, a derivative of crude oil. Is in not in fact crazy to cover your lips in crude oil!
Ladies will be surprised at how good their lips look after using bacon grease, and for men who might think lip balms aren’t very manly… well is there anything more manly than walking around with bacon grease on your lips?
When I am winter wild camping in the mountains, I take bacon grease with me in a little metal tin.
I find that is gives excellent protection to my lips from the elements. My lips are often in better health when I get back, than they were when I set off!
If you are a fan of salted popcorn like me, then you have got to try making it with bacon grease.
Just be careful, as you will need less salt than normal. If you want to take bacon popcorn to an even higher level, then sprinkle some grated parmesan on it afterwards. It works, trust me.
To make the popcorn, you will need a large pan with a lid. Heat up some bacon grease, pop the kernels into the pan, give it a stir so all the kernels are covered in the bacon fat, and cook with the lid on until they have all popped.
Then sprinkle with the cheese and serve.
A lovely option for a cold winter night, whilst watching a movie with the family.
Most people roast vegetables with vegetable oil, peanut oil, or olive oil. You are missing a trick; bacon grease is far superior.
It adds a bacon tint to the flavour of the vegetables, and salt from the bacon grease enhances the flavour of the vegetables themselves.
All you need to do it chop up whatever vegetables you want to use, warm up some bacon grease so it turns into its liquid form, then pour the bacon grease over the vegetables, then pop them into the oven until cooked.
You can roast all vegetables really, but I think hard root vegetables work the best… things like potatoes, carrots, turnips etc.
Soap is basically a fat or oil, mixed with a lye water solution… plus optional essential oils for different smells.
It is really easy to make and is a great option if you think you have way more bacon grease than you can use for cooking, which is never a problem for me.
You are best checking out a proper soap recipe, as you need to work out the exact amount of lye you will need, as that is what turns the fat into soap.
You should definitely use “clean” bacon grease to make soap as you don’t want lumps of crispy bacon in it. Well, you might actually, as you could sell it as some sort of posh exfoliating soap!
For cooking purposes, anytime you would use butter, lard, coconut oil, olive oil, or vegetable oil then you can use bacon grease. It is a really tasty and versatile fat in my opinion.
Not only is it a healthy and tasty way to cook, but it can also be used for a load of other things too.
Using the whole animal for various reasons other than food is becoming a bit of a lost art but not wasting the bacon grease is a good a place to start as any.
I am a meat eater, but I respect the animal that has been killed to provide me with nutrition. Therefore, I do not like to waste anything, and reusing bacon grease is an important step in that philosophy.