Bacon drippings are rendered fats that have long served as an inexpensive substitute for butter, margarine, tallow and lard for cooks. Bacon grease increases flavor to various dishes, including sauteed vegetables, scrambled eggs, meat and salad dressing. Southern cooks add drippings to home-style dishes, such as gravies, potato salads, cornbread, rice, and greens (collard, mustard and turnips) because of the rich, smoky flavor of the cured meat. Bacon grease also adds fat to lean meats, such as chicken. You get drippings from the grease that accumulates in a pan after frying a batch of bacon, which you store for later use.
Things You'll Need
- Frying pan
- Paper towels
- Glass or plastic containers
- Coffee canister
- Soup cans
- Plastic wrap
Remove your bacon from the pan and cover it with lid until you are ready to make your drippings. The lid keeps some of the heat in the pan and prevents debris from getting into your bacon grease.
Cool the grease in the pan after cooking bacon. You want the bacon grease cold enough so as not to damage glass or plastic containers. It starts developing a cloudy fill when it's temperature decreases. If grease becomes too cold, it solidifies and you need to melt it on a stove top or in the microwave oven until it liquefies.
Strain out any leftover pieces of bacon out of the liquid. Place a cheesecloth or heavy duty paper towel over a bowl or line a cooking sieve with a cheesecloth or paper towel. The cheesecloth and paper towel lining prevents small pieces from getting into your bacon drippings.
Pour bacon dripping into storage containers. Plastic and glass containers with lids will hold bacon grease and keep it from absorbing the odors of other foods. Glass, though, is easier to clean and the containers are reusable. Bacon grease leaves a film on plastic containers, making them useless to store other foods. Coffee canisters and soup cans covered with plastic wrap also work as storage containers.
Store bacon drippings in the refrigerator or freezer. It lasts for approximately one month in the refrigerator. Write the date you stored your drippings if you plan to freeze it. Bacon grease lasts a year or more when frozen. Thaw rendered fat as needed.
Tips & Warnings
- Bacon drippings are high in fat but low in sodium. When rendered fat solidifies after getting rid of excess bits, make them into little serving size balls before freezing and put them in freezer bags. Flatten solidified fat and cut into serving-size squares before freezing.
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