Some late night experiences leave you with regrets. And some, it seems, leave you with an abundance of bacon drippings. A friend and I have taken up the habit of making a bacon snack around midnight.
We have a fondness for bacon from Caw Caw Creek. And every bit as good as the bacon is the fat that’s rendered when we cook it.
For a while now, I’ve been experimenting with ways to use all those tasty bacon drippings–something beyond the way my mother uses them to season vegetables and for pan frying. When we were kids, my sisters used bacon drippings instead of Hawaiian Tropic at the beach one day. As people walked by, they’d say things like, “Does it smell like breakfast out here to you?” In more recent times, I’ve saturated newspaper with bacon grease and used it to start my charcoal grill.
But I knew that was a waste of awesome flavor, so I started to wonder how I might use bacon grease for deep frying or in baked goods in place of lard.
The frying is a cinch: try making sweet potato fries in bacon grease and you’ll never want them any other way. Potato chips and fries in a blend of bacon grease and peanut oil work out great too.
The baking took a little trial and error. To be successful, you’ve got to make sure your bacon drippings are thoroughly chilled.
It all came together for me when I started freezing creamy bacon fat in some little aluminum molds I had. I turn the frozen, shaped fat out on a plate, keep it in the refrigerator, and use it in place of or along with butter. Cute, easy to cut up and measure, frozen bacon fat delivers flakiness instead of a greasy mess.
So far, my best results for baked goods have come with a butter/bacon fat combination of half and half. I’ve made crispy biscuits and perfect tart and pie crusts. The crusts have been good with both caramelized onion tarts (also using bacon fat to jam-ify the onions) and fruit tarts. If you give this a try, you may want to consider leaving out some or all of the salt in your recipe, or your biscuits and pie crusts may be too salty for your taste.
I’m also wondering if room temp bacon grease can be substituted for part or all of the oil in carrot cake or banana bread. I’m thinking yes–and looking forward to finding out.
Add another one: Use a tablespoon of bacon grease in the bottom of a saucier to pop popcorn. You will a) be frugal and b) taste a big improvement over oil! Possibly the best popcorn I’ve ever made–or had.
And another one: I fried chicken in bacon drippings this weekend and it was fantastic.
And yet another one: Finally got around to the carrot cake. Substituted bacon grease for the oil in my recipe and it’s worked quite well.
Pancakes: substitute one of the tablespoons of oil with bacon grease–delicious. Here’s the how-to for my favorite pancakes using a blend of cornmeal and flour, plus bacon grease