Sep 18, 2011

Makin' bacon... butter. Bacon butter.

You heard me. Bacon. Butter.

Sometimes, my mind wanders to mysterious places. For absolutely no logical reason, I decided two weeks ago that saving bacon grease was essential to my culinary life's continued success. 

At the time of this ingenious idea's inception, I wasn't even cooking bacon. In fact, I was sitting on my couch, staring blankly at my living room wall thinking, "Laura, you need more hobbies."

Saving bacon grease is what I came up with.

So I promptly headed to the store, purchased the largest package of sliced pork belly they offered and began this very exciting and healthy new chapter of my life.
I really don't cook bacon on a regular basis. In fact, two weeks ago may have been the first time I had cooked bacon in over a year. I'm more of a beef-for-breakfast kind of girl.
Makin' bacon hurts when you're an impatient soul. It's hard to resist staring directly and closely at whatever item is sizzling on your stove top, mentally willing it to cook faster, when it smells as good as bacon.

Sizzling bacon punishes that behavior by slinging fiery grease on your skin while it cooks. Ouch. 
But if you are patient and cook the bacon slowly, it yields the most precious results. Perfectly crisp but not too-crunchy strips of deliciousness.

But that's not the point. This stuff is the point. Let as much of that liquid gold drain off each strip as you remove it from the pan.
Then let it cool. You do not want to handle bacon grease while it is still sizzling. Again: ouch.

In the meantime, enjoy the byproduct of this activity with tomatoes from your neighbor's garden (Thanks, neighbor Bob!), fresh lettuce and a Panera asiago cheese bagel.   
When this endeavour began, I really thought the idea of cooking with bacon grease was limited to farm-house grannies, which I think is why it appealed to me. Any other 24-year-old out there daydream about how awesome it would be to a pre-maturely matronly granny? No? Me neither.

But it turns out, a lot of very normal, young, hip people still use this as their "secret ingredient" for great cooking. I met one last week on a business trip. I'm not sure how my conversation with this very stylish, big-city pharmaceutical marketer from New Jersey led to bacon grease, but I think it might have gone something like this:

Her: "Know what I love almost as much as beef? Bacon."
Me: "Me. TOO. Mostly due to a recent obsession with finding recipes that involve adding extra awesomeness via saved bacon grease."
Her: "Me. TOO. I don't tell my husband. He just thinks I'm a really great cook. He has no idea it's the bacon grease talking.

Insta-friends. Just add bacon grease.

She taught me this. Once the grease has cooled to room temperature, don't just plop it in a regular ol' mason jar.
Ladle it into an ice cube tray. Freeze it. Then it lasts much longer, and it's conveniently portioned out. Because we agreed that it's not about WHAT you eat, it's about how much you eat. This is my kind of portion control.

That's my healthy eating mantra, and I'm sticking to it. 
I'm yet to actually utilize my little stockpile of bacon butter in any cooking. The tray isn't full yet, and it just doesn't seem right to take any away until I have a full stock saved up.

But I'm getting closer. One B.L.T. sandwich at a time.
I'm three sandwiches away from a full tray. Then the fun will begin.

I can't wait to pan-sear a steak in bacon grease. Or add a bit to my mashed potato mix. Or to grease a pan before making cornbread. Or to whip into homemade biscuits. Or to season green beans. 

What do you use bacon grease in/for? Any other tips/ideas?


  1. This is awesome! So happy you are blogging again.

  2. I just accidentally hit this link and didn't know you were back to blogging either!!

    My mom used to make my favorite salad with bacon grease, she called it wilted lettuce salad. I don't know if I have the recipe, but I'll look and let you know!!

  3. Never thought of this - but great idea!