With so much love for bacon across the internet and blogosphere, it can be a bit overwhelming; its possible to reach an oversaturation point. Which is where I am right now with bacon. But there is one great causal effect of making so much bacon – bacon fat.
I was first introduced to the thought that bacon fat as something great when I attended the Fat event with Jennifer McLagan earlier in the winter. I always loved bacon, but I realized that I was just wasting the bacon fat – and then I started saving it. Yup, I started to keep the grease from each batch of bacon that I made.
This is where a lot of my friends get freaked out and can’t comprehend what I’m doing. So what, I have awesome bacon fat to sauté vegetables in, or anything for that matter. It lends an incredible flavor. In fact, Serious Eats had an entire post listing out what to do with bacon fat.
One thing to consider is to do this when you buy good bacon, the stuff you get from butchers or doesn’t have too much ‘stuff’ added. This bacon will render a better fat because it isn’t loaded with the nitrites and chemicals a lot of companies use. And the bacon tastes better.
So why save it? Bacon fat has such a great flavor that isn’t at all overpowering. For example, a bacon vinaigrette can take a humble salad to higher levels. It’s a staple in Southern dishes. Also, in this day and age of value and sustainability, isn’t it a good idea to utilize as much as we can from the things we cook? By saving the bacon fat you can do this.
And how do you save it? Because it is a hot liquid, wait for it to cool down a bit from cooking. Then place a bit of cheese cloth over your storing vessel (Tupperware or glass jars work well) to strain out the larger bits, pour and tada – bacon fat is ready for you! Keep it in the fridge for about 6 months or put it in the freezer. It’s not really the healthiest thing, but neither is the parent it comes from and that doesn’t stop people from enjoying it.
I’m a bit overloaded on bacon at the moment, but I still love it and I think I love my bacon fat even more. For those might think it’s odd, get over yourself, you’ll be using it all the time. You’ll find yourself with a mischievous little grin every time you use it to cook. And that’s a good thing.