© Elena Elisseeva - Dreamstime.com

How to Render Bacon Fat

Don’t throw that bacon grease away
© Elena Elisseeva - Dreamstime.com

One of the best ways of starting your morning is with a bacon-filled breakfast, however, once you get this iconic breakfast food to your desired level of crispiness, it’s common practice to ditch the leftover fat drippings. But doing so is wasting one of the best ingredients no one cooks with anymore but should.

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Rendering bacon fat means that you’ve cooked the bacon long enough to ensure that you’ve gotten out all of the fat and your pan is left with a healthy amount of grease to use for later. And while it’s definitely not the fastest way to cook this breakfast staple, it’s undeniably a game-changer. Bacon fat adds a saltiness and rich, smoky, meaty flavor to anything you cook, from scrambled eggs to Brussels sprouts.

To become a bacon fat-rendering master, start by tossing strips (or small pieces) of bacon into a nonstick skillet of your choosing — ideally a cast-iron skillet. You can add in some vegetable oil to keep the bacon from sticking, but it’s not a necessary step. Next, cook the bacon on low heat for about 10 minutes until the bacon is crispy and all of the gummy fat is rendered out. 

Then, most importantly, eat all of that delicious bacon you just whipped up. Once you’ve scarfed down your breakfast, return to the bacon grease and strain out any leftover meat until you’re left with just liquid. You can then use this leftover grease to cook any dish you’d like, from sautéed veggies to homemade Southern gravy. Bacon grease will solidify at room temperature, so just make sure to reheat it to liquify it again before cooking.  

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Next time you’re making breakfast, try cooking with leftover bacon fat. It’s one of many cooking hacks you’ve been neglecting that might explain why your food never tastes as good as your grandma’s did.