Render: Maximizing Bacon Fat
While I’m not particularly interested in the fake bacon flavor that seems to be found in everything these days, there are few things better than real, freshly cooked bacon. I love bacon, I really do, and now there’s a way to get some of that savory goodness every day without destroying your kitchen daily: rendering bacon fat. This is obviously not a new concept, I’m sure people have saved bacon grease since bacon was first discovered, but I struggled with the process for a while before I found a system that really works for me. If you have a fat rendering method that you love, more power to you, I’m just here to share my method for those still working on a way to cook with bacon grease on the regular.
Reserved bacon fat is excellent for quick meals like fried eggs or adding some flavor to simple dishes. Remember though, this will have a lower smoke point than other oils so if it’s crispy mushrooms you’re looking for, head for the olive or avocado oils.
2 medium-sized heat proof bowls (glass recommended)
1 medium-sized heat proof container with airtight seal (Pyrex recommended)
1 small-medium non-stick pan, at least 2″ deep
1 small fine mesh strainer (3″ – 4″)
1 pair heat-safe tongs (not plastic)
5 slices pork bacon, thick-cut (7 slices regular cut)
Using a sharp knife, slice the bacon into small chunks – I usually keep the strips together when removing from the package and cut them all at once, 6-7 pieces per slice. Separate the pieces so they aren’t all stuck together.
Heat a non-stick pan, at least 2″ deep, over medium heat. Add bacon to pan and fry over medium heat, turning often with tongs, until all pieces are cooked through – the idea here is to render or melt as much fat as possible without burning the meat. I usually cook until the bacon is just slightly crispier than my personal preference (The Boyfriend will eat it all anyway).
Using the tongs, gently “shake off” excess fat from bacon pieces and remove them to heat-safe bowl. Place the mesh strainer over the second bowl and carefully pour the grease from the pan through the strainer into the bowl. Repeat by straining the grease from the bowl through the mesh into the heat-safe container. You should strain your bacon fat at least twice, as described above, but the more times you do it, the “purer” your fat will be – the fat in the photo above was strained three times.
Eat fried bacon pieces within 12 hours. Store rendered fat in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.