16

My grandma told me its a good idea to save the bacon drippings in a sealable container to cook with later. I remember when I used to watch her cook with it, it was always solid. I have started saving the fat from my bacon, only the bottom of the can is the only part that ever congeals. The top always seems sort of semi-liquid. Is that ok? When cooking with it, what part should I use and what is the difference between solid and merely viscous bacon fat?

  • Why wouldn't you just buy your bacon grease? It's a lot cleaner. USDA and FDA approved. It's on amazon. Type in hot belly bacon grease. – user22560 Jan 15 '14 at 0:58
  • 7
    @user22560 A) because why waste food you already have? B) Because USDA and FDA approved or not, animal products you buy in the store likely come from animals that are mistreated and normally poorer quality. Depending on where you source your animals, it might not be "cleaner" and is almost guaranteed to be less environmentally friendly (what with freezing and trucking literally thousands of miles between feed lots, slaughter houses, warehouses, store distribution centers and final retail store). C) Because the bacon that was cooked is already USDA / FDA approved anyway. – Jamin Grey Jul 27 '16 at 3:29
  • 3
    I keep a jar just for bacon drippings, and I keep it in the fridge, for the most part, but when I take it out, it's much softer, especially in the summer time. Gotta agree with @JaminGrey about buying bacon fat/grease online. Seems kind of frivolous and unnecessary when you obviously have a bacon grease source in your kitchen. – PoloHoleSet Jun 20 '17 at 14:51
  • 2
    How warm is your room temperature? I often have solid fats, and the same jar can be slushy, or soft and partially translucent, or partially or fully liquid sometimes, and completely hardened, brittle or flaky or lumpy at others - depending on the time of year, temperature (local, indoors, and storage area temps all relevant), storage area, frequency of use and stirring habits, and a couple other factors. Something as simple as a warmer room or storage next to the stove (vs, say, in a cabinet) may make the difference – Megha Jun 21 '17 at 4:00
17

To answer what I think is the question (you put all of the grease into a container and there's a residue at the top), bacon drippings are not 100% fat. There are also solid pieces of bacon in there and other "impurities" from the curing process.

When rendering bacon fat, you should line the container with a paper towel first (or cheesecloth if you have it). Pour the bacon drippings onto the paper towel and the fat will drain out the bottom; the solids will be left behind and you can dispose of them. You'll be left with (mostly) pure fat.

The rendered fat will most definitely congeal; the vessel, once cooled, should contain only a solid, off-white substance.

  • 5
    Also depends on the ambient temperature. Up where I live, if I had a jar of bacon drippings out on the counter, the physical consistency would be markedly different in December vs July. – PoloHoleSet Jun 20 '17 at 14:47
8

In your grandmother's day, companies didn't adulterate bacon by injecting it with Lactose (Which causes the bacon to absorb water, so you end up buying the meat with sometimes up to 25% of the weight being water)

This is why when you fry bacon you often get a white slushy residue leaching from the rashers, and you end up with poached bacon, rather than fried.

Unless you buy your bacon from an independent producer (and pay the price premium) I doubt if you will ever be successful in rendering the run-off.

4

My observation is that Hormel bacon is about half saturated fat and half liquid oil when cooled to room temperature. The bacon I was buying at Aldi produced a completely solidified bacon grease like my grandmother used. I think I'll be switching back to Aldi bacon.

3

Pure bacon fat is always solid at room temperature. For a while, this was part of the nutritional justification for why all saturated animal fats were unhealthy, because they would be 'solid' inside your arteries as well. That picture is much more complicated today, but suffice to say that the physical trait of solidness at room temperature hasn't changed.

2

Animal fats are solid at room temperature, period. Vegetable fats are liquid at room temperature, period. This is assuming no intervention with chemicals or whatnot.

Your issue is the bits of water and other random junk that accumulates when you render bacon out.

  • 7
    You're comparing saturated and unsaturated fat. Some vegetable fats are saturated enough to be solid at room temperature. Example: coconut. – derobert Apr 20 '11 at 7:34
  • 3
    Another good example is cocoa butter. – derobert Apr 20 '11 at 7:40
  • 2
    Avocado is another (and the best). – Jay Jan 15 '14 at 2:11
  • 2
    The temperature definitely matters. Pork fat can melt as low as 86°f as I just discovered. – Jamin Grey Jul 27 '16 at 3:35
  • This is simply not true. I get bacon that has been pasture raised and has zero additives. I bake it in the oven on a tray at 350 for about 15 minutes and it comes out perfect. The meat part is not quite as tender as processed bacon, but the fat stays liquid down to at LEAST 70 degrees room temp. And I don't mean some drippings mixed with water, it's 100% fat that's been rendered and it simply does not solidify at room temp. – Beartech Sep 17 '18 at 18:30
2

I found that when I buy bacon from pasture raised pigs, the drippings are solid at room temp, from regular store bought bacon it remains mostly liquid at room temp. Now that is interesting

1

I'd just keep the solid part of any drippings, if there's too much liquid I'd worry about what's in the bacon.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.