The best ways to use leftover bacon grease

Ahh, bacon. Could there be a more perfect breakfast food? Or lunch, or dinner, or even dessert food, for that matter. It's even amazing in cocktails, or just about anything. Cooking bacon does come with one significant downside, though. Unless you're using the precooked kind (which is fine in a pinch, though the texture's a bit off), any way you cook your bacon, there's bound to be a lot of leftover grease.

So just how do you dispose of your bacon grease? You do know not to pour it down the sink, right? That stuff will seriously clog up your drain, which you should be aware of if you've ever watched any commercials for Liquid Plumber. The approved method of grease disposal usually involves letting it cool and then pouring it into a container of some kind, which is kind of a lot of fuss and bother for something that you're just going to be tossing in the trash. It's no trouble at all, however, if what you're really doing is saving your bacon grease for later use, and there are a surprising number of ways you can re-purpose it.

Bacon grease can be substituted for butter or oil

The most obvious use for leftover bacon grease is in cooking, and many people will just fry up a few eggs in the same pan in which they cooked the bacon. The Pioneer Woman came up with a number of other ways in which bacon grease can be put to culinary use. She suggests using it to fry grilled cheese sandwiches or to replace part of the butter in biscuits, scones, cornbread, and pie crust recipes. Bacon grease can also stand in for oil when making stovetop popcorn, or even homemade mayonnaise.

Spoon University offers a few more suggestions, including using bacon grease to add a little smoky flavor to your potato salad, cooking pancakes in it, subbing it for the oil in a salad dressing, or even using it in chocolate chip cookies.

You can make bacon-infused booze

Sure, everybody knows that bacon makes the best Bloody Mary garnish, but did you know it's actually quite easy to make your own bacon-flavored liquor? Foodie Misadventures provides a recipe for bacon-infused bourbon which involves combining the fat from four slices of cooked bacon with an entire bottle of bourbon (plus a strip of that cooked bacon), and letting it sit for about 6 hours, then freezing for another 8 hours until the fat solidifies. The frozen fat can be easily removed, though you should strain the liquid through cheesecloth to make sure any solid residue remains behind.

While bacon and bourbon are a classic combination, this same technique would also work for vodka, or why not bacon-infused rum or tequila?

You can make bacon-scented candles

Lifehacker posted instructions (originally found on the now-defunct site Squidoo) for how to make candles from bacon grease. The technique is a pretty simple one — pour bacon fat into a small glass container, then chill in the fridge until the fat is solid. Once that is done, drill (or poke) a hole right down the middle and insert a wick. If you choose an all-natural wick, not only can you use your bacon fat candle to add a lovely romantic glow to your dinner table, but you can also pick it up and drizzle the melted fat over your food.

Bacon grease can be used as a fire starter

You can always harness bacon grease's flammability as a fire starter. After all, as anyone who's ever started an accidental kitchen fire can tell you, grease will burn like nobody's business. This YouTube tutorial shows you how to fill an empty egg carton (the cardboard kind, don't use Styrofoam) with dryer lint, then top it with blops of solidified bacon grease and another layer of lint. Now you have a handy and 100 percent free fire starter for your next camping trip.