This Is The Best Way To Store Bacon Grease

Cooking with bacon grease is an easy, budget-friendly way to add flavor and depth to almost any food. Southern Living states that bacon grease has the ability to elevate dishes in the same way as expensive olive oil — while costing you virtually nothing. 

With that said, bacon grease is fat and at risk for going rancid or growing nasty things inside it that could possibly make you sick if not stored properly. While many people grew up with a crock or jar of bacon grease next to the stove for easy access, food safety experts do not recommend this storage method. They assert that the best place to keep bacon grease is in the refrigerator, where it will be safe to consume for up to three months. 

This has the added bonus of keeping the fat soft and easy to scoop out of the container to use immediately. If you have a crazy amount of bacon grease or are saving it for a special dish, the fat will keep indefinitely in the freezer.

Be sure to pick the right container

Lifehacker has some great tips on how to store bacon grease safely. The first thing you will want to do after cooking your bacon (other than eating it!) is to strain the grease to remove any solid bits of meat left behind. They suggest avoiding plastic containers, which do not fare well when you pour hot fat into them, and instead, pick a glass, ceramic, or metal vessel. 

To strain your grease, you will need a funnel that fits into the top of your designated bacon fat container, a mesh sieve, and a coffee filter or something similar. Make sure to wait a few minutes to strain after cooking so your bacon fat is not still super hot, but not so long that it solidifies. Once it's reached a manageable temperature, pour the grease through your sieve/filter/funnel setup into your container. You will immediately notice all the solid bits being strained out. Let your bacon grease cool on a counter until it is room temperature and then store either in your fridge or freezer.

If you are going to use your bacon grease immediately, like for frying eggs to go with your bacon, there is no need to strain the grease at all. Just use it as you would butter or oil.

How to get the most grease out of your bacon

To get the most fat out of your bacon, Bon Appetit suggests you render (aka cook down) your meat low and slow. High heat will cause the bacon to crisp up too quickly, leaving you with less rendered fat to save. They state that cooking hot and fast is also what causes you to have gummy, chewy bacon instead of crisp slices. 

To cook bacon specifically for rendering and saving the grease, they recommend using a cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet and frying for 10 to 12 minutes over very low heat. One regular-sized package of bacon from a grocery store can yield up to 2/3 cup of fat. 

If you really want a lot of grease and are not concerned with eating the meat, you can go to a butcher and ask for bacon ends. Bon Appetit says that bacon ends have way more fat than regular bacon strips, and will basically give you a ton of grease and some bacon bits after they're done cooking. Be sure not to use flavored bacon for rendering unless you are planning on using all your grease in a dish you know will go well with the meat's flavor.