Often, a recipe will tell you to “render your bacon,” which sounds intimidating but is really simple.
All it means is to cook your bacon slowly over low or medium heat, so that all the fat has a chance to melt while the meat crisps. To render bacon. get a cast iron or stainless steel skillet big enough to hold all of the bacon you’re rendering without crowding it. Heat the skillet over low heat and add bacon to the pan (no need to add oil.) If you’re using pre-sliced bacon, cook the strips whole; If you’re using slab bacon, cut it into 1/4-inch cubes. Cook it slowly, until the bacon is crisped and most of the fat is liquid.
Full instructions here.
Use it immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Some recipes, like pie crust or cookies, will call for cold or room temperature bacon fat, which means that the fat will be solid and you’ll cut or beat it into the other ingredients. Other recipes, like sauces or soups, call for you to heat the bacon fat and use it as cooking fat for other ingredients, which means either melting your cold, pre-rendered bacon fat, or using warm, just-rendered bacon fat.
1. Bacon Peanut Caramel Corn
Toss popcorn in a peanutty, slightly spicy bacon fat-based caramel, then add the cooked bacon back in for the perfect sweet/savory mix. Recipe here.
2. Bacon Fat Chicken Alfredo
Cooking the chicken in bacon fat carries the flavor over to an extra component of the dish. Recipe here.
This one almost seems too obvious. Recipe here.
4. Bacon Fat Pancakes
There’s bacon fat in the batter, but make sure you have extra for greasing the pan to cook the pancakes! Recipe here.
6. Warm Brussels Sprout Slaw With Bacon
Sautéing shredded Brussels sprouts in a mixture of butter and bacon faster is much faster than roasting them whole. Recipe here.
8. Bacon Fat Caramels
The original recipe simply called for lard, but blogger Joy knows what’s up. Recipe here.
9. Killer Spinach Salads with Hot Bacon Vinaigrette
You don’t like salads? Here’s one to change your mind. Recipe here.
10. Buttermilk Bacon Grease Cornbread
Perfect for your next summer barbecue. Recipe here.
11. Brownies with a Twist
Spoiler alert: the twist is that there’s half a cup of bacon fat in the batter. The result is dense and fudgy, with seriously awesome bacon flavor. Recipe here.
12. Bacon Fat Biscuits
A flaky, bacon-y, perfectly textured biscuit is hard to find. Recipe here.
13. Bacon Fat Tortillas
If you’re having pork tacos for dinner, might as well go whole hog. Recipe here.
14. Bacon-Flavored Crackers
Crisp up some flour tortillas by pan-frying them in bacon fat for quick, delicious crackers. Recipe here.
15. Bacon-Infused Bourbon
On a scale of 1 to Brangelina, how dangerously inevitable was this one? Recipe here.
16. Bleu Cheese and Bacon “Cake”
Greasing the loaf pan with bacon fat is a genius way to get a bacon-infused crust. Recipe here.
17. Best-Ever Potato Salad
Classic potato salad, made awesomer with the addition of reserved bacon drippings. Recipe here.
19. Mashed Potato Pancakes
On the off chance that you find yourself with leftover mashed potatoes, add a little flour, form the mixture into disks, and fry it up in some bacon grease. Recipe here.
20. Roasted Potatoes with Bacon, Cheese and Parsley
Grease pan with bacon fat, toss potatoes with half of the bacon fat, roast, toss potatoes with the remaining bacon fat. Recipe here.
21. Primal Bacon Pancakes
These gluten-free, grain-free “pancakes” are made with coconut flour and egg whites, which give them a fluffy and, dare I say (because I mean, BACON) light texture. Recipe here.
22. Bacon Bourbon Ice Cream
Just a little bit of reserved and refrigerated bacon fat goes a long way in this ice cream base. Recipe here.
23. Chipotle Bacon Barbecue Sauce
Squeeze on everything. Recipe here.
24. Bacon Fat Pie Crust
Stop arguing over whether lard, butter, or shortening are best for pie crust. The obvious choice is bacon fat. Recipe here.
25. 5-Ingredient Bacon Asparagus Pasta
No need to make a separate sauce, since the bacon grease, reduced wine, and melted parmesan will flavor the pasta and keep it from drying out. Recipe here.
26. The Bacon Milkshake
Each milkshake has a full tablespoon of liquid gold AKA delicious bacon fat. Recipe here.
27. Kimchi and Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Get serious bacon flavor inside and out by cooking bacon, stuffing it in a grilled cheese sandwich, and then frying said sandwich in the rendered fat. Recipe here.