Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Bacon is trendy, fatty, and fantastically delicious (if you eat meat, that is). Bacon and eggs and BLTs, quiches, and salads are yummy opportunities to make bacon for dinner. Adventurous chefs are coming up with all kinds of new ways to eat bacon, especially combined with chocolate.
Inevitably, when you cook with bacon, you end up with a bacon byproduct- bacon grease. If you’re a prepper, a homesteader, or just someone who is really frugal, you may wonder what you can do with this delicious-smelling stuff.
If you don’t want to just pour it down the drain or toss it in the trash, keep reading for 21 ways you can use bacon grease around the home.
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1. Make A Bacon Grease Candle
One of the easiest uses for bacon grease is a simple survival candle that just about anyone can make. Cook up your bacon, and then filter any leftover grease to remove leftover bits of bacon (if desired). Carefully pour the hot grease into a heat-tempered jar, such as an old mason jar or even an empty tin can.
This is a great way to use up those old canning jars that have cracks or chips and aren’t good enough to be used for canning. The wax will be very hot, so use caution to make sure you don’t get burned.
Use some kind of a natural cotton or linen fiber for your wick such as a strip of T-shirt cotton string, or even a strand from a mophead. Tie one end to a pencil and lay the pencil over the top of your jar so the other end of the wick reaches down into the bottom of the hot bacon grease.
As the grease cools, it will thicken and solidify. Once your candle has cooled, you can trim the wick so that it just sticks up over the top of the grease. This kind of candle works great for emergencies, but don’t forget: anytime you burn it, you’ll smell bacon.
2. Grease Cake Pans
If you’re baking and need to grease your cake pans, try a little leftover bacon grease. Grease your pans just like you would with shortening and then dust a little flour on top.
Bonus: You get a hint of bacon flavor in your cornbread!
3. Season A Cast Iron Pan
Cast iron cookware has long been a favorite choice for preppers and homesteaders alike. It is durable, easy to use, and heats food evenly and thoroughly. When you need to season your pan, vegetable oil is usually a great choice. But if vegetable oil is unavailable, bacon grease will do in a pinch.
To season your pan, pour some bacon grease into your pot and heat it until it reaches its smoke point, then carefully (so that you don’t burn yourself) wipe the oil all over the pan with a clean rag. Allow the pan to cool and then wipe away any excess fat.
Although you can use bacon grease to season your cast iron pans, bear in mind that bacon grease may have salt in it which could damage the finish to your cast iron pan. Rendered fat straight from a butchered pig may be a better option if at all possible.
4. Bait a Trap
Catch a coon, possum, or another small animal by baiting your trap with leftover bacon grease. Pour it into a small container and allow it to cool. Place the container in the trap and the scent will hopefully attract your unwanted pests.
5. Bird Food
Don’t waste money on suet cakes, just make your own. Pour your hot bacon grease into an old container, like the bottom portion of a tin can. Shallow tuna cans work great for this! When the grease has cooled, it will solidify.
Hang the tin outside where the birds can snack on the extra protein. Better yet, dip a pinecone in softened, but not liquefied, bacon grease. Roll the pinecone in birdseed, peanuts, or sunflower seeds and hang it outside to give the birds a tasty, winter treat.
6. Butter Substitute
If you like the flavor of bacon, you can use bacon grease as a substitute for butter or oil in most recipes. Of course, if you use bacon grease, your finished product will have the flavor of bacon, so be sure it’s a recipe that tastes good with bacon in it.
You can use the same amount of bacon grease as you would butter or oil, but you may need to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe to account for the saltiness of your grease.
7. Make Dog Treats
Show your furry friends a little bit of love with this bacon grease dog treats recipe from Hardly Housewives.
8. Make Lamp Fuel
Although paraffin is typically used to power oil lamps, animal fat can be processed into oil that will fuel your lamps. Here are some instructions on how to make a bacon-powered lamp.
All you need is 1/4 cup of bacon fat, a stick, a tin can, a strip of cotton, and some sand. It only takes five or ten minutes to put it together. Here is the result:
If you need to startup your campfire, pour some bacon grease on a paper towel. Put the towel in your fire pit, light it up and stand back. It’ll get your fire going in a hurry.
10. Beef Up Your Pup’s Dog Food
If you need to put a little weight on your pups, entice them to eat with a little bacon grease. Just pour a little warm (not hot) bacon grease on your dog’s food, and mix it in. The delicious smell and flavor will whet their appetites.
Soups, stews, sauces, gravies, cornbread, biscuits, and many other dishes can benefit from the flavoring of bacon grease. It’ll add a little stick-to-your-ribs goodness, too.
12. Food Preservation
Some folks say you can preserve food in bacon grease. Survivopedia agrees! Well, sort of. Check out their info on using animal fats for food preservation. What do you think of this ancient method?
13. Fried Potatoes
Give your home fries some extra pizzazz by adding leftover bacon grease to the pot. Simply slice up your potatoes and onions and fry them in a skillet with some oil and bacon grease for a delicious side dish. Top them off with a little bit of cheese and crumbled bacon to enhance your dish.
14. Bug Trap
If you’ve got an insect problem, you need bug traps. Mix a little warm bacon grease with some vegetable oil to thin it just a bit. Place it in a bowl anywhere you’ve got a flying insect problem.
The bugs fly in for a tasty nibble and get trapped in the thickness of the mixture. Discard and replace your bug trap frequently or you’ll end up with a rancid mess on your kitchen counter.
If you’ve got dry cracked heels, you may want to consider a little bacon grease moisturizer. Just rub the warm, soft grease into your heels and put some cotton socks on before you go to bed at night. So long as the dog doesn’t think your feet are bacon treats, you’ll wake up with softer, smoother heels.
Surprisingly, you can make a delightful soap out of leftover bacon grease. You’ll have to render the grease a number of times to make it look clean white and odorless, but you can get there. Follow these directions to make your bacon grease soap.
If you love biscuits and gravy, you might just love gravy made with bacon grease. With just a few very simple ingredients, you can mix up your own easy bacon grease gravy. Find a delicious gravy recipe here that uses just bacon grease, flour, milk, salt, and pepper.
18. Condition Your Old Leather Boots
In a pinch, you can waterproof your old leather hiking boots with a bit of leftover bacon grease. If you’re camping and need your boots fixed up quick, leftover bacon grease from your fireside bacon and eggs might just do the trick. In the interest of full disclosure, don’t try this on synthetics boots or in bear country!
19. Feed It To Your Chickens
Some folks may tout the benefits of vegetarian chickens, but chickens really are omnivores. Mix in a little bacon grease with their mash or pellets for a delicious chicken treat.
20. Make Biodiesel Fuel
For the ultimate in prepping with bacon grease, you can learn to make biodiesel fuel from bacon grease and other animal fats. There are a few caveats, of course: biodiesel fuel only runs diesel machines, and you’ll need an awful lot of bacon grease to make the action happen.
21. Make Split Pea Soup
Lentils and split peas are easy to store on the homestead and make a delicious soup, especially on damp chilly nights. To add some fat and calories to this simple dish, mix in your leftover bacon grease to taste. Your soup will be satisfying and delicious. The extra fat and flavor will make for a much more satiating soup.
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