Cooking with bacon fat

When recipes have you start by crisping up bacon and then setting the cooked bacon aside to cook the vegetables, why do they so often have you pour out "all but one tablespoon of bacon fat," only to add olive oil?

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MTMitchell
MTMitchell March 1, 2012

I've always wondered that, too. I assumed it was because using all bacon fat might be too much of a good thing? I tend to not even add the olive oil unless I really have to -- I've found that for most things it seems like whatever bacon fat they tell you to leave in the pan is enough fat for the next step. It also kind of bugs me when the recipe starts with crisping up bacon, pouring off most of the bacon fat, and then "reserving the bacon for another use." It's not that I can't find another use for it (I just call my husband into the kitchen -- problem solved!), it just seems like a lot of process to then not use the bacon.

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meganvt01
meganvt01 March 1, 2012

I think it is because you can really get a lot of flavor from a relatively small amount of bacon fat and since it has the same smoke point as olive oil you can replace lots and lots (2-3 times) as much saturated fat by using olive oil instead of all bacon fat.

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linzarella
linzarella March 1, 2012

But if I don't care about avoiding saturated fat, and I don't want to waste the bacon fat I've already rendered, would t it make more sense to just use what's in the pan?

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Voted the Best Reply!

pierino
pierino March 1, 2012

Yes ma'am use that bacon fat. To me it's a completely wierd concept to mix bacon fat with olive oil. Use one or the other by its ownself. Same with canola and grapeseed oils which do have higher smoke points. Mix and match is just strange. If you are worried about saturated fat you shouldn't be frying stuff anyway. Bring on the lard.

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MTMitchell
MTMitchell March 1, 2012

Also, we have several little jars o' fat in our refridgerator. One is bacon, and I've both used some of it when I don't feel like rendering off real bacon and I've also added the "extra" bacon fat to it here and there (the other two are duck and goose, which came from birds that we roasted). I know they are not health foods...I know that I could be less, um, frugal with the bacon fat, but it seems wasteful to just dump it and sometimes there is more than is sensible for whatever recipe called for it in the first place. So you could do that, too....but it is a little embarrassing to admit to!

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Louisa
Louisa March 1, 2012

I think it's also because when you fry up the bacon, a whole lotta fat is rendered. Bacon's very fatty, so if you used all that's rendered it would be too much. But the good thing is that you can save it, and use it for other things--like skillet cornbread. Also it's intense, so you don't need much to get that good flavor.

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Maedl
Maedl March 1, 2012

I would definitely save any bacon fat that you poured off from the pan, My mom always had a recycled Crisco can in the refrigerator for bacon drippings, which she would use for frying. She didn't have to fry bacon to render fat every time she cooked something.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 March 1, 2012

My mom used to do that too. I don't think you can do that with a Crisco can now, since it's not metal but paper.

lloreen
lloreen March 2, 2012

A little bacon fat packs a whole lot of taste...I find too much makes me feel sick later, so I prefer to save the excess to use as flavoring. My preference is to leave just a thin coating at the bottom of the pan and to add a little bit of flavorless oil if necessary. I keep the drippings in the fridge in a small glass jar that closes with a seal. Then you can scoop out a teaspoon to add to sauteed spinach or other greens, which really increases the flavor.

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Urvish Tamakuwala
Urvish Tamakuwala March 1, 2013

I love bacon fat, and you can by all means use it instead of adding extra oil. There is a lot of confusion about hot "good for you" animal fat is, which is why I assume they tell you to remove the "bad" fat and add more "good" fat. I have always believed that RENDERED animal fat is just as good for you as any vegetable fat. Some recipes also call for other oils because of the smoking point. Vegetable oil (not extra virgin) will have a higher smoking point which enables searing or stir frying at high temperatures. Other reason I can think of is the flavor. Olive oil does impart a special flavor to dishes and adding it with the bacon fat will give the dish a more complex flavor. In any case...DO NOT throw out rendered fat, use it to saute potatoes! YUM!

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Linn
Linn March 2, 2013

Food first is what I love most about the Food 52 community. My personal preference is lighten the bacon fat so I tend to use less bacon I the first place. Can't disrespectful the pig! In my opinion, it all comes down to exploring and developing your own tastes. Sometimes my zealous colleagues, dietitians and health advocates, are so busy running the numbers, they get distracted from the goal.

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amysarah
amysarah March 2, 2013

I just judge whether to use all bacon fat, or to pour off (and save) some - adding oil if necessary - with regards to flavor, not an animal fat aversion (as if.) Sometimes you want a very pronounced bacon flavor, and sometimes you don't want the bacon-y note to dominate.

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ChefManuela
ChefManuela March 3, 2013

The problem is not the saturated fat from bacon, is the burnt fat that is dangerous. Olive oil with it's antioxidants will help, but best is not to use burnt fat regardless if it is saturated (fat) or unsaturated (oil)
www.cooking-class-authentic-tuscany.com

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ChefOno
ChefOno March 3, 2013

That answer presupposes the bacon fat is burnt, or in the case of the recipe writer, will always be burnt.

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ChefManuela
ChefManuela March 3, 2013

Burnt fat is so dangerous. Has peroxides and free radicals. Should not be eaten. We teach always to remove it, if possible, or to add fresh olive oil that have antioxidants and anti radicals. So removing the fat of the bacon and adding olive oil is what should be done (not necessarily olive oil). We are talking of salads
www.cooking-class-authentic-tuscany.com

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