Just as Native Americans once (allegedly) made it a point to utilize every part of the bison, to ensure the animal's sacrifice was employed to the fullest extent, your bacon grease should not end up poured out on your lawn or down your toilet like common lawn/toilet trash.
Your bacon grease is a natural resource that should be treasured, recycled, and used for earthly good. If bacon is the meat of the gods (and I think popular culture has agreed it is), then bacon grease is the normally discarded ambrosia that can be used to make any dish objectively better -- or, when put to practical use, can be used to feed birds, light a room, or even battle Nazis on the Western Front (among other things).
Here are 13 ways to put your old bacon grease to work, ranked by how much I think you will personally enjoy them.
These Taco Shells Are Fried Chicken
13. Lip Balm That Tastes Like Bacon
It's not that making lip balm out of your bacon grease isn't something that's kind of, sort of, remotely cool. It's just that it takes a lot of work to create a 2-inch tube of something that essentially amounts to a novelty gift… that you can also just buy for one dollar at your local novelty gift shop.
12. Fighting Nazis
During World War II, the American Fat Salvage Committee was created in part to urge housewives to join the war effort, by sending their excess fat -- namely bacon grease -- to the military, to make bombs. One pound of fat, apparently, contained enough glycerin to make one pound of explosives. Here, let Minnie Mouse explain. While objectively cool as shit, it can't rank any higher as it is pretty much not applicable in these modern times (despite the remaining prevalence of Nazis in these modern times).
11. Bacon Soap
Yes, you can embrace your inner Tyler Durden (not by drastically misconstruing the actual point of Fight Club like a million bros around the world), but by making your own soap, via bacon grease. Where Brad Pitt's character used discarded people fat, you can use bacon refuse as a less-icky analogue. Pretty neat -- and you'll smell like bacon all the time. But you actually might attract bears. So, be careful.
The recent trend of placing pseudo-bacon flavoring into everything that is even remotely edible might turn some people off bacon-infusing in general. But bourbon is bourbon and it's hard to mess it up. And this method works quite well. It might be the only way you can actually make bourbon better.
9. Fire Starters
Remember way back at number 12 when we talked about the military using bacon grease to make bombs? Well, you can use the same inflammable logic at home (please for the love of God be careful) and use your excess drippings as a fire starter. But please, only start fires in places where fires belong.
8. Bird Feeders
If you want to truly use nature's greatest gift to us (bacon) to further complete the circle of life, you can use bacon grease to create an extremely effective DIY bird feeder. You get rid of your grease. Birds get to eat bacon-flavored seeds. Everybody wins. Unless you hate birds, of course. Which is understandable. Birds can be dicks.
7. Adding a Touch of Bacon-y Flavor to Popcorn
If you like your popcorn soaked with gallons upon gallons of artery-sticking butter, you'll love it even harder when it's coated with hot bacon grease. Even if your cardiologist doesn't.
6. Fried Potatoes That Accrue Deliciousness Through Bacon Grease
This is where we truly begin our descent into the land of "adding the bacon grease into already good foods to make them even better." You can do this with almost any food, and the humble potato is (obviously) no exception. Basically, all you have to do is let the bacon grease simmer upon your stovetop for about a minute before you add the sliced taters into the mix. And apparently, some people call this stuff "Cowboy Candy," which will never not make me giggle.
5. Eggs That Are Made Just a Little Bit More Special, With Bacon Grease
Using the same logic presented above, you can give your incredible, edible eggs a bacon-induced kick by letting them cook in bacon grease. It's probably the most utilized and obvious entry on this entire list. So, while inherently amazing, it really can't rank any higher due to lack of originality. (But still, you should try it).
4. The World's Best Grilled Cheese
Out of all the things you can place inside a simmering pan of bacon grease, I tend to think that grilled cheese is the most superior. While novices might say, "Well, why don't you just put actual bacon inside the grilled cheese," I'll assert that having just a touch of bacon flavoring, caressing the grilled cheese in its tender embrace, is actually a better, more tasteful option. Then again, you can also double-up on bacon, and infuse your bacon-containing grilled cheese with bacon grease, too. In case you weren't counting, that comes out to twice as much bacon flavor.
3. Chocolate Chip Cookies That Happen to Also Taste Like Bacon
I know. It sounds gross. But hey, so does eating live oysters. And like oysters, these bacon/chocolate cookies are certainly an aphrodisiac -- because they are so damn good. All you need to do is add a dollop (a tablespoon should be good for a standard batch) of bacon grease to your dough, and let the confectionary magic just happen. It's sweet. It's savory. And it beats the hell out of adding a pinch of salt to the cookies (yes, we all know your secret).
2. The Bacon Grease Candle
Any craft project that ends up making your home smell like bacon is a craft project thoroughly worth pursuing. You can quote me on that. In fact, you can carve it into my tombstone. Which I also hope is bacon-scented, for the record.
1. Seasoning Your Cast Iron Skillet
Instead of keeping bacon grease around to add a little meat panache to your dishes, why not simply make your skillet spew bacon flavor eternally? By coating your cast iron skillet with bacon grease, putting it in the oven for a couple hours (then repeating the process as many times as you'd like, after draining any excess grease remaining on the surface) you can do just that. Bacon is the gift that keeps on giving, and you can, in turn, make your skillet the skillet that keeps on giving... bacon flavor. I hope that makes sense.
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Wil Fulton is a staff writer at Thrillist and a passionate doer of other stuff. For more info, you'll have to do a free background check.