Bacon is the gift that keeps on giving.


In decades past, we carried Grandma’s gravy and barbeque sauce home on the plane. I still take food home after family visits, but it’s easier now because I drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles with a cooler in my trunk.

Holiday mornings always include Mimosas and bacon – in a quiche or with eggs, or snatched from the platter before it’s cooled. This year, my daughter and granddaughter surprised me with a batch of biscuits made with bacon grease. Best biscuits ever.

We Southern-born cooks put bacon grease in just about everything except dessert. We add it to breads. We sauce our vegetables with it. Gravy? Not possible without a roux that begins with bacon grease. Sometimes it’s bacon grease and butter creamed together, but the bacon grease is crucial.

bacon grease

My people kept bacon grease in a tin can near the stove. I keep mine in a jar in the fridge, and that’s the only part of the equation that’s changed. Bacon grease is the prize ingredient. We buy bacon just to render it, so we can own the drippings. As our holiday visit was ending, I remembered that the bacon grease jar in my fridge at home was almost empty, and made a note to stop at the market to buy several pounds of whatever bacon was on sale.

bacon grease 2

While packing to come home, I heard whispering and giggling from the other room and then my granddaughter appeared with a big grin, both hands hidden behind her back. She held out a gift “from Mom and me” – a small, round container with a red bow on the lid, filled with bacon grease. The last gift of the season is, so far, top of the list of Best Gifts Ever.

Container 2

9 thoughts on “Bacon is the gift that keeps on giving.”

  1. My mom is originally from Missouri and she also kept a container of some sort with bacon grease in the fridge. For those who don’t know, when bacon grease is cold it turns white-ish.

    One dark Saturday morning when I was ten or eleven my dad and I were getting ready to go fishing. He was determined to make me breakfast but I knew better than to allow him to fry an egg. He had an impressive talent for burning everything he attempted while leaving a significant portion of it raw. Cold cereal was about all he could manage so I had that but when he offered me toast and honey I accepted. How could he screw up a piece of bread perfectly timed in the toaster? He couldn’t and he didn’t.

    You’re getting ahead of me, aren’t you?

    What he did do was come across my mom’s cold supply of bacon grease stashed in a spun honey container and, believing it was what it said, he slathered that nasty, cold fat on my toast and insisted I eat every last bite, which I did. He only discovered his mistake upon taking one bite from his own toast.

    I love bacon but I still cannot look at cold bacon grease without getting a little bit of a gagging reflex action.

  2. Dave W – So sorry you and bacon grease got off to a rough start. I trust all is forgiven by now.

  3. My mom had an old coffee cup on the stove for the bacon grease. Whatever got fried, mainly steak and potatoes, the first item in the cast iron pan was a blob of bacon grease.

  4. Rob – we all know your Mom is very smart. Potaoes fried without bacon grease? Well – all potatoes are fine with me – but with bacon grease to start – superb.

  5. I guess my mom had some kind of southern roots as she cooked almost
    everything in the bacon grease from the can at the back of the stove. I
    know she was born in CO and her mother was born in Norway. Perhaps
    it is also a Norwegian custom?

  6. My German grandmother saved her bacon grease she called “schmaltz.” She didn’t refrigerate it and we ate it spread it on rye bread with a little salt sprinkled over it. It was one of my favorite things to eat. In my kitchen today I have my mother’s set of white ceramic salt and pepper shakers with a pear and apple print on them. Matching them is a ceramic container that says DRIPS on it but it is discolored from the bacon grease she kept in it. I remember this set from our kitchen when I was a child and we lived in Chicago before moving to California in 1951 and is one of my most treasured possessions I have from her. It brings me such fond memories every time I look at it.

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