If I have a kitchen secret weapon, the kind of thing that might get its own catchphrase and facebook page, it’s this:

Better than butter.

Better than butter.

That, my friends, is run-off grease from my most recent batch of candied bacon.

Candied.  Bacon.  Grease.

Nana has always had a can of bacon grease in her kitchen.  Candying the bacon first is my personal upgrade, as is the cute little jar (instead of the traditional open tin can), but the first time my Wife saw me pouring off hot grease to save for later, she looked at me as though I had asked her to lick the floor of the refrigerator.  Then I started cooking with it, and made a convert of her.

There is almost nothing you can’t use this stuff for.  It has the extended lifespan of shortening, the melt point of butter, and the savory sweetness of bacon and brown sugar.  Need to make a roux?  Candied Bacon Grease can do that.  Baking apples?  Throw in a pat of this instead of butter.  Grease your cake pans.  Put it on a steak, a baked potato, asparagus.  Sear stew meat in it.  Saute shrimp in it.  Slather yourself with it and go swimming in the North Atlantic.*

If I save up enough of it this winter, I may use it to make the filling for a batch of whoopie pies.  I expect they will be well received.

And the candied bacon's nothing to sneeze at, either.

And the candied bacon’s nothing to sneeze at, either.

INGREDIENTS:
brown sugar (or maple sugar if you can find it)
bacon
a non-plastic container (I personally prefer a glass jar with twist lid)

  • cover a jelly roll pan, or any baking pan with a lip all the way around the edge, with tin foil
  • place one layer of bacon strips side by side on pan, edges slightly overlapping
  • coat bacon liberally with sugar
  • bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes, until bacon is curling at the edges
  • remove pan from oven, drain excess grease into a non-plastic container (try not to spill it all over your kitchen counter)
  • flip bacon, apply sugar to newly exposed side of bacon slices
  • place back in oven, continue baking 5-10 minutes until it looks cooked, but is still floppy.  It will continue to crisp after you take it out.
  • with tongs, lay bacon out on paper towels to cool and blot
  • drain as much clear grease as you can into your container, and store in the refrigerator

*I do not actually endorse this idea, though it would be hilarious to see someone try.  Dad used some weird vasoline blend in the Peaks-to-Portland race back in the ’80s.  At the very least, Candied Bacon Grease would have to be more pleasant to apply.

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