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What To Do With Leftover Bacon Grease While Camping

bacon sizzling in grease - feature image for What To Do With Leftover Bacon Grease
Wondering what to do with leftover bacon grease while camping? We rounded up some great ideas. Photo: Shutterstock

How To Reuse Leftover Bacon Grease While Camping

Bacon is a delicious staple for a ton of different meals. You can eat it by itself or cook it into a wide variety of dishes. However, bacon usually leaves a lot of grease behind. Before you throw this away, let’s talk about what to do with leftover bacon grease while camping!

Even though this might just seem like oily excess, bacon grease is a versatile ingredient. It can add some extra flavor and richness to future dishes, plus it doesn’t spoil for a long time. You can even use it for some everyday cleaning and maintenance tasks around the RV. This substance is like liquid gold, so don’t throw it away next time you cook some bacon.

Below, we have some information about what to do with leftover bacon grease. Some of the ideas are for recipes, while others are DIY solutions to everyday problems. Follow along with these tips, and remember that everything can be reused!

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How to save bacon grease for later

Before you can reuse the grease for anything, it’s important to properly collect and store it. Once you’re done cooking your bacon, let the grease cool down a bit. It should still be liquid enough to pour but cool enough that it won’t burn you. 

Pour the grease into a metal or glass container and seal it up. Then you can either store it at room temperature for one week, in the refrigerator for three months, or in the freezer for up to a year. It takes quite awhile for bacon grease to go bad, so you can use it whenever it’s convenient for you.

Ways to reuse bacon grease

1. Substitute bacon grease for butter, lard, or cooking oil

The first way to reuse grease is pretty simple: substitute it for other cooking oils. There are lots of times when you’ll need to melt butter, vegetable oil, or something else in a pan before you cook. In these cases, you can almost always use bacon grease as a substitute. It also adds a delicious savory flavor to the dish.

2. Cook fresh bacon in the old grease

You can also use old bacon grease to spice up new bacon! Of course, bacon will create its own oil to cook in, but you can place the raw bacon in a pan that’s heated with grease. This makes your bacon more crispy and flavorful (although you’ll have to be careful about splattering). Plus, once you’re done, you can simply pour off the grease and replenish your stock. It’s a perfect cycle.

3. Make baconaise

Mayonnaise is a common ingredient in sandwiches, salads, and much more. But if you make mayonnaise with bacon grease, you’ll create something that’s creamy, savory, and absolutely delicious! This product is commonly known as baconaise.

There are lots of different recipes to follow, but most of them include bacon grease, egg yolks, lemon juice, vegetable oil, and a bit of traditional mayonnaise. You can add some extra flavor by adding chunks of bacon, herbs, onions, or any spices you like. 

4. Use it in pie crust

Lard or butter is an essential ingredient in homemade pie crusts. But as we mentioned above, you can use leftover bacon grease instead. This will create a pie crust that’s beautifully crisp and has a pleasant taste. If you love to make pie crust from scratch, try this out next time!

5. Improve simple meals

Bacon grease can also work as an all-purpose flavor boost for simple meals. When you’re camping, you might get tired of eating the same old thing every day. Add a bit of leftover bacon grease and see how easy it is to elevate basic food!

For instance, many people use bacon grease in their ramen broth. You can also cook popcorn in this grease and create a delicious treat. Add it to a skillet and enjoy some elevated scrambled eggs and breakfast potatoes. You can even cook a grilled cheese sandwich in bacon grease!

6. Make salad dressing

Although you might not think that bacon and salads go together, the grease is a wonderful all-purpose substance that is a great ingredient for salad dressing. You can make a warm vinaigrette out of apple cider vinegar and bacon grease. This is great when you drizzle it over spinach salads. The meal will be more flavorful and rich, so everyone can enjoy salad night! You can even add a bit of crumbled bacon if you want to tie the whole thing together. 

7. Prevent pot overboiling

Cooking over a campfire or stove is great, but it’s not very fun when the pot boils and overflows. This creates super hot steam and often leaves a big mess behind. If you want to avoid this problem next time you’re boiling something, add a bit of bacon grease to the pot.

Even a pea-sized dollop of grease will keep the water from boiling over. This is a great hack for when you want to boil pasta, potatoes, or soup.

8. Season cast iron pans

Cast iron pans are a camper’s best friend! They’re perfect for campfire cooking and can infuse extra flavor into your food when they’re properly seasoned. Although you can use vegetable oil to season a pan, this doesn’t really add much flavor. Bacon grease will provide a more savory and aromatic taste to anything you cook.

After you clean the pan, simply rub some grease into the surface and heat the pan until the grease clings to the metal. Wipe off any excess and store the pan for later!

9. Use leftover bacon grease as a fire starter

Sometimes it’s hard to get a campfire going, especially if you left the lighter fluid at home. No worries! Bacon grease is flammable, so you can use it to start a fire. Just rub some grease on your kindling sticks and/or newspaper and light it up. The fire will grow quickly, plus it will smell amazing.

10. Lubricate squeaky metal

In addition to all the cooking tips listed above, you can also use bacon grease for everyday problems. Sometimes metal gets rusty and squeaky and needs to be lubricated. Whether it’s a door hinge, vehicle part, or camping item, you can apply some bacon grease to keep it moving smoothly. I bet you never thought you could use bacon grease instead of WD-40!

11. Make a bug trap

Bacon smells amazing to us, but it also attracts bugs. This can be annoying, but you can use this to your advantage. If your campsite or RV is plagued by bugs, you can create a DIY pest trap with leftover bacon grease. 

Mix bacon grease with vegetable oil and place it in a small bowl. The smell of the bacon will attract bugs, and the vegetable oil will coat their bodies and make it impossible for them to climb out of the bowl. You can also place this mixture inside an open water bottle if you want to make it easy to dispose of. It’s a great way to reduce the number of bugs at your campsite. 

12. Waterproof layer

Finally, bacon grease can be used as a water-repellent layer. As you may have heard, oil and water don’t mix. This is why bacon grease serves as a wonderful waterproofing substance. You can rub it over the surface of your rain fly, umbrella, or anything else that needs to stay dry. Water will condense on the surface without sinking in. (Please note: This should be avoided if you are camping in Bear Country.)

Some people even use bacon grease to make candles or bars of soap, but that might make your campsite smell a bit funky! Hopefully, you’ve found at least one tip that will help you reuse leftover bacon grease and turn it into something useful.

Southern Living shows what to do with leftover bacon grease.

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