Recipe: Rendered Bacon, Pancetta, Ham, Duck or Goose Fat

More

Rendering is cooking a fatty meat or skin slowly until the fat liquefies and can be separated from the flesh, skin or cartilage. It can then it can be strained into a clean jar and kept on hand (in the refrigerator) for use in cooking. You can render the fat from bacon, pancetta, a real cured country ham such as prosciutto or Smithfield, or from a goose or duck to add marvelous flavor to a dish.

Cut the fat to be rendered into quarter-inch dice. In a heavy skillet, cook the fat covered over low heat stirring occasionally until the fat is liquid and the remaining flesh is crisp and brown. Strain into a clean dry jar and refrigerate when cool. You can use the crisp rendered bits in recipes or as a garnish. You can freeze them up to two months and reheat them in a covered skillet with a little water.

The yield of different fats varies greatly:

Bacon or Pancetta: 
1 pound yields 1 cup (8 ounces) fat; 1 ounce yields 1 tablespoon fat.
Double Smoked Bacon
: 1 pound yields 23 to 34cup fat; 14 pound yields about 3 tablespoons.

To read Sally Schneider's genius use of this technique in a dessert recipe, click here for the story.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Sally Schneider writes The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog about improvising as a daily practice. Her cookbook The Improvisational Cook is now out in paperback. More

Sally Schneider is the founder of The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog that inspires you to devise, invent, create, make it up as you go along, from design and cooking to cultivating the creative spirit. It's been called a "zeitgeist-perfect website." She is a regular contributor to public radio's The Splendid Table and the author of the best-selling cookbooks The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook, which was recently named one of the best books of the decade by The Guardian. She has won numerous awards, including four James Beard awards, for her books and magazine writing.

Sally has worked as a journalist, editor, stylist, lecturer, restaurant chef, teacher, and small-space consultant, and once wrangled 600 live snails for the photographer Irving Penn. Her varied work has been the laboratory for the themes she writes and lectures about: improvising as an essential operating principle; cultivating resourcefulness and your inner artist; design, style, and food; and anything that is cost-effective, resourceful, and outside the box.
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

From This Author

Just In