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Thursday, August 10, 2023

Another Way to Cook With Leftover Meat Fat

If you have a surplus of fat leftover from cooking meat, here's another way to use it while cooking.

Here's about 2 tablespoons of bacon fat that sat in the fridge for about a month and may or may not have picked up questionable odors and flavors. Rather than risk ruining whatever I'm cooking, we've been using old fats in place of lighter fluid for starting charcoal briquets when barbecuing. 

To use the fat, I first melt it in the microwave.

Then we pour it over the cold briquets as I would lighter fluid. We've also experimented with spreading the fat right onto the briquets. That also works, but pouring melted fat is easier.

Then we light the briquets with paper, sticks or bits of cardboard inside the chimney along with the briquets.

The fat is a little slower to catch on fire than the lighter fluid, but it burns longer, allowing the charcoal to fully heat and develop a nice white ash on each briquet. To help the fat-covered charcoal catch fire, we add some paper and sticks to the chimney. 

As a bonus to the long burning of the meat fat on the briquets, I feel better about eating food that has been cooked over charcoal covered with meat fat than charcoal covered with a petroleum or alcohol (not the drinking kind) product. Adding fewer chemicals to our food is always a plus.

Anyway, we've been doing this all summer and are not only glad we have a way to use the old fat, but also we appreciate how well this has worked while saving money on not buying the commercial fluid.


  1. I'm sure the fat smells much better than lighter fluid. The only fat I save is bacon grease which seems to last a long time. So far, we haven't had any go bad. When we use charcoal, we put a little kindling and paper in the chimney under the charcoal and light it. This combo seems to work most of the time.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      The meat fat does smell good and much better than lighter fluid.
      I wonder if our charcoal is just a bit more damp than in other parts of the US. Even though this was a new bag this summer, it may have been stored by Home Depot in a more damp location . Any way, even with the chimney, getting charcoals lit takes time for us.

  2. Wow, Lili. We're not grillers, but I love this idea, and will share it with our grilling family members.

    The closest we ever thought of to that is that when we camp, we save the paper towels we use to sop up excess grease in cooked chorizo, before we add eggs. (One use for which I've not found a better solution than paper toweling.) Next campfire, we use the greasy paper towels as fire starters. Works great every single time, and also smells good!


    1. Hi Sara,
      Great use for your greasy paper towel when camping. When we heated part of our house with wood, we would save all greasy paper from draining fried foods/meat in a bag in the freezer and use those as fire starters. They worked well to get the kindling going before adding logs.


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