Is Bacon Grease Good For Seasoning Cast Iron? A Full Guide

Cast iron pans are a staple in many kitchens, and for good reason. They’re durable, versatile, and can last for generations with proper care.

But when it comes to seasoning your cast iron pan, there are a lot of opinions out there. Some people swear by vegetable oil, while others insist on using lard or even flaxseed oil.

But one seasoning agent that seems to have stood the test of time is bacon grease. Yes, you read that right – bacon grease!

In this article, we’ll explore whether or not bacon grease is a good option for seasoning your cast iron pan and how to do it properly.

So grab a slice of bacon (or two) and let’s get started!

Is Bacon Grease Good For Seasoning Cast Iron?

The short answer is yes, bacon grease is a great option for seasoning your cast iron pan. As a fat, it creates a protective barrier against water and helps to develop a non-stick surface on your pan.

In fact, using bacon grease to season cast iron pans is an age-old technique that has been passed down through generations. Our grandparents used it not just because it was readily available, but also because of how effectively it seasoned their cookware.

But why is bacon grease so effective? Well, when you cook bacon, the natural fats in the meat liquefy and create a layer of grease in the pan. This grease is then absorbed by the cast iron, creating a natural non-stick surface.

When you use bacon grease to season your cast iron pan, you’re essentially baking a layer of bacon fat over the cookware to make it non-stick. This process takes time and patience, but the results are well worth it.

The Benefits Of Seasoning Your Cast Iron Pan

Seasoning your cast iron pan has numerous benefits that make it a worthwhile investment for any home cook. Firstly, it creates a natural non-stick surface on the pan, making it easier to cook with and clean. This is because the seasoning process involves coating the pan in a layer of fat, which polymerizes when heated and creates a slick, hard surface that food won’t stick to.

Another benefit of seasoning your cast iron pan is that it helps to prevent rusting. Cast iron is prone to rusting if exposed to moisture, but a well-seasoned pan will have a protective layer that prevents water from coming into contact with the iron.

Seasoning your cast iron pan also helps to distribute heat evenly, which means that your food will cook more evenly too. This is because cast iron retains heat really well, so once it’s heated up, it will maintain a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.

Lastly, seasoning your cast iron pan can actually fortify your food with iron. Cast iron can leach small amounts of iron into your food, which is beneficial for people who are iron-deficient. Cooking acidic foods like tomato sauce in a cast iron pan can increase the iron content of the dish by as much as 20 times.

Why Bacon Grease Is A Good Option For Seasoning

There are several reasons why bacon grease is a good option for seasoning your cast iron pan. Firstly, it adds a delicious smoky flavor to your food that other oils can’t replicate. This flavor is especially desirable when cooking meats or vegetables.

Secondly, bacon grease is a natural fat that doesn’t contain any harmful additives or chemicals. This makes it a healthier option than some other oils that may contain trans fats or other unhealthy ingredients.

Thirdly, because bacon grease is a solid fat at room temperature, it creates a more durable seasoning on your cast iron pan. This means that your pan will be less likely to develop rust or wear down over time.

Lastly, using bacon grease to season your cast iron pan is an affordable and sustainable option. Instead of buying expensive seasoning oils, you can simply save the grease from cooking bacon and use it to season your cookware.

How To Properly Season Your Cast Iron Pan With Bacon Grease

Before you start seasoning your cast iron pan with bacon grease, it’s important to clean it properly. Start by washing your pan with hot water and a stiff brush to remove any food residue. Once it’s clean, dry it completely with paper towels.

Next, preheat your oven to 250°F. Take a small amount of bacon grease and spread it over the entire surface of the pan, including the handles. Use a paper towel to spread the grease evenly and remove any excess.

Place the pan in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove it and wipe away any excess grease with a fresh paper towel. Repeat this process at least two more times, making sure to remove as much excess grease as possible each time.

After the final application of bacon grease, increase the oven temperature to 350°F and let the pan bake for an hour. This will help to set the seasoning and create a non-stick surface.

Once the hour is up, increase the oven temperature to 500-550°F and let the pan bake for another hour. This will help to further set the seasoning and create a durable non-stick surface.

After this process is complete, let the pan cool down slowly in the oven. Once it’s cool enough to handle, you can start using your newly seasoned cast iron pan. Remember to always use a little bit of oil or fat when cooking on it to maintain its non-stick qualities.

Tips For Maintaining Your Cast Iron Pan After Seasoning

Once you’ve properly seasoned your cast iron pan, it’s important to maintain it to ensure it lasts for years to come. Here are some tips for maintaining your cast iron pan after seasoning:

1. Clean it properly: After each use, clean your cast iron pan with warm soapy water and a kitchen sponge. Use a synthetic scrubber on the back of the sponge for any stubborn burnt-on bits, but avoid using steel wool as it can damage the seasoning. For stuck-on food, simmer a little water for 3-5 minutes, then use a pan scraper after the pan has cooled.

2. Dry it thoroughly: Moisture is cast iron’s greatest enemy, so it’s important to dry your cast iron well with a clean cloth after washing. Place it on the stovetop over low heat and allow it to dry for a few minutes. Then use a cloth or paper towel to rub it with a thin layer of bacon grease or another neutral high-heat cooking oil. Heat the pan until the fat is just starting to smoke, then turn off the heat and let the pan cool to room temperature.

3. Use The Field Method: For everyday cleaning and care, we recommend The Field Method. After using your cast iron cookware, use a natural fiber cleaning brush to remove loose food and residue. Rinse the pan and gently scuff the surface and sidewalls with a chain mail scrubber. Heat the pan on the stovetop until dry, then wipe away excess oil to leave a dry, matte finish. Repeat every time you cook.

4. Store it properly: Always store your cast iron pan in a dry place to prevent rusting. If you need to stack multiple pans, place a paper towel or cloth between them to prevent scratching.

By following these tips, you can maintain your cast iron pan’s non-stick surface and prolong its lifespan. And with bacon grease as your seasoning agent, you’ll have deliciously seasoned meals every time you cook!

Other Seasoning Options To Consider

While bacon grease is a great option for seasoning cast iron, there are other fats and oils that can be used as well. Some people prefer to use vegetable oils like canola or olive oil, while others swear by flaxseed oil.

Canola oil is a popular choice because it has a high smoke point and is readily available. It’s also relatively neutral in flavor, so it won’t affect the taste of your food. Olive oil, on the other hand, is a healthier option but has a lower smoke point and may leave a slight flavor on your food.

Flaxseed oil is gaining popularity as a seasoning option because it creates a hard, durable surface on the cast iron. However, it’s important to note that flaxseed oil requires multiple layers and can take longer to fully season the pan.

Another option is using lard or vegetable shortening. These fats have been used for centuries in cooking and are still popular among many chefs and home cooks.

Ultimately, the choice of seasoning agent comes down to personal preference. Experiment with different oils and fats to find what works best for you and your cast iron cookware. Just remember to always use a food-grade fat or oil, and avoid using soap or harsh chemicals when cleaning your seasoned cast iron pan.