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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fat washing

Well, so... I promised I wouldn't post on bacon again... but...

I discovered a rather cool thing on Chowhound a while back. I haven't had time to try it until rather recently. It's called fat washing. Basically, you take the fat left from bacon (or any other source) and mix it with your alcohol of choice. Let it infuse for a spell, and then freeze it to harden the fat, and pass it through cheesecloth to remove the chunks of fat. What you have left behind is the flavour of the fat in the alcohol, without the scum of a separate layer of fat floating on top.

Essentially, the vanilla that we use in baking is an alcohol infusion. You extract the essences of vanilla into alcohol (brandy, generally). It pulls the alcohol-soluble flavourful vanillins into the alcohol, but you don't have the solid bits of vanilla in there. Fat washing does the same thing, but instead of vanilla - you use - well - fat.

It's kind of gross sounding. But kinda good sounding, too. So I had to try it. I used a Woodford Reserve bourbon. I mixed about 2/3 of a cup of bourbon with the drippings from 15 or so strips of cooked, homemade bacon. I mixed them, and let them sit in the fridge for a day, and then in the freezer for a few hours. I passed the bourbon through cheesecloth, and let it warm to room temperature (to ensure that I could do an accurate comparison with the non-treated bourbon). I thought the difference would be subtle - wow was I ever wrong.

HOLY SMOKES!!! No, really. The bacon-bourbon was smokey. And fattish. It mellowed the sweet side of the bourbon, and made it a more smokey scotch-like flavour. It was kind of good, in an unrefined way. I wouldn't want to do it frequently, but as a change of pace, it was quite nice. I bet it would be great in a mixed cocktail. All in all, it's another way to add bacon to your diet. And something to talk about during those awkward silences with your coworkers.


  1. Was there any greasy mouthfeel left over? I've been wanting to try this, but for that concern.

  2. Nope, no greasy mouth feel, and no sign of lingering fat in the drink. The smell and flavour were very smokey. All the fat comes out when you freeze and filter it.