A few weeks ago, I joined my good friend Cara for an evening of bacon, eggs, and Night Mimosas (mimosas consumed, perhaps trashily, after 7 p.m.). We were celebrating a bit of good news the way all distinguished ladies do: by eating breakfast for dinner.
After Cara fried up the bacon and sloshed out a few Night Mimosas, I volunteered for egg-frying duty. I sidled up to her skillet, which was, to my delight, full of rapidly hardening bacon grease. Cara apologized and offered to wash out the skillet. I looked her dead in the eye, shook my head slowly, and cracked five eggs directly into the pan. She watched wide-eyed as I spent the next five minutes slugging a Night Mimosa and flinging grease over the tops of the eggs. The result: five perfect eggs with runny yolks, lacy edges, little crispy brown bits up top, and perfectly pillowy whites.
Cara was stunned. She had never seen anyone baste an egg in bacon grease. This concerned me, as I had always assumed bacon-basting was a common practice. It’s my preferred egg variation; my mom does it, and her mom did it before her. But I realize now that not all families engage in reckless full-fat cooking for three meals a day, seven days a week. If, like Cara, you grew up in a low-to-moderate-fat household, this is my plea: start frying up your eggs in bacon fat. You won’t regret it.
First, bacon grease is a turbo-charged flavor delivery rocket. Sure, eggs are tasty on their own, and butter or oil will also add a perfectly pleasant flavor to a fried egg. But an egg fried in bacon grease is a truly next-level breakfast experience. Flavor aside, if you’re cooking breakfast, bacon grease is oftentimes already there. You don’t have to wash your skillet. You don’t have to shuffle to the pantry to acquire a container of processed cooking oil. You can throw your eggs right into the bacon skillet without dirtying another dish. Think of the time you’ll save!
Finally, bacon grease is versatile, and a batch of bacon usually leaves you with plenty of it. If you’d rather not use all the grease to baste/drown your eggs (can’t relate, but that’s fine), you can always save half of the grease for other uses. Reserved grease can be used to roast vegetables, create a succulent gravy base, fry up an exquisite grilled cheese, or add some extra flavor to mashed potatoes. You can even make cookies with it.
Of course, frying your eggs in bacon grease isn’t necessarily a heart-healthy endeavor. There’s always the possibility that cured meats could be mildly carcinogenic; one recipe writer even refers to bacon-basted eggs as Heart Attack Eggs. But what’s the alternative? Your life is, what, four minutes longer, and you spend that entire time craving eggs fried in bacon grease? That’s no way to live.