The Safest, Quickest Way to Get Hot Grease Out of a Pan

The Safest, Quickest Way to Get Hot Grease Out of a Pan

I am a bit of a grease hoarder, a habit I come by honestly. My grandmother kept a fairly substantial crock of the bacon grease right next to the stove, and every day she would top it off with the fat that rendered out that morning’s bacon. (I’m sure the grease at the bottom of the crock was iffy, but we never made it down that far.)

I keep my personal bacon grease in small Pyrex containers in the fridge, but I hoard it all the same. It is the only grease I am so precious with — I do not save nor clean vegetable oil, canola oil, or olive oil. Usually if I have a lot left in the pan, I’ll let it cool a bit, then pour it into a plastic bottle I have set aside for this exact purpose. This works well, but there are also those times you need the hot oil out of the pan quickly, and pouring hot, liquid grease into a plastic bottle is decidedly not the move.

Luckily, your kitchen is already stocked with everything you need to quickly rid yourself of a puddle of hot grease, because all you need is some sodium bicarbonate, commonly referred to as “baking soda.” The powder will absorb the grease while preventing potential grease fires as a bonus. (Baking soda releases carbon dioxide when heated, and unlike oxygen, carbon dioxide does not support combustion.) Also, while baking soda has some grit to it, it’s fine enough that it won’t scratch your cookware, even pieces coated with Teflon or another nonstick coating.

The process is simple: Dump some baking soda onto the grease puddle, let it sit for a few minutes, then stir it up and scrape it out. (The grease paste will still be a little hot, so don’t scrape it into a plastic container.) And while you could just pour the hot, liquid grease directly into a heat-safe container, the baking soda has the added benefit of snuffing out any still smoking bits within it, as well as rendering the fat into a less splashy paste, which means you are less likely to spill hot grease on yourself or around your kitchen. Once it has cooled, toss the grease paste in the trash. Wash or wipe your pan or pot as usual.

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