The One Thing You Should NEVER Do When You Cook Bacon

It's even worse than you think.

09/21/2015 07:00 am ET | Updated Dec 17, 2015

There's often a debate amongst bacon lovers about how to deal with the leftover grease. Some feel that it should never be discarded, because so many great recipes can be made with bacon grease. Others prefer to just toss it. We're not here to pass judgment on which of those two camps you fall into, but we are here to tell you there's a right and a wrong way to toss out the grease (if that's what you do).

There's one thing you should never do when cooking bacon, and that's discard the grease down the drain. We've all heard this before, and most of us (usually) adhere to it, but not many of us know why. And knowing why will ensure that you never consider the quick grease-down-the-drain solution again.

Prepare yourself, because THIS is what happens.

Pradit_Ph via Getty Images

Nasty stuff. That's a pipe that's been blocked with hardened fat. No matter how quickly you pour hot water down the drain after pouring grease down it, the fats will eventually cool, harden and then eventually build up until they completely block a pipe. (There's a scientific reason this happens.) This is bad news if it happens in your home, and it's really bad news when it happens in the sewers. These kinds of build ups are responsible for 47 percent of the approximately 36,000 sewer overflows that happen every year in the U.S. So, let's not do that. 

Instead, learn how to properly get rid of the grease. There are many different ways to do this, all of them working with equal effectiveness and the same guiding principle. Allow the grease to cool and then harden -- you can do this in the pan or pour it into another container to cool -- so that you can throw it in the trash.

If you allow the grease to cool in the pan, scrape out as much as you can into the trash and then wipe the pan clean with a paper towel before washing the pan in the sink. Every little bit counts. If you have poured the grease into another container to cool, you can store it in the freezer or fridge and toss it once it hardens. Or, hold on to the container and add to it every time you cook bacon, tossing only once it gets full.

Either way, trash it -- don't drain it. The world will be a less smelly place for it. And you'll be able to enjoy bacon without wondering when you'll experience your next drain clog.

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