There’s no place I’d rather be on a holiday weekend than out in the woods playing in a creek. Unfortunately, Tropical Storm Alberto had other plans for us. While stuck indoors for a drizzly day, I decided to play around with one of my other projects instead.
A diligent carnivore, I like to make bacon. Over time, the grease accumulates faster than I can use it cooking. As such, I’ve got haphazardly filled jars laying around, and, finally tired of the sight, I decided to make something. Bacon candles.
They’re not really bacon candles, but they do come from bacon. Once upon a time on the prairie, settlers used the excess lard to make candles. Thanks to “Fight Club”, I also know you can use lard to make soap, but I’m not quite ready to take that leap. Maybe next batch.
A cursory search of online blogs yielded a simple process. First, render the fat. Then pour the fat. Then, voila! Candles.
Since I keep a running stock of small jars in the house, the only extra thing I needed was the candle wick. While grabbing the easy press & stick wicks at Michael’s, I decided to get some beeswax too since I wan’t terribly certain of the consistency of a lard candle.
Since my fat was already separated, I didn’t need to perform the rendering process exactly, but I did want to clarify the fat. Essentially, you perform the rendering process again to try to remove any cracklins or impurities. Heat the fat with a cup or two of water giving it at leas 15-20 minutes to steep. Keep a watch on it to ensure the fat doesn’t boil, though letting the water boil off will help the separation.
Once you’ve let the mixture combine, pour it into a bowl to let the fat separate from the water. I poured mine through a coffee filter and strainer to keep out the big impurities. It’s slow, but it still strains. The fat will collect on top with the water and impurities collecting on the bottom. I did it in a glass vase to show the separation better. If you do use glass, keep in mind extreme temperature changes could crack or break it. Aka, don’t pour the boiling hot fat mixture into a cold glass vase, and then don’t go immediately put it in the freezer.
Other websites will tell you to let the fat separate overnight. I’m impatient. After a couple of hours in the refrigerator, I put it in the freezer to hurry it along. The fat solidified into a buttery consistency making it easy to separate
Once you’re done rendering and separating the fat, the actual candle making process is easy. Heat the fat once again, adding other components like the beeswax if you want. You can also add essential oils to scent your candles. Attach the wick to the bottom of the glasses and wrap it around a pencil to hold it straight while the candle dries. Pour the mixture in filling it as high as you like. Let it cool, and voila! You’ve made bacon candles, though if you’ve done it right, you won’t be able to tell their origin.