Although some people do consider eating bacon to be a religious experience (hahaha!), we here at Bacon Up would never claim to be spiritual advisors in any way. But there is a question about bacon grease and the Church that comes up a lot this time of year, so we did some research and thought we’d share it with you.
Let’s start with two basic facts:
- We know that fish (or any seafood, really) deep-fried or skillet-fried in Bacon Up Bacon Grease is absolutely delicious.
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- We know that many people, especially if they’re Catholic, abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent.
SO — the question is: Can you fry/cook with bacon grease on a Lenten Friday and still be in good stead with the rules for abstaining from eating meat?!?
We checked several sources and found lots of gray area on the issue. But eventually, the definitive source – the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) — shed some light on the subject. Although, honestly, even their statement requires you to make a judgment call.
The following is a direct excerpt from the Q&A section about Lent on the USCCB website (emphasis added): (http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/questions-and-answers-about-lent.cfm)
Q: I understand that all the Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat, but I’m not sure what is classified as meat. Does meat include chicken and dairy products?
A: Abstinence laws consider that meat comes only from animals such as chickens, cows, sheep or pigs — all of which live on land. Birds are also considered meat. Abstinence does not include meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consomme, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are technically not forbidden. However, moral theologians have traditionally taught that we should abstain from all animal-derived products (except foods such as gelatin, butter, cheese and eggs, which do not have any meat taste).Fish are a different category of animal. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, (cold-blooded animals) and shellfish are permitted.
Therefore, the letter of the law clearly permits the use of bacon grease as a cooking oil for fish or seafood. But, perhaps, the spirit of the law suggests against it. So, it may come down to your own interpretation of obedience.
If it helps you decide, we’ll offer one more bit of information from our family’s experience. After many years of frying fish, turkey, chicken wings, etc. in bacon grease, it is our opinion that using bacon grease enhances the flavor of anything fried in it, giving it a richer, fuller taste with more complexity — but it does NOT make food taste like bacon. So technically, frying in bacon grease may very well meet even the stricter standard of avoiding animal –derived products that have a meat taste. We’ll leave it to you to make the call!
About Bacon Up:
Bacon Up is 100% authentic bacon grease, triple-filtered for purity and shelf-stable for two years. It is the convenient, ready-to-go way to enhance the flavor of anything you Fry, Cook, or Bake – without the mess, expense or time of frying pounds of bacon. Use it instead of butter, shortening, or cooking oil, to add next-level flavor to your favorite recipes. It’s perfect for deep-frying or sautéing fish, shrimp, scallops, and more! Currently available in select retail locations as well as on Amazon.