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How to Make Beef or Pork Dripping From Fat

Mary loves cooking from scratch using natural ingredients. Here she shares some of her favorite recipes and products.

What is Dripping?

Have you ever tried bread and dripping? My husband loves it! If you are a health-conscious person, look away now. The dripping is made from pork or beef fat and is a traditional favorite in some UK households. It became popular during the war but has now fallen out of favor due to health concerns. That may stop a few people, but those that grew up with it still love it and continue to eat it.
Below I will show you how I make it and how my husband eats it. The traditional way is to use the fat dripping from the roasted meat. However, if you don't roast meat, you can use the method I discuss here.
You can still buy dripping in some supermarkets and traditional butcher shops in the UK, but if you can't find it, don't worry, it's easy to prepare and may become one of your favorite toppings for bread or toast.

Ingredients

  • Pork or Beef Fat

Where to Get Beef or Pork Fat

You will need to source fat from beef or pork. If you can't find these for sale, ask at your butcher's shop. If it is a traditional butcher, where the carcass of the animal is cut up, they will have it.
Unless the meat at your grocery store is cut on the premises, they may not have fat available to buy.
Nowadays, it seems pork chops and steaks are trimmed, as many feel it's healthier. If you do have a surplus fat around a pork chop or beef roast, cut this away and save it for this recipe. These cut-offs can be kept in the freezer until you have accumulated enough to make it worthwhile cooking.

Also, ask farmers you may know, where you can purchase either beef or pork fat.

Pork fat

Pork fat

Instructions for Making Beef or Pork Drippings

  1. Remove any gristle or sinew from the fat.
  2. Place the pieces of fat in a frying pan and begin frying slowly. The fat will begin to melt away into the pan. This process is called rendering. Don't forget to use a splatter guard when frying to avoid the fat being spat over you and your stove top.
  3. Pour this hot fat into the container you will be using to store it in. This can be a bowl or a jar but not a plastic container or it will melt as you pour the hot fat into it. A glass jar such as Pyrex is best. Continue slowly frying and pouring off the fat. If you have a gas stove, don't let the fat drip onto the flame, you'll get a flare up!
  4. When the fat has cooked out as much as possible you will be left with some pieces of crisp fat. Chop these into small pieces and also put into the mixture. This will be adding flavor and crunchiness to your dripping. This is optional, you can leave it out if you prefer a smooth mixture.
  5. Leave your dripping to cool and then cover with plastic wrap. Once cooled, this can go in refrigerator.
cooked pork fat

cooked pork fat

How to Eat Beef or Pork Dripping

After cooling, you will notice that the mixture has separated into a top fat layer and a jelly-like layer at the bottom. The flavorful jelly layer is the residue of the beef/pork juices.
My husband prefers to eat it on toast. Either wholemeal or white bread will work well with this. Cut down through the mixture to get a combination of the two layers, the fat, and the jelly. Spread thinly on toast and add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy.

Bread and Dripping as a Gift

It would make a thoughtful gift for someone who loves bread and dripping since it isn't readily available to buy. Place it in a decorative jar and put a gift tag on it.
During the war in England, this became a staple in many households and still has a loyal following of fans.

Questions & Answers

Question: I read that what this recipe produces is not dripping, but lard. Is this true?

Answer: Yes and no. Dripping can be from beef or pig fat, whereas lard is pig fat.

In my article, I am using the pig fat but I could just have easily used beef fat. Ideally, for dripping, you want it from a roast or a joint of meat which has been in the oven. (not a pot roast).

The way I have highlighted in this article is quicker but less tasty.

Question: How long would this pork dripping keep?

Answer: I never make more than can be consumed in a few servings. However, according to cooksinfo.com it will keep for 9 months in the refrigerator.

Question: Can I make crispy roast potatoes from using pork dripping?

Answer: I can't see why you couldn't. Remember it would have initially been lard, then it went on to a solid oils. Now most people use a liquid oil such as vegetable oil. However, for the best roast potatoes, goose fat is preferred.

Question: Is the fat around kidneys suitable for beef or pork dripping?

Answer: It's a great question and one I can't answer as I have never tried it. When I have purchased kidneys, there wasn't a lot of fat in them. Whether this had been removed at the butchers, I don't know.

There is nothing stopping you from trying. Kidneys have such a strong flavor that the surrounding fat may also taste stronger. That is great if you enjoy kidneys, but if you don't, it may be off-putting. If you do use it, come back and let us know how it turned out.

© 2012 Mary Wickison

Have you tried bread and dripping?

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on August 24, 2020:

I like that idea of using it in other ways. I can imagine it adds a lot of flavor to pasta etc.

I think most countries probably have a similar use of the fat and jelly. Thanks for letting us know how they use it in Poland.

Diana Brown on August 24, 2020:

This is very similar to the Polish version of Smalec, pronounced Smaletz... With the exception that Smalec is seasoned with salt and pepper and either finely chopped onions or meat juice concentrate from reduced boiled bones and jelly.... Absolutely delicious and besides eating with bread can be used to fry, roast and a topping for pasta, pierogi etc

Jackie on August 08, 2020:

It’s delicious, my grandfather used to have bread and dripping for breakfast and do a full days work doing heavy work in the steel mills, so it must be nutritious

Gezzer on April 14, 2020:

When I was a kid in the late 50's, we were lucky enough to usually have a family roast joint on a Sunday lunchtime. My sister and I would be making mud pies or something in the back garden and, about a hour or so before 'dinner' was due to be served, our mother would callus in. She would be basting the joint or whatever and would give us each a slice of white bread which she had dunked in the hot juices from the joint and sprinkled with a little salt ...heaven!

Jim on April 13, 2020:

In my youth I worked in a traditional butchers shop where full meat breaks were performed, this butcher wasted nothing, he made the full range of small goods and offal. All the trimmed fat from the Beef or Pork was kept separately until required for RENDERING. Tommy used a large gas boiler. Water was poured to about wrist height in the bottom of the boiler and brought to to the boil and the heat reduced,The water was to prevent the fat burning, any waste and sediment sinks to the bottom. The fat was then added to the boiler more fat was added as the first lot melted down. The process took around three hours.The clear Beef Dripping or Pork Lard was then ladled into Grease proof cups and set in the refrigerator for display and sale in the shop, Dripping was widely used for frying and was used as a butter substitute. ( Bread and Dripping sandwiches were common)

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on April 21, 2019:

Hi Keith,

You and my husband are of the same generation. He still adores it while I tuck into a salad!

Enjoy!

Keith Daniels on April 21, 2019:

Growing up in London Post WW2 we would have bread and dripping sandwiches to take to school or straight from the bowl especially when we could scrape up the gold (jelly) from the bottom. Thanks for the recipe I need to make some for our Yorkshire pudding.

lukee88 on November 26, 2018:

yeah i love dripping , my dad makes the really good stuff some pork joints are better than others, they have to have a good piece of fat on the top, then he takes the grill inner bit the wirey thing then lays it on that, in a baking tray and roasts it, i think it might be the crackling joints, 10 times better than the dripping you can buy, more of that brown jelly than lard mmmmmmmyum. on bread with a bit of salt if needed and a tiny bit of pepper. and i like to put it on the carved meat and just warm it through a bit, it makes the white pork go a brown mottled colour, its like pork ambrosia so delicious.

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on February 04, 2018:

My husband has a pot of it in the fridge even now.

I'm glad you're still eating it and enjoying it.

Thanks for reading and your comment.

Sheila; on February 04, 2018:

I grew up in England during World War 11--and on bread and dripping. LOVE it. What's more, I never gave it up even when animal fats were anathema!

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on December 20, 2017:

Yes, you're right and if I was preparing this in the oven, I would do just that as it results in a tastier dripping. It seems fewer people nowadays take the time to roast a joint on a bone. I think this is due in part to the time when you couldn't get meat on the bone in the UK because of 'Mad Cow' disease.

In a frying pan though everything is quicker and I have found that leaving the gristle and sinew in are of no benefit.

These days, when everyone seems to be in a hurry, I think it's good to give people an option.

Thanks for your comment.

Bodragon on December 18, 2017:

You want to keep the sinew and gristle when rendering as these contain the collagen needed to obtain the gelatin that makes the tasty jelly that collects at the bottom when solidifying the dripping.

Bread and dripping without the jelly?

No way Andre!

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on December 04, 2017:

Hi T.C.

Although my husband enjoys it, I'm not a fan myself. You can keep the fat from the meat and fry it (render) the fat out.

Keep at it and you'll soon be enjoying it again.

Thanks for reading and your comment.

T.C. on December 04, 2017:

My dad introduced me to beef dripping on toast when I was a young 'un, try to make it now by laying fat over a roasting joint does not work as well, when it does I'm in heaven , my wife won't try it thinks it's gross, no taste some people, thanks for memory

stee on November 03, 2017:

I love ❤ dripping with jelly

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on November 15, 2016:

Here on our farm we eat home cooked food. We rarely buy processed foods and we produce a lot of fruit and veg. It is though we have stepped back to the 1950s.

When we first arrived, 8 years ago, all the local kids were slim and healthy. fast forward now they drink Coke and eat packets of potato chips (crisps) and are getting fat.

My husband loves bread and dripping and he'll continue to eat it.

Thanks for reading and your comment.

les on November 15, 2016:

i have to smille at those who say its unhealthy,during hard times it was a life saver and no fat kids where i lived.les ps please adopt me.

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on January 10, 2014:

I am glad to hear that, it really holds a place in the hearts of many. Thanks for reading and commenting. I hope you are staying warm up there. Here in Brazil it is 30°C (87°F) today. :-)

Robin on January 10, 2014:

I live in Nova Scotia and was born well after the war. I remember having supper at my grandparents every sunday with salt cod, boiled potatoes and pork drippings. Loved it and still do.

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on September 22, 2013:

Hi Maureen,

This has brought back many fond memories for people. My husband loves it but I can't bring myself to eat it.

Maureen on September 21, 2013:

Just finished watching DVD Land Girls during World War 2. I was born in UK 1937 and left to come to Aussie land 1951. I still remember during and after the war Mum giving me Bread & Dripping for my tea. Lovely with salt sprinkled on it. Have not had this since leaving the UK but the DVD Land Girls brought back memories for me. Lovely Bread & Dripping.

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on January 22, 2013:

Hello Maggs,

Thanks for the vote. This hub has taken a few people down memory lane I think. Some foods have gone out of fashion I fear, or else there is just less profit to be made by big companies and so they tell us not to eat those.

Which is worse though eating processed manufactured foods or the occasional portion of bread and dripping.

Wonderful to hear from you and thanks again.

maggs224 from Sunny Spain on January 22, 2013:

I love bread and dripping and as a child in Britain just after the war I can remember when I would fetch the meat for our Sunday joint from our local butcher he use to often put a piece of fat in with the joint .

After the joint of meat was roasted the juices and fat would be poured from the roasting pan into a small basin.

The fat which had been placed on top of the meat which kept the meat basted would be rendered right down and look similar to the crispy port fat in your photo.

Because the meat and the fat had been seasoned before roasting this crispy fat was eaten and enjoyed by me as often as I could get hold of it because it was very tasty indeed.

Thank you for this little voyage down memory lane that you have taken me on through your delightful hub.

I will be voting this hub up and hitting the relevant buttons on my way out regards Maggs

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on November 14, 2012:

Hello Phdast7,

I think this just goes to prove that with exercise, you can pretty much eat what you want. It may have fat but I think that is better than something artificially made.

Thanks for the comment.

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on March 04, 2012:

You are so right good memories. Both my grandmothers made and served this, one from Poland, the other from the deep south. When they served this it was with lots of garden vegetables on the side, and after a long hard day of physical labor on the farm. They never had cholesterol problems and lived into their late 70's and 80's. I spent time with both grandmothers and your article brought back lots of memories. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future, :)

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on February 29, 2012:

It appears this has brought back a lot of memories for people. Enjoy it and thanks for stopping by.

jimmy on February 29, 2012:

what a beaut memory, my dad was famous for his fried bread. drippings from nights before spread on fresh bread and pan fried for supper. guess what im' having tonight, thank you.

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on February 15, 2012:

Drats! I've been simply eating the fat on the edge of a roast or a pork chop when I could've put it aside to make this yummy one-off dish! You can be sure that won't happen again. I *have* to try this! Maybe I already have. Something about this sounds vaguely familiar... I know my mother never made it, but pretty sure two aunts on my dad's side did when I was a child, so I would've had when visiting them.

I agree with Gordon. Wouldn't recommend this as daily fare, but as an occasional treat, sure! ;D

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on February 15, 2012:

Hello

Thanks for the comments. George my husband would agree with you about being a man of taste and culture. LOL

I think it is true some of the fast foods are worse for our health than traditional home-cooked fare. When you taste food as it was originally prepared, you realize how much we have lost in our strive for convenience.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 14, 2012:

This hub brought back so many memories! I never eat bread and dripping now, but I loved it when I was a child in Britain - especially when the bread was toasted. I still remember its delicious taste. It was one of my favorite meals!

Gordon Hamilton from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on February 14, 2012:

Hello, Blond Logic

I am of the generation after that one born during the war (my parents were both born just before WWII) but well I remember my Gran using beef dripping to make chips and making a, "Piece and dripping!" It sounds so off-putting to modern generations and is not the healthiest of concoctions but the reality is that it's a million times healthier than that fast food, burger muck! Saturated fats aplenty - but not a modern day, trans fat in sight ;)

A piece and dripping (pure beef fat) is a wonderfully tasty production and brings a tear to the corner of my eye with the childhood memories it conjures up. Provided it is not eaten as the centrepiece of a diet, I see nothing wrong in the occasional indulgence.

Your husband is clearly a man of taste and culture! :)