I've never been a huge fan of burning candles, but after watching a $29 Yankee candle for the last two weeks, I had developed an appreciation for them.
After frying some bacon, I considered the leftover bacon grease and realized this by-product could be the main ingredient for a new candle project: The bacon candle.
I needed more bacon fat, a jar and a wick.
Safeway provided the bacon. One pound of strips would suit my needs.
The dollar store provided the perfect jar and a wick, encased in a cheap taper candle.
I fried the bacon, a process which melted away the white fat from the bacon and left the delicious strips of bacon. We maintain a strictly vegetarian diet at our house, so we chopped up the bacon and used them as garnish on our salads.
While the bacon oil was still warm, I poured it directly into the empty jar. As it cooled, it solidified a bit and became opaque.
Once the oil was cooled, I measured the height and cut the taper candle to a height just above the surface of the bacon fat. I used a PVC pipe cutter, so that I could get a nice flat base. This donor wick would be surrounded by thick fat, but I didn't want to take any chances with having it tip over once the fat started to melt.
I could have tried pouring the oil into the jar around the donor candle, but that seemed like a sloppy operation. Instead I just poked the candle stub into the fat, missing the exact center, but getting the height just right.
I could have also used a single birthday candle.
Now all I had to do was to light the candle!
Candles work by having a small flame burning just above a block of solid fuel, usually wax. The flame melts the fuel into a liquid, which saturates the wick and is sucked up the wick into the bottom of the flame, where it is vaporized and burned.
The candle worked great! The tiny flame heated up the fat and re-melted it into a wide pool of oil.
The oil from pork isn't much different from regular wax candles, in case you are wondering. In fact, I'll bet that worldwide, more household flames are burning animal fats than are burning wax. And I'll bet that no wax candle can make your house smell this delicious.
Bacon candles are probably a bit more dangerous than wax candles. You'll have to stay diligent to make sure that it doesn't tip over when your cat starts to eat it.