You know that saying about how it’s better to light a bacon-fat candle than to curse the non-bacon-scented darkness? I’d like to help you live your best, brightest, most bacony life with this guide to making your own bacon-fat candles at home. Yes, you could simply fill a mason jar or empty tin can with bacon, stick a wick in it, and set it ablaze, but it’ll burn up pretty quickly and look sorta blah. The addition of beeswax, color, and a modicum of technique leaves you with a longer-burning candle with a little bit of nuance on the nose, and an amusing resemblance to actual bacon.
Save up your grease (or make a big batch and save the meat to make bacon salt), and spend a gloriously scented afternoon making bacon candles to share with your most pork-appreciating pals.
DIY Bacon Candles
Note: If you don’t want to go through the trouble of creating the layers, just go with the blend of beeswax, bacon, and red dye. For an extra-breakfasty layer, use candle scent oil like cinnamon bun, coffee, or vanilla.
½ pint bacon grease (2 to 3 pounds of bacon, depending on fat content)
1 pound beeswax
1 square red wax dye
3 half-pint jars
3 candle wick bases
5 wooden chopsticks or dowels
Pot large enough to fit 3 half-pint jars
How to Make It
Assemble 3 clean, empty, room-temperature pint jars. Cut wicks to 2” longer than the height of the jars and fasten one end to the wick bottom.
Use saved bacon grease (you do save your bacon grease, right?) or render fat from bacon and strain it through cheesecloth into a clean jar to remove any particles or meat. Repeat as needed. (This will prevent sputtering and keep the candles from going rancid more quickly.)
Place 3 jars in pot, and fill the pot with warm water to surround the jars around ⅔ of the way up, leaving jars empty. Fill 1 jar with bacon grease, 1 with chunks of beeswax, and leave the third empty.
Heat the pot over a low flame to melt the grease and wax. When both have reached a liquid state, pour half the bacon grease and half of the beeswax into the empty jar and stir with chopstick or dowel to blend. Then add red dye until the mixture reaches your desired level of pinkness. Leave the burner on low, periodically adding water and stirring. Add more beeswax to the beeswax jar as needed.
Place the wick base at the bottom of an empty jar. Take the top end of the wick, wind it around the chopstick or dowel, and roll until it is flush with the top of the jar. Lightly tape the curled wick to the wood, then the wood to the edge of the jar to fix it in place. With another chopstick or dowel, hold the wick base against the bottom of the jar and using a jar lifter or oven mitt to handle the hot jar, pour in just enough beeswax to fix it in place. Let it cool.
Once the first layer of beeswax has cooled, pour in a thin layer, then lift the jar and swirl it, making sure to lightly coat the sides slightly upward from where the wax would naturally settle. Once that has mostly cooled, pour in a layer of the beeswax blend, and repeat the swirling motion and cooling. From there, alternate layers of beeswax, blend, and plain bacon grease until a bacon-like appearance is achieved. Finish off with a final layer of beeswax, ¼ to ½ inch below the jar lip.
Let cool for several hours, then remove tape and slide the dowel out so wick retains a pigtail-like coil. Seal with a lid and label. Repeat until you have filled all three jars or used up all the wax.
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