When you cook bacon or chicken, the rendered fat left behind in the pan is loaded with flavor so don't throw it out. Use it to add complexity to dishes like this cornbread. To save fat, let it cool slightly, then strain into an airtight container and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and eggs together in a medium bowl. Fold the wet ingredients into the cornmeal mixture until just combined; set aside.
Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat. When the skillet is smoking-hot, turn off the heat and add the fat, carefully stirring it around the pan as it melts. Pour the melted fat into the cornmeal batter and stir to combine. (Do not wipe out the skillet.) Pour the cornmeal mixture into the hot skillet (batter will sizzle) and bake until the edges are golden brown and the center bounces back when pressed with a finger, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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