Preheat oven to 450 F. Add 2 tablespoons of bacon fat to a 12" cast iron skillet and place skillet in oven while preheating.
Add dry ingredients to large mixing bowl - cornmeal, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, add buttermilk and eggs and whisk together.
Pour buttermilk mixture into bowl with cornmeal and mix well.
Pour bacon fat into cornbread batter and mix well.
Add 3 more tablespoons of bacon fat to skillet and return to oven until very hot (about 5 minutes).
Pour cornbread batter into hot skillet. Place skillet in oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, until set and lightly golden.
Be sure that your skillet is very hot before adding the batter. You don't want to gently bake this like a cake, but rather almost fry it in the oven. Well, at least when the batter hits the oil.
To achieve that beautiful golden color, you really want to stay away from white cornmeal. While it will still work, the color will be more pale.
Can I use butter instead of bacon fat? Yes, really any oil will work here. But I prefer to use one with animal fat like bacon fat, lard, or butter. If you're using butter, you'll want to heat the pan first, then add butter or it will burn. Once the butter is melted, immediately add the batter. If you're using bacon fat or lard, you want to be sure to make sure it's screaming hot before pouring in the batter. Can I make this sweet like I'm used to having cornbread? Of course! If I were to make this a sweet version, I would add 1 tablespoon of sugar for every cup of cornmeal - so, in this recipe, 3 tablespoons of sugar (or even honey!)What if I don't have a cast iron skillet? This recipe will work baked in a 13x9 casserole dish. However, I would cook it a little differently. Preheat the oven to 400F rather than 450F. Spray your dish with nonstick cooking spray. And this is an instance where I would add 4 tablespoons of melted butter to the batter rather than bacon fat.