You will not believe me when I show you how easy it is to render lard.
It is sooooooo simple. It is sooooooo uncomplicated. You will want to get some pork fat today so you can render it.
First of all we must address the question everyone is asking:
“Won’t it clog my arteries?”
If the fat comes from a pig that lived in a pasture in the sunshine and ate a nutritious diet, that lard will be one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Especially when it comes to fats.
Lard from pastured pigs is low in bad fats (saturated) and high in good fats (unsaturated). It even contains the cancer fighting wonderfat CLA. Another remarkable quality of pork fat is the amount of vitamin D it contains. Pigs have an unmatched ability to suck vitamin D from the sun and put it in thier fat. All that vitamin D is in the fat, which is in the lard rendered from it.
Not only is the lard good for you, it is practically unbeatable when it comes to cooking. It behaves at high temperatures. Is perfect for frying. Makes flakey wonderful pie crusts.
Lard is my #1 favorite oil to cook with. I fry ham in lard. I fry eggs in lard. I fry burgers in lard. I fry steaks in lard. I fry potatoes in lard. Give me a cast iron skillet and some lard and I got dinner done.
I seem to talk about fat all the time. If your still not convinced or want to hear more go:
- here – 4 Reasons to Eat Fat
- here – Why You Should Eat The Grease on Your Soup
- here – 10 Reasons Why You Should Save the Bacon Grease
Lard is awesome.
Let’s make some!
Let me first demystify what “rendering” is. It means melting. All we are going to do is melt some fat. That’s it. I’m pretty sure you got this!
Heat the oven to 280 degrees.
I cheat. See how lovely and fluffy my lard appears? That is because my wonderful processor ran it through his giant meat grinder for me. If your pork fat is in one giant hunk – it’s OK. You will still be able to render it perfectly into lard.
Here’s your choices:
- Dice it into 1/4 inch cubes and hate life.
- Cut it into 1 inch cubes and hate life for less time.
- Throw the whole dang hunk into the pan and go for it.
Remember, we are just melting the fat. The fat will melt whether you chop it to smithereens or not. The chopping speeds up the melting process.
Once you are finished dicing (or not dicing) put the pork fat into some giant roasting pans and stick them in the oven uncovered. Be sure to turn the fan above your stove on high while rendering lard.
Did I mention that we raise pigs? Every summer? I have a lot of pork fat.
Go here to see my stinky pigs.
In 30 minutes you will begin to see the fat melting, like a giant, greasy iceberg.
In an hour, mine has almost completely melted (thanks to the grinding).
In order to speed things up you can take a potato masher and squash the bits of fat that aren’t melted yet.
After 2 hours my lard is done. There will be bits of meat at the bottom of your pan. Don’t worry, this is normal. It’s nearly impossible to remove every vein of pork running through the fat.
When the lard is done there will be nothing but oil and browned bits of meat in the roasting pan.
These bits of browned meat that come from rendering lard are called, “cracklings.” Some people actually eat these. Alton Brown says, “They are the best snack on earth.” He can have mine.
Taste like crunchy oil to me.
Use a slotted spoon to remove most of the cracklings. You can move these to a paper towel to drain if you want to eat them. If you are like me, transfer them straight into the chicken bow.
Last, strain it! You can use cheese cloth, a fine mesh strainer, a dish towel and a funnel, or a milk filter. I have 8000 milk filters, so I use those.
The lard is strained and in jars. Beautiful!
Wipe the rims, place lids and rings on top of your jars.
Tomorrow it will be snow white.
Lard can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 months, or in the freezer indefinitely.
Just in case you are wondering if you should use the stove-top method or the crock-pot method, I’ll go ahead and help you out on this. If you chose to render your lard on your stove-top in a giant pot this is what your life will look like for the next week:
- There will be grease on your counters
- There will be grease on your stove
- There will be grease on your floors
- There will be grease on your face
- There will be grease on your window sills
- There will be grease on your refrigerator
- There will be grease on your island
- There will be grease on your cabinets
- There will be grease on your door knobs
- There will be grease on your cabinet handles
- There will be grease on your furniture
- There will be grease on your life
Render the pork fat in the oven with the fan (exiting the house if possible) on high. This way your world will not be covered in a layer of pig grease. Yipee!
Here’s the recipe:
- Pork fat
- Roasting Pan
- Potato masher
- Slotted spoon
- Cheese cloth, fine mesh strainer, or milk filter for straining
Slice pork fat into cubes for faster melting. Place cubes in roasting pan and put in 280 degree oven. Turn the fan above the stove on high. Smash pieces of fat during cooking to speed up melting. When all the fat is melted and the cracklings are lightly brown remove the pan from the oven. Use slotted spoon to remove most of the cracklings. Strain lard into jars and place lids & rings. Let cool. Store in refrigerator 4 months or in freezer indefinitely.
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