Maybe you have heard that lard is not so bad for you as a matter of fact it might even be healthy! (big surprise)!
So when you get pork (or visit the butcher for fat) you need to make that jump from “pig fat” to useable lard… How do you render lard? This is a great question and there are lots and lots of answers all over the internet. There’s really no “right” way and the only “wrong” way is to burn or scorch the lard resulting in a bad tasting end product.
The simplest technique we use is the crock pot method in the garage. (but the logic can work for stove top oven or microwave rendering too). We really like the crock pot method because by design of the crock pot, it’s not going to overheat the lard and scald it. Even better the crock pot in the garage keeps the rendering smells out of the house. Some people like it, personally, we may move the next rendering batch to the barn!
Basically there are a few simple steps to create this healthy fat for your family.
- Chop the lard into chunks (you can grind it too but I like to fish out the big cracklins on the chunks)
- Toss it all into the crock pot
- Set the crock pot on low - like the 10 hour setting
- Come back in 9 hours and reset the crock pot for another 10 hours (if there is still bubbling when you stir things up)
- The bubbling is the water escaping and that’s what rendering is all about - getting the water out of the fat. Keep in mind the amount of fat you are rendering will determine when there’s no water let and when you can start to decant off the golden liquid of yummieness.
- When there is little to no bubbling in the crockpot when you stir and submerge the fat chunks that are in there you are ready to start taking some of the golden liquid off (decanting)
- Into a glass container you will ladle the golden liquid through several layers of cheese cloth (be careful - this is HOT oil)
- Cap the jar and place in refrigerator or freezer. (lard likely will keep at room temp like it did in the “olden days” but you might as well take advantage of those electric appliances and keep your lard fresher)
- Allow any remaining chunks to continue to render down and remove additional golden liquid as you can.
- After you have gotten all the golden liquid out of the pot hide the golden cracklins from everyone else… they are delicious, crispy and did I already say delicious?
When you are ready to use the lard simple remove as much as you want from the container. It’s that simple!
If you Google up the 363,000 results on rendering lard there’s all sorts of information out there about how to render lard… other tricks and tips that you may find are useful or not. (some people toss a a potato into the oil for a few minutes and then take it out and it’s supposed to make the lard a brighter white, I dunno).
All I can say is - this is how we do it - it’s delicious - it works and it’s simple.