Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rendering Lard

A few months ago, we purchased half of a rather large hog from a relative. Since then, we've been enjoying chops, sausage, bacon, and ham, but have noticed that the freezer space hasn't increased with our pork consumption.

It seems the large bag of pig fat the butcher packaged for us has been hogging the extra space.

Oink. Oink.

Yes, I went there. I couldn't help myself.

The plan has always been to render the lard, but somehow the act of chopping up fleshy-looking fat reminds me of some cheap horror flick with mediocre actors trying not to look at the teleprompters....

My issues run deep.

Hunting season begins in a couple of weeks, and with 3 new safety-certified hunters in the family, this means we need some space in the meat freezer. So the fat had to go.

Right into the pot.

And since I lived to tell about it, I thought I'd share how I rendered the lard. Just in case you have some fat hanging around your freezer.

Because I can't be the only one, right?

Step 1: Cut the partially frozen fat into 1-inch pieces.

Step 2: Put the fat into a large stainless steel stock pot.

Step 3: Set pot on stove and turn burner on to simmer. Let fat simmer until the bits and pieces of fat are translucent; about 1 hour.

Step 4: Line a fine mesh sieve with a single layer of cheesecloth. Set over a glass measuring bowl. Carefully pour the hot fat/pieces into the cheesecloth to drain.

Let sit for a couple of minutes to completely drain.

Step 5: Pour hot liquid into mason jars and leave on counter to solidify.

Step 6: Bake a pie using your new lard for the most amazing crust....just like Grandma used to make.

**I put the fat pieces back in the pot for another hour to crisp up. These are called cracklings and I hear they are quite the farm house delicacy. People use these in place of french fried onions, in salads, on casseroles, and as a snack. I'll have to get back to you on that one.

I've got a pie to make!☺

This is linked to Homestead Barn Hop


Carolyn Renee said...

Oh, I've heard cracklings are just horrible. Taste like chicken-poop-coated shoe leather.

You should really send them to me.

Kim said...


Farmer's City Wife said...

Beautiful! :) Is it shelf-stable? I wonder if I'd be trading freezer space for fridge space here... :).

Candy C. said...

That first picture is kinda slasher movie creepy looking! I had to laugh at Carolyn Renee's post! :)

Kim said...

From what I understand, homemade lard should be kept in a cool place...the fridge would be ideal, but it can be frozen until needed too. I think a root cellar would qualify as a cool place...Hmmm....another project maybe? :)

Dollwood Farms said...

mmmmmm-m! yummy. I love cracklins!

lilsuburbanhomestead said...

Thanks for sharing this process! Very interesting!

riverstonestudios said...

Ok Kim, I was just telling someone this morning about cracklings! We are planning on helping one of our pigs find a pit roast BBQ this Saturday and I'm planning on rendering the fat! My parents eat cracklings on fresh made buns as a treat! I on the other hand am not so fond of them! I am intending on using the lard for soap making and pies as my grandmothers did. Thanks for the post! (Give'm a try - you never know, you might like them!)

Jennifer said...

Great post, you just showed how relatively simple it is to get that white, pretty, clean looking stuff. And yes, I just said that about pig fat! I hope to do some soap making very soon and now I konw the lard gathering will be a snap! Thanks again!

Kim said...

I did try the cracklin's and I have to say...they were pretty darn good! It's very important to remove them from the pot while they're hot and allow them to drain on paper towels~I found out the hard way that they get soggy otherwise! The good news is that I still have another batch of fat to render! :)

Heidi said...

That is some pretty looking lard. I used to render it for soapmaking and had been taught to look for the suet around pig kidneys because it cooks up so white and even, but this stuff looks just as good as that. Haha, my Grandma must have punked me. lol