How to Render Lard

Lard

Lard

The phrase “Rendering Fat” originally conjured up images of complex oil refinery equipment and unpleasant smells before I learned how simple it was.  For me it involves no more complex equipment than a knife, a pan and a stove.

Lard is made from the fat of pigs.  Tallow is the fat from beef or lamb.  Any good quality animal fat will work with this method (but the resulting fat will be different depending upon the animal).

 

 

Method 1: Stove Top (by Lisa)

Step 1: Get some fat

Best to make friends with a local farmer who raises animals in a healthy manner (to find local farmers please see: Find Nutrient-Dense Foods).  I get a grocery bag full once or twice per year when my farmer butchers pigs.  Some of the local butchers & meat markets also sell fat.

Step 2: Cut fat into smaller chunks

When it comes straight from the farmer the fat is usually not sorted at all or cut into very small pieces.  If you buy it from a butcher you may be able to have them cut or grind it first.

Step 3: Cook fat until liquid melts out

Rendering Fats

Rendering Fats

Put the fat into a pan large enough to hold it all (or do in several batches).  Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally to keep any from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  After a bit the chunks will begin to get shiny, then there will gradually begin to be liquid fat between the chunks.  Cook just until golden melted fat can be strained out.  I usually start straining as soon as a good layer of liquid has melted out. Remove what you can then cook the rest longer.

 

My goal is always to strain off the fat before it has gotten too hot.  As the fat cooks it boils out the water that is present in the solid fat.  If you check it with a candy thermometer you can see that the fat stays around 212* F (the boiling point of water) for most of its cooking time.  Once all the water has boiled out the temperature of the fat will quickly go up.  This will cause the lard to slightly burn and discolor. Try to take it out before that happens.

Step 4: Strain out “cracklins” & pour into jars

I use a ladle to bail out liquid fat, then pour it through a stainless steel strainer to strain out the bits of cracklins.  The cooked bits that remain after the liquid has cooked out are wonderful sprinkled with salt.

Step 5: Enjoy!


Method 2: Oven (by ?)

Roasted Pork Fat

Roasted Pork Fat

Some people prefer to cook a large piece of fat on a rack in the oven and simply collect the melted fat in the pan beneath it.  This has several advantages to it, as you don’t need to cut or stir the fat.  I do not usually have good luck with this method as it always splatters fat inside my oven and the fat gets hotter than I like.  I do enjoy roasting fat in the oven to make a wonderful crispy additional fat to my meal, but I haven’t been happy with the lard that I collected in this method.

 

Anyone who has had good results with this method, please write up their tips and share them with us.

 

 


 

Articles on the Weston A. Price Foundation website:

Food for Thought: Lard and Tallow, Healthy Fats?

http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/11/10/food-for-thought-lard-and-tallow-healthy-fats/