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Rendering Lard

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  • Rendering Lard

    Does anyone know the best way to Render lard? I've got pork fat from my local butcher, all free range and I want to make some lard with it.

    Many methods on the web are different. One says to bake it in the oven very slowly for hours and hours. Others say to add water and cook on a low heat in a pot and some say to not add water.

    Anyone know the best way?

  • #2

    I did it in a big cast iron pan, chopped the fat into small pieces, put it all in there with an inch of water, and let it simmer on the stove top for 12 hrs or so, not too hot, really gently warming it. The water evaporates and you are left with a pan full of liquid fat and crispy pork rinds!


    • #3

      We only use lard for cooking and we render it all ourselves. We but pork fat from the local butcher about 50lb at a time.

      We render it by putting about 15lb in a big steel pot on a VERY low flame. We use a flame tamer to soften and spread the flame to stop it sticking.

      Trim off any meat and cut the fat into 1-2" chunks. Dump the fat into the pot and stir it ever 5-10 minutes until it starts to 'melt'. We do not add any water. Once the fat has started to melt you can leave it longer between stirs and eventually it will all be floating in lard.

      Once you have a decent amount of liquid, you can start removing it while the rest renders. We use a ladle and pour it into a steel pot through some muslin (to strain out any bits). Once cooled you can put it in plastic containers.

      We fill up a few 2l plastic containers and freeze all but one. That one goes into the fridge for use throughout the week.

      If you want the best lard go very slowly. The lard will end up quite clear and subtle tasting. There will be just a small squishy mess of fat left over.

      If you want cracklings then you need to cook it faster. This way you will end up with chunks of hot fat that have cooked on the outside and are full of lard. They are great to eat. However your lard will end up much darker and stronger tasting.

      We aim for the best lard and don't have the cracklings...

      The "Seven Deadly Sins"

      Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . . Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
      Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
      Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)


      • #4

        Aweome thanks so much. Tarlach - sounds like a great way of doing it, thanks for the great instructions just what I was looking for, I have the day off tomorrow so will spend it rendering lard and see how I go!


        • #5
          I use a slow cooker to render pork fat down. I cut the fat into strips and put it through the mincer (grinder) attachment on my Kenwood Chef, so that the ground pork fat falls into the slow cooker bowl. Then I put the bowl in the slow cooker, cover with the lid and switch on to Low. When there is a lot of liquid fat and the ground fat has gone a sort of golden brown colour I strain the fat off, wait for it to cool and pour it into glass jars which keep in the fridge for ages.

          I have tried other methods; on the top of the stove I managed to get a burned flavour (also worried about it all catching fire if I forgot!) and have tried adding water and cooking it in the slow cooker on high. But the method outlined above I find to be foolproof.


          • #6
            I make my tallow in a similar way to the above. Remove meat, dice (I chop it finely) and toss in a pan on medium/low heat and stir until molten. No water, just keep the heat low. Then I go back and smash the bits with a masher every few minutes until I'm confident I've liberated all the fat from the cells. Then I just check on it and let it go around four hours, just hot enough for mild convection to be occurring. Strain, sit, and jar it up! I strongly advocate choosing grass-fed four-chambered ruminants over pig, but you're still miles ahead of the game making your own animal fat to cook with, so don't sweat it.
            Crohn's, doing SCD


            • #7
              i refuse to dry render anything anymore! no more barnyard smell/taste. lard does dry render the best though, but god, beef tallow? not a chance.

              anyway, i wet render everything, even make my clarified butter that way.


              • #8
                When I rendered lard I used a slow cooker on my porch. I cut the fat into small cubes and I think I added a tiny bit of water to help things get started, maybe a cup or less. I let this cook for a longgggggg time until I had a lot of liquid lard and golden cracklins. Just strain and put into jars. That is the messiest part.


                • #9
                  Check out these links. Not only do you end up with great lard, but you get a bonus of pork scratchings. First time I made it, I cut the skin into pieces that were too large. A little larger than bite size works great, as they shrink down quite a bit.

                  Just Cook It: Homemade Pork Scratchings - Part One
                  Just Cook It: Homemade Pork Scratchings - Part Two