Let’s Talk Lard

Yes, lard. This is a product that is sure to elicit a reaction.  You either love it or you hate it.  Or you love it, but don’t use it because you believe it is bad for you. While emerging science is showing that the medical establishment has been wrong all along, and that lard from pastured meat is actually GOOD for you, I would agree that buying lard from the grocery store is not good for you. This post is not for arguing nutrition theory.  This post is to teach you to make high quality lard.  These are photos from my kitchen.  We use lard as our only shortening, and almost exclusively for frying.  I make 15 to 20 pounds at a time. One note of caution:  you will see many videos and blogs instructing you to “can” your lard.  Please don’t.  It does not need to be canned.  It can safely be stored for months refrigerated or in a cool cellar.  In addition to creating the perfect environment for growth of pathogens, application of high temperature can lead to rancidity. Or as my mother says, “Don’t people know some things aren’t supposed to be canned?” I value Mother Wisdom.. Note:  there are several sources for pig fat, grocery store or butcher shop, for example.  If you want pastured pork, check out eatwild.com.  I found a meat processor that will sell large quantities of pastured pork fat at a reasonable price in my area. Be sure to visit the cooking site on FaceBook – Cooking From Scratch

Pure Leaf Fat is what you start with.

Pure Leaf Fat is what you start with.

Slice into 1" wide strips

Slice into 1″ wide strips, cutting away any organ meat that might still be attached.

Cook very slowly, under 200 degrees.  I use my roaster oven.  This method could take 24/36 hours, but will give you a high quality product with little odor that will keep for months.

Cut into 1 inch squares.

Cook it down very slowly to render out as much as you can.   I render mine in my roaster, at just under 200 degrees.  This may take 12 to 36 hours, but will give you a great stable lard with no odor.

Use a double layer of food grade cheese cloth to stain. Strain directly into warm wide mouth jars.

Use a double layer of food grade cheese cloth to stain. Strain directly into warm wide mouth jars using a ladle.  Do this several times as the lard renders out.

Set jars aside and let cool completely.  Do not cap jars until they are completely.  Capping when hot can cause condensation which could contribute to rancidity.

Set jars aside and let cool completely. Do not cap jars until the lard is completely cooled and solid.  Capping when hot can cause condensation which could contribute to rancidity.

Set jars aside and let cool completely.  Do not cap jars until they are completely.  Capping when hot can cause condensation which could contribute to rancidity.

When you have ladled out as much as you can, let the solid bits drain back into the pot.  Remove the last of the liquid lard, then dump the solids back into the pot, turn the heat up to 350 and let them sizzle and crisp up.  When they are crispy, take them out and drain on a cloth or paper towel.  The remaining fat in the pot can be saved for frying, not baking.  Think of it as bacon grease.  Use it up first.

What do you have left?  Cracklings!  Prized by many old fashioned cooks as salad toppings, additions to cornbread, or scrambled in eggs.

What do you have left? Cracklings! Prized by many old fashioned cooks as salad toppings, additions to cornbread, or scrambled in eggs.

The finished product, white, light, ready for making the best biscuits ever.

The finished product, white, light, ready for making the best biscuits ever.  Store in a cool place:  cold cellar or refrigerator. It can be safely frozen.

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7 Responses to Let’s Talk Lard

  1. I have no idea what “Pure Leaf Fat” is, or how to render…but this post make me wish I did.

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  2. dseagraves says:

    We have some technical issues with the captions. We fix shortly.

    Leaf fat is the fat around the kidneys. You can also use “belly fat,”, but the quality for baking is not the same.. You can find fat usually at the grocery store butcher, but that won’t be pastured pork. To find pastured pork in your area, try eatwild.com. That is where I found my source.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Linn says:

    I always thought it was just fat from the pig that was rendered for the lard. Learn something new everyday.

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  4. Jo'Ann Godshall says:

    Rendering lard for the second time. Bought 20# of leaf fat. Using a big roaster pan in the oven at 225’F because both roasters are filled with bone broth. The 1st time doing lard, I used my roaster. I liked it, but hoping this will come out better this time. It didn’t come out like yours, Debbie. Mine was kind of dry. Fingers crossed.

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