Rendering lard at home is easier than most people realize. When properly rendered, at a low temperature, your lard should be snowy white and nearly odorless making it ideal for all types of cooking.
- Get out your fat! I prefer to have the butcher grind the fat for me so that its ready to go when I get it home. If you buy lard from us, it will be ground. If the fat is in large pieces it’s no biggie though – Just trim off any large chunks of meat or blood and then cut into ½” cubes.
- Set it on the counter and forget it for a while… I keep my fat frozen until I’m ready to render so I often take it out of the freezer the night before and let it thaw. It’s not important that it be completely thawed but it render more evenly if it is.
- Set your oven or crockpot to low and go do something else. Set your oven to 200 – 250 degrees or your crockpot to low. Check back every half hour or so and give it a stir. Allow 2 to 3 hours for partially frozen fat to liquefy. A little less time if completely thawed and a little more if completely frozen. Low and slow is the key – cooking at higher temperatures can cause scorching, which gives the fat a yellow color and a burned smell.
- Strain out the solids (cracklings). Place a double layer of cheesecloth inside a metal strainer or colander and place over a larger container that will collect the pure fat (not plastic as it may melt!). Ladle hot fat into the cheesecloth/strainer to separate from the solids.
- Repeat if desired. One pass through the cheesecloth should be adequate but if you would like your fat to be extra pure a second straining can be done.
- Store & Cool. The pure fat can now be ladled into clean mason jars or other storage containers and left to cool. Once cooled the fat can either be refrigerated or frozen until you’re ready to use it.
- Eat the cracklings?!? Cracklings (the meaty chunks you just strained out of the fat) can be salted and cooked over medium heat in a fry pan until crispy. Some people really like them and some don’t – your choice! I feed most of mine to the chickens and they love them!