I love my fats – Butter, coconut oil, tallow, lard…
These words may strike fear in the hearts of dieters, but the inclusion of them in my diet has proven beneficial. Fat in your diet (the good fats) are essential to cellular development – Your body needs these!
But the lard or tallow that you render at home is NOT the same as what many consider lard from the grocery store. Most of those bought in the store contain partial hydrogenated oils – NOT a good thing.
Tallow (from beef fat) and lard (from pork fat) from grass-fed animals are far superior to these grocery products. By rendering it yourself, you have the added bonus of know exactly what you are getting – pure lard. No additives. No cottonseed oil (Crisco).
Here at the Faulk Farmstead, I use lard in my baking, as well as in my cooking – Homemade french fries fried in lard! Oh yes!
When my husband processed his elk this year, we used pork fat to mix with the elk to make burger. Elk is a very lean meat, so we usually add some sort of fat into the grinder with the elk. Pork is our favorite to use. Even though we ended up with a whopping 130 pounds of elk burger, we still had some pork fat left – I knew just what I was going to do with that…
This was my first time rendering lard, so I knew I had to chronicle it for all of you! Rendering your own lard!
Rendering lard – Crockpot method
You will need:
- Pure lard: make sure there are no bits of meat in it – this can contaminate your lard. I used about 5 pounds.
- Crockpot: mine is a 6-quart, like this one
- Cutting board and sharp knife
- Slotted spoon and small measuring cup with pouring spout
- Storage jars: any food-safe jars will do; I used wide-mouth pint mason jars
- Funnel and cheesecloth
First things first, cut the lard up into small pieces – I did about 1/2 inch cubes. Just make sure they are somewhat uniform so they will cook evenly.
Place all of it into the crockpot, along with 1/2 cup of water. Don’t worry – the water will evaporate during cooking; this just helps prevent it from scorching and sticking at the beginning. Then, pop your lid on and turn the temp to “high” (keep an eye on it, though. If the lard starts to stick, just turn it down to “low”).
After a couple hours, the lard pieces have started to sweat – We’re getting there!
A few more hours after that, you will see the lard bits starting to crisp up and separate. Now we’re getting somewhere!
At this point, you can start to scoop out your lard bits – I waited about an hour longer (a total of 6-7 hours). Line your funnel with cheesecloth and place in your jar. Using the measuring cup, skim off the melted lard and pour into the jar. You can also use the slotted spoon to remove the fat bits from the crockpot to make the skimming easier.
After your jars are filled, allow them to cool to room temperature before capping – You don’t want to trap any excess condensation in there. My 5 pounds of lard yielded about 3 1/2 pints. Not too shabby!
Pretty easy, huh? Ready to try your hand at rendering?
This post can also be seen at the Homestead Barn Hop!
Looking for more things to do with lard? Look no further…