Sunday, March 28, 2010

How to render lard...

I know I have done this before, but a friend of mine wanted to see it - so please bare with me...here it is again!
div>Lard is not for pansies people – if you cant take the fat, get out of the kitchen! Rendering lard is not a hard task, nor is it really time consuming. A little bit of background on lard is in order.
Lard is made from pig fat and pig fat only. Beef fat is tallow and people use that for soap, bird suet and some people I am sure cook with it, but not this chica – no sir ree….
To start with you must talk to your local butcher and ask him to save you the best pig fat that he can get his greasy little fingers on. When procuring fat you want to be sure its ‘clean’, and by that I mean it has little or no meat particles in it. It is impossible to get completely clean pig fat, but you can get exceptional quality fat if the butcher gives a crap about saving it for you. Our local butchers are GREAT about this and know that if they butcher for us, at times we butcher our own, I will want GOOD fat for lard. They always are pretty proud of their accomplishment and say “See Heidi I got ya the good stuff’ – they’re proud of their trade. Not everyone can be a butcher and do a good job of it. SO, after you have gotten your pig fat – let the fun begin.


Here is what raw pig fat looks like right from the butcher....



You have to put it in a roaster in pieces.


I just lop pieces off as I go... I like to lop things off.... or just lop..

Then you must bake it on a low setting because it IS FAT - IT WILL BURN! So I prefer 225 but Granny Farmer does it on 200 and it takes her longer. I like to try to get mine done in a day if possible. When you cook it on a higher heat, you must watch it more carefully... I will show you why later...





After a little while you will notice a 'scent' in your house that smells a little bit like pigs, but if your butcher did a good job - it should be minimal. See the liquid fat in this roster? This is what you want. I check it and then put it back in until there is more fat melted off. HOWEVER - you dont want to just 'let it cook' you should check on it frequently because the liquid fat will cook the semi solid fat QUICKER than before. Its just like deep frying...if that example helps at all.
I continue to cook it until there is more liquid fat, then I take a colonder lined with a terri cloth dish towel and set it in a cake pan. I didnt get a picture of this because I am a one woman freak show people and the grease was FREAKIN HOT! Then I GENTLY pour the liquid fat slowly into the colonder and watch the small particles catch on the towel. You dont have to put the towel in, but I am very fussy and want my lard to be litteraly 'spotless'. The small amounts of fat that get into the liquid lard make specs in it - I like mine white like crisco.




See how clear this is - Milk Man happend to walk in and ask me why I had water in the pan... I screamed "YES" thats what I want to hear!! He cocked his eyebrow and said - Lard huh - he knows me well. I didnt use a colonder on this batch because there were not as many small pieces - so a spider works well.
I let the pans set to cool for a little bit on the counter. You can see that it is getting cloudy as it cools. Once it is semi-solid, I put a lit on it and set it out on the deck were its 13degrees and it will freeze for me.

Dont mind the corn - Milk Man was testing the moisture content and left it on the table out there for the birds...
See how white it is? Its a bad picture but it is white - pure like new snow..




Then I cut it, put it in bags and into the freezer it goes to be used for pie crust, bread or anything that calls for crisco.



Now some people cook fat until its yellow and the 'cracklings' are 'done' - I dont because it yellows and somtimes, not always, but somtimes has a piggy strong smell and flavor.




Now I had this batch get a little yellow, but it will still be used because its not smelly at all. If it had a 'smell' to it, I would use it for suet cakes, or give it to Vicki for her soap because the esential oils will cover the scent and not ruin her soap... SO any questions?

11 comments:

Jenni said...

Do the butchers charge you for the fat or do they just give it to you because it's something they'll throw out anyway? Can you use lard for buttercream icing like you would Crisco? Does it have a different taste or is it just flavorless grease? When you say it smells like pigs, do you mean the dirty little live critters that roll around in the mud? I would have imagined a bacon smell. Maybe the bacon smell comes more from the curing they do to it? This was an interesting post, even if I don't think I'll be rendering fat any time soon. I don't make my own soap and I don't make pies or do much deep frying.

More than Survival said...

Thanks for posting this!!! We butcher our own pigs, so have access to the fat.... was always scarred of the process to render the lard! Now I think I can give it a try!!!!! Thank you!!!!
Heather

Heidi said...

Jenni - they give it to anyone who wants it. When I say it smells - it smells like a piggy...BUT that is rare really... as for frosting - try it sometime cuz I would bet it would be ok. I use it for all of my cooking, including making popcorn. Bacon is smoked, that is why it smells bacony! LOL~~~

Heater - FEAR NOT! lol and good luck!

Jessica said...

When we were little my mom did this on/in a wood cook stove. We didn't have running water or anything until I was 8...I plainly remember the cracklins and eating them like popcorn with lots of salt. Now that I am much older, I tried them and...gross. Goat fat makes the whitest lard...Soap!? How do you make soap!?? Man, I wanna know how to make soap. I have of Amyris essential oil that would make great dude soap...I think I have peppermint too. Ooo pepermint. I just love feeling like a peppermint patty when I get out of the tub...there was more I was goingt o say but I got side tracked and my ADD kicked in...

hadjare said...

Awesome post! Now when the apocalypse happens, I'll know who to go to for some lard. ;)

COFFEE MAN said...

the fastest way to render lard is to put the coffeeman in the back seat of a car close the windows and turn the heat wide open . I will start rnderin lard in about 6 minutes ROFL

Brian + Cheryl B. said...

Hi Heidi :-)
I buy and use lard a LOT!! Around here, it's the only way to make pie crusts!!! It's funny, over the years I have had so-o-o many compliments on my pies, people saying how it was so good they even ate the crusts, and usually they hate crusts ... and yet when they find out that I make mine with lard, they cringe and say things about all of that fat, etc. I've tried telling them how at least it's all natural fat, not chemicals, but that didn't get to far. So I switched to saying things about how it's pie for godness sake! And they usually laugh and reply, "and good pie at that!!"

While I've never made my own lard from pigs fat, I have delt with a lot of pigs fat!!! The thing is, it's always been attached to a pig we're about to put in a roaster and cook up for somebodies 'pig roast' ;-p

Here's a smile for you for today ;-)

Dawn said...

Wow! 13 degrees! You are the woman--the things you do!

Farmchick said...

Just stopping by to wish you a very Happy Easter. Hope you can stop by my farm for a visit soon!

Jessica said...

I just reread this because I am procrastriniatingldafhqihf work. You can get absolutely perfectly clean lard if you only use the leaf lard which is the hanging lard inside the animal. My dad was an on-the-farm slaughterer,we grew our own food and meat so im gonna flaunt my farm girl survival skilz a sec. When you butcher, you skin the animal on the ground until you get down to the spine. At that point, you hang the animal up by a hook through the lower jaw, finish skinning and then open the animal to remove the innards. You should see the leaf lard hanging after you remove all the organs. You can easily remove it by grabbing it with both hands and yanking up to tear it away from the spinal area. That fat is perfectly clean and will render without any smell. Another animal that has really great leaf lard is a goat. They have the cleanest insides I have ever seen...(you notice these things after the 400th dead thing) I was wondering if the local butcher offers leaf lard only or if that's something he makes you pay for. All that being said...now you know why I don't care for meat. On the other hand (gonna rant a bit now), my family won't starve if anything should happen that we have to be self sufficiant. Whether we choose to use the knowledge or not, it is important to have the knowledge and to pass it to our children. It may not happen in this lifetime, but there may be a time that human survival will depend on knowing what wild plants and fungi are edible, how to build a shelter and a fire and how to prepare and grow food. I don't care how rainbow-save-the-seals-stop-the-war-vegan you are, I am willing to bet after a week of gnawing on a tree branch you would not turn down a plate of fresh venison and steamed dandilion roots. Word.

mr databoy said...

yemmm ... thank you so much really it's sweet ....
www.one-w.blogspot.com