I have a confession to make. My lard didn’t come out pure white. “Oh no!” you’re thinking, “I expected so much more from you!” Well, maybe you weren’t thinking that, but I was thinking it about myself. I know what went wrong, so I hope you will still trust my tips on rendering your own lard. I blame it on my 11-year-old slow cooker. It has been cooking too hot lately and I vowed to replace it soon. But we ran out of lard and I decided it was time to make it again, overheating slow cooker be darned! The result was lard with a yellow tint and porky flavor. Fat that has been cooked more gently renders into white lard with little flavor, which is perfect for baking. The more flavorful and colorful lard will still be excellent for savory applications, but will lend a pork flavor to everything.
I enjoy rendering my own lard for several reasons. An important one is that I have access to high quality local pork from pastured, humanely-treated animals. Other cooking fats have questionable origins, ingredients, and sustainability practices. For example, adulteration of extra virgin olive oil has been in the news a lot. The New York Times made a nifty graphic about it. With home-rendered lard, I am confident in the wholesomeness of the food and its processing. Lard from pastured pork is also higher in unsaturated fats and vitamins than the store-bought stuff. Plus, it tastes great!
I follow the recipe at My Humble Kitchen, where the author provides a nice run-down on where to buy pork fat, the health benefits of lard, and how to render it easily at home. The process is simple. Chop up the fat (use a really sharp knife), place in your slow cooker on low heat, ladle through a cheesecloth once it liquefies, transfer to jars, cool, and store refrigerated indefinitely. Honestly, I’ve kept it for two years and it’s still been great. You will also end up with cracklings, which are the solids leftover after all the lard has rendered. They taste like bacon. Crisp them up in a sauté pan before eating. Cracklings can be stored in the freezer for later use.
Let me know if you try it in the comments, or if you are just too grossed out by all that fat to even consider it!
Rendering lard at home with a slow cooker
Recipe modified from My Humble Kitchen
Yield: depends on quality and amount of fat. I got 2 quarts of lard from 7 pounds of fat.
2-10 pounds of raw pork fat, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces (more won’t fit in the slow cooker and less won’t be worth it)
¼ - ½ cup water
Place the fat and water in the slow cooker. The water will cook off, but will help keep the fat afloat before it liquefies. Cook on low for 1-2 hours.
Ladle out the liquefied lard through a cheesecloth into another container. To accomplish this, I balance a colander lined with a cheesecloth over a large rectangular plastic storage container.
Transfer the lard to jars and cool. It will turn from yellow to white as it cools. Store indefinitely in the refrigerator.
Store the cracklings in the freezer. Cook until crispy before eating like bacon.
My name is Hillary. This blog is about the everyday food I prepare in my kitchen, with tips and recipes for easy, wholesome, and diet friendly meals. I have been chanting "cheese please!" since I was a toddler, although lately I've cut back on dairy.