Rendering your own lard is very easy and requires very little in the way of ingredients and equipment. We show you how to render lard in a crock pot to create your own homemade lard for cooking and baking.
We’ll also look at where you should source your pork fat for rendering.
How To Render Lard At Home
You can use either a crock pot or an Instant Pot to render your lard (see also “Low Carb Instant Pot Clam Chowder“). Alternatively, you can use a cast iron skillet, although this will require a more hands-on approach from you.
To make the process a little easier it is recommended that you freeze the pork fat prior to rendering it. This makes cutting it up into chunks quicker and a lot less messy.
While the pork fat is frozen, remove any remaining skin and trim off any bits of meat. Cut the fat into small chunks of about ½ inch using a sharp knife. Smaller pieces will render down more quickly than larger ones.
How To Render Lard Using A Crock Pot
Let’s take a look now at how to render lard using a crock pot including the ingredients that you need and how the rendering process works.
- Cold leaf pork fat (from around pigs kidneys)
- ¼ cup of spring water
- First you will need to remove any skin or meat that is still attached to the pork fat. If there is either it will impact on the flavor of the lard. You may not be able to remove every single piece of skin or meat but make sure you remove the largest pieces.
- Put the ¼ cup of water into your crock pot and add the pork fat. The water is necessary to stop the fat from burning, but it will evaporate during the rendering.
- Set the temperature to low and leave the lid off. This allows the added water to evaporate.
- After a couple of hours the pork fat will start to melt. At this point you will need to stir the fat every hour or two. This ensures that all the pieces are melting down evenly.
- Once the fat has completely rendered you will need to strain out the bits of meat and cracklin, which is meat with fat attached to it. You can do this with a mesh sieve or use a cheesecloth for extra fine straining. Some people also use an unbleached coffee filter with the cheesecloth to remove all traces of sediment.
- You can now pour the lard into some warmed glass jars ready to be stored. When it is liquid the lard is a yellow color but once it solidifies it will be white.
- Leave a one inch gap between the level of the liquid lard and the top of the jar and clean the rim of the jar with a cloth dipped in distilled white vinegar.
- Do not replace the lids yet but place a clean cloth over the jars and allow the lard to cool and solidify.
- When the lard has become solid and turned from yellow to white you can put the lids on the jars and seal them. The jars can be stored in a cool dry place for 4-6 months, in a refrigerator for 9-12 months or in a freezer for 1-2 years.
- If you have any bits of fat left over after your rendering you can return them to the crock pot and render them down further. The resulting lard will have a more distinct pork flavor but can be used for frying food.
- The solid fat pieces that are left at the end of rendering lard can then be fried in a frying pan and eaten as snacks.
Where To Get Pork Fat For Lard
Although it is possible to buy lard from the grocery store it will have additives in it that you might want to avoid. For this reason, it is a good idea to render your own lard at home.
If you are lucky enough to be able to raise your own pigs then you will have access to pork fat in order to render lard. If not then you will have to source the fat to make homemade lard.
You could ask at your local butchers or find a pig farmer who will sell you some pork fat.
Using fat from healthy, pastured pigs is much better than sourcing it from factory farmed pigs.
Any chemicals that are fed to these pigs are stored in their fat and this will get into your rendered lard. So use pastured reared pig fat when possible.
How To Use Your Lard
Lard that is rendered from leaf fat, the fat around a pig’s kidneys is highly prized for baking. So you can use it to make pie crusts, biscuits or anything that requires shortening.
Other lard makes an excellent fat to fry food in and will give dishes a deep, rich flavor. You can also season and grease your cast iron cookware with your homemade lard.
Is Lard Good For You?
Despite having a bad reputation for decades with talk of high cholesterol there is a lot of goodness in lard.
It actually has one of the richest sources of vitamin D and has around 45% oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil.
Lard is affordable and sustainable as a healthy fat with leaf fat lard a highly sought after baking ingredient.
For frying, it is ideal as it has a high smoke point of 370° F, so it will cook foods at high temperatures without becoming rancid.
Rendering lard from pork fat in your crock pot allows you to make your own lard for baking or frying.
You can choose to use leaf fat to make clean lard for baking or render some back fat to use for frying meat and vegetables.
We hope you have enjoyed this guide to rendering lard in a crock pot.