Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rendering Lard..........

Yesterday along with baking an Ozark Mt. Berry Pie and baking two loaves of bread and a pan of rolls, I rendered some lard.

Part of the reason we decided to raise our own hogs is because you just don't get much fat off a modern hog.  I like fat (I know you are snickering cuz I'm a big girl and it's ok, I'm snickerin' myself) and wanted a breed of hog that would give me some nice fat for rendering. 

Last month we called the local locker and ordered a hog for processing.  I asked them if they would save the fat for me and they said yes.  When we went to pick up our meat, I asked if he remembered to save me some fat.  He said no, he'd forgotten, and they just don't have much fat on them anymore, but I'll save you some for when you pick up your smoked/cured meat.  We went on Saturday to pick up our bacon and ham steaks and this is what Kenny gave me.......

He said this was trim fat from TWO hogs.........it's about 20 lbs.......

Here it is in the pan ready to be rendered.  Now you can scrape all those bits of meat off, but I just ain't got that kinda time..........

After rendering down we are left with this beautiful amber colored hot oil...........

Which cools by morning into the glorious-ness that is home rendered lard! 

You may be wondering why it isn't glow in the dark white, and then maybe you can't even tell from the picture......to get the highest quality gleamingly pure white lard you must use leaf fat, which is the fat from the loin and surrounding the kidneys of the pig.   That lard has almost no pork smell and will be blindingly white.  This lard was rendered from what I call scraps and trim.  It therefore has a bit of a pork smell (like a very faint whiff of bacon) and is more the color of buttermilk, as opposed to white.  It is still wonderful lard for pie crusts, frying chicken (which I'm doing tonight) and for making soap.  The lard I rendered last year was mostly leaf fat, therefore made a lighter lard.

Now if you'll excuse me.........I've got some knittin' to do!  I've got one more sleeve to finish on my sweater, then they'll be a blog post about it............

God Bless.......................


  1. I don't care what anyone says, lard makes the best pie crusts and doughnuts!

    A little trick I learned when working with Carla Emery on her revised and final edition of her Encyclopedia of Country Living( before she passed away) was to add 1-2 tsp. of baking soda to the fat, right when you start to render it and you'll get two things, crisper cracklins and white as snow lard!

    Just a hint I thought I'd share with you now that you're a pig farmer*wink*

    That pie looks scrumtious too BTW! I gained 5lbs I swear just looking at it, LOL!!!
    Blessings and Hugs,

  2. Thanks Kelle, and I actually remember you saying that in your blog post about rendering lard! How wonderful that you were involved with Carla Emery's book!

    Yes...........we won't discuss the weight gain.....LOL!!

  3. That's some good looking lard! We started rendering it a couple of years ago from scraps when we order our yearly pig from a local farm. Our butcher forgot to give it to me too the first time. I just found out I can buy the leaf fat directly from that farm, so that's what I'm doing next time. I just got some bear lard from a friend too, and it's good stuff!

  4. Thanks Lara! I'll bet bear lard would be good!

  5. See, this is the kind of stuff that people need to know! I've come to the conclusion that my generation is near-worthless. No one knows about these kids of things - and they usually get too grossed out when they do hear of it. Good post! More info for when I finagle my way into getting some pigs. . .

  6. great work baby! i used some lard just the other day in a sweet bread...makes the best pastries! whooot!

  7. I am moving there,I am a little old ,but pretty sure you should adopt me! Yummy baking

  8. That good ol' bag of lard reminds me of my grandma - she always got the lard back when a pig was taken to the butcher..... Hmmm never had the interest in seeing what she did with it - wish I would have checked it now at an older age...

  9. Very Cool. I've never made lard but I'm sure its better for ya than the store stuff. Cant wait to see your sweater :)

  10. I think you are so smart to know these things and practice them! Farmers wives are living life as it should be! Women like you and a lot of your followers are so far ahead of the learning curve with these old timey methods, it is amazing! You and others like you should be so proud of yourselves! I agree with MilkMaid09 about "my generation" as well, and I'm 60. People just weren't interested in learning about living like our grandparents did. In fact, they wanted to get away from it. My grandparents were the most self-sufficient people I've known in my life, and I'm proud of them! They owned a 175 acre farm where they had chickens, cows and pigs. They had a big garden, and pear and apple orchards and exported their fruit in wooden barrels to England. They had a few hundred feet of concord grapes too. They also had working horses that actually pulled wooden farm wagons with big wide metal wheels. They didn't even have running water! It was brought in by buckets. I watched all that in 1956 when I was six years old, and I still remember it clearly! I would take that type of life in a split second, but, the other half would disagree with that.

    I just had to share that moment of grandparent pride with you all. Thanks for listening.

  11. I have never done this, but find it interesting. Do you have to seal the jars and how long will the lard keep?

  12. Thanks so much everybody!

    @Ashley, it isn't just your generation honey. I'm the only 30+ year old I know (in person, not blog land) that does this kind of stuff. But you are doin' it right so good for you!

    @OFG, I know......I'm doin' the Homer Simpson drool over here

    @fernvalley, sure we would! Come on over!

    @GUCG, I know what you mean. My great-great grandma died before I was born, but I would have LOVED to have known her...

    @Jennifer, thanks girl! I'm tellin' ya the sweater is scary!

    @Veggie Pak, thanks so much for sharing that with us! That is so neat that they exported their fruit to England. I would love to have known them!

    @Kat, thanks for the comment! You fill the jars with the hot lard (make sure the jars are at least warm by setting them upright in some hot water, don't put hot water in them, unless you dry them well before adding the lard) then you put on a flat and a lid. As the lard cools it will suck the lid down and seal it. You don't actually can lard, but the heat from the lard will seal the jar. Then you just keep it in a cool place (like a basement, or cool closet) and it will keep for years. However, mine never lasts much longer than the year!

  13. how interesting! I would have never thought of rendering my own lard (that sounds kinda sad). I guarantee I have more than those 2 pigs did.

  14. @mz..........LOL! Oh yeah, me too, for sure!

  15. Oh my gosh, that's so interesting. I honestly didn't know you could do that. Wow I shouldn't spread that around to loud... I was an Agriculture major in college ;)


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