Rendering Lard is best known as melting down pig fat into a usable substance for baking or frying.
When it was first suggested to me that I render my own lard, I thought there was no way I could possibly make a pure white, flavorless shortening at home. But I soon found out it is extremely easy to do, and the results are exactly like store-bought, but better, because there is no BHT added for preservation.
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Rendering The Lard
Any fat from the pig can be used, but the belly is the most common source. The fat is cut away from the meat with the rind attached. To remove the rind, use a knife with a long, straight blade. Simply run the knife along the edge between the colored rind and the white fat. Remove any bits of color you didn’t get the first time. There may be some marbling within the fat you cannot get; that will be taken care of later.
Next, place the fat in a large pot or pan that will not overflow. Place the pan in the oven at its lowest setting. The low temperature prevents the grease from burning and turning color. It will take several hours to render (melt) the fat. Take time for a well-deserved cup of tea!
The fat will melt into a perfectly clear liquid. Once it is at that point, skim off any meat remnants. Pour the liquid into jars or containers and allow them to cool. Once set, the lard will be perfectly white, and usable for beautiful pie crust, biscuits, or whatever you heart desires. Store the lard in a cold room or the freezer.
Now, here is my “patented idea” for easier rendering. Use a slow cooker! Put the in the cooker, cover, set it on low, and go about your day or night. The process will take the same amount of time, there is no concern about fat touching an open burner, and there will be no heat generated in the house.
I hope you will give this a try. Rendering your own lard decreases waste and saves money, with a minimum of effort. Most importantly, it leaves you with a great sense of accomplishment and the pioneering spirit!