This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
from Imogen .
Hi Jon, nothing simpler than making lard! The fresh fat from under the skin
should be passed through a meat grinder. Your butcher will do this when you
have your meat cut. Take small portions and heat them in a large, shallow
pot. Safety is very important here!
1. Keep a tightfitting lid handy in case the fat catches fire.
2. Use a stainless steel pot, if you have one. They are easiest to clean
3. Use a wooden scraper to constantly loosen the fat from the bottom of the
pot. Plastic one's are no good as they will melt.
4. Keep a metal ladle and WARM, HEATPROOF jars handy to fill as the lard
5. Continuously remove liquid lard as it becomes available.
6. Try to push the raw fat under, so it can dissolve versus the rest spitting
all over the place, while it starts to roast.
7. When all your fat is crisp and your lard out, remove pot from the hot
8. Never try to refill your pot. ALWAYS do one batch at a time!
9. If you want to use the fried fat later, freeze it in small portions. It is
very greasy. Little portions go well though in spaghetti sauce for exam-
10.You should either pressure-can your lard or simply freeze it.
[In answer to pressure canning it, also from Imogen...
When I pressure-can lard, I use the hot-pack method. The temperature of the
lard should have at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit, when you seal the jars with
new lids coming directly from a pot of boiling water. Always try to fill the
jars as full as possible. You only fill as many jars at a time, as your pres-
sure cooker will hold. I use the remainder of this batch of lard for freezing.
That way, I don't have to reheat it.
As for time and pressure that I use, 120 mins. at 10 lbs (70 kpa). The above
mentioned information are based on what I have read in several books on the
subject of pressure-canning procedures for meat. They all seem to agree on
these figures. Nobody expressively mentions lard in their recipes though.
Most have recipes for pork cuts of various sorts with the addition of either
broth or lard. I want to mention, that I, for my part, never sell canned
lard, only the freezer variety.
Besides for cooking purposes it tastes well as breadspread on Pumpernickel
with cheese or just plain with a dash of salt.
11. Good luck and be careful. This advice comes to you from a porkfarmer!
12. NEVER leave the hot grease on the stove out of your sight!
Hope I didn't sound like a preacher, but over the decades that I have been
doing this, I have seen too much go wrong. Besides some nasty little burns
from spitting grease I have so far always been lucky.
Subject: Re: Help with lard making???
No doubt you've been flooded with advice, but I might just as well have a go.
Your request has brought back many pleasant memories. Rendering lard was the
first cooking operation I can remember doing as a child. Watching the lard on
the fuel stove, the bubble off of the water, and the rise of the cracklings.
The best lard is made from the leaf and kidney fat which is stripped from
inside the carcass. Trimmings left from cutting are also suitable. You
won't get a huge amount from baconers. In large, older pigs, backfatters,
you can also use the excessive fat on the back.
The fat from the mesentery or caul (round the stomach), and the fat round
the gut (ruffle fat) should be kept separate. The lard rendered from this
is darker in colour than other lard and can often have an unpleasant odour.
Makes good soap.
In any case, do not render the caul. Use pieces of caul to wrap up sausage
meat and suchlike for slow frying or baking--an experience in itself, and
rare these days.
In preparing the best fat for rendering, remove all skin and traces of
muscle meat. Muscle will cause an unpleasant flavour in the lard, if burned
To remove the skin from the back fat, etc., cut the fat into 25 mm (inch-
wide) strips. Lay the strips on a table, skin side down. At one end of
each strip, make a cut in the fat to the skin and pull the skin between the
knife held flat and the table. Then cut the fat into 25 mm (one inch)
cubes, or put it through a coarse mincer before putting it in the vessel
for rendering. We find the mincing method well worth while. Cutting top
quality back-fat from a good pig into cubes is a bastard.
You can render in a kettle or other vessel over a slow fire, or in a shal-
low dish in the oven. We much prefer the slow fire method--it is more
personal and interesting to do. And you can control it.
We often use an electric frypan, so that we can regulate the heat easily.
One frypan doesn't hold much, so we do it in batches, or borrow a pan or
two. If using a stove, set the pan at the back as the heat gradually rises,
then move the pan to the hot-spot. But watch it! Overheated lard tastes
peculiar and often darkens in colour.
Always add a little water to prevent burning before the fat melts. The
water will boil off, and when it has boiled off, the lard is ready.
Bring fat and water up to heat gradually. Stir frequently and skim off any
cracklings (little cooked fragments of this and that) as they rise to the
top. Press out the lard that remains in the cracklings. Cracklings are
delicious, with a dash of salt, and can also be used in baking.
If you have a frying thermometer, you will find the optimum temperature to
render the lard is about 120 Celsius (about 255 Fahrenheit), but watch care-
fully and don't push it. The cracklings will come to the surface, the water
will bubble off, any cracklings left in the lard will sink again. The lard
is ready. Strain the melted lard through clean cheesecloth into jars or
other containers for storage. Cool quickly in order to obtain the best
texture. We like to stir or whip the setting lard gently. Lard can become
grainy as it sets. Stirring or whipping gently stops this. I also follow
my grandmother and put a fresh sage leaf in each container.
Lard can be stored in the freezer for at least six months and probably
longer without becoming rancid. If you wrap the lard, or seal the lard in
its container so that no air gets to it, it will keep for a long, long time
in the fridge as well.
Do you want uses of lard? It is the baker's friend. Makes excellent oint-
ments (we used to make calendula). Fries potatoes. Cooked meat and solid
meat sausages can be stored in lard. Melt lard in pot, put in meat, pour in
more lard until meat is sealed off from air. Melt it again gently to get
meat out and make sure the rest is still sealed off with lard. Much like
the confits of duck and goose, done this way in the goose or duck fat.
[More on this technique below--LEB
Older recipe books, before people became panicky and paranoid about
fat, are full of recipes using lard. The difference between your own rendered
lard (done slowly!) and supermarket lard is marked. Home-made lard,
stirred as it cools, is of a soft, creamy texture and always used to fill me
Other bits from the pig's inside are worth having--spleen, testicles, kidneys,
etc. In our time, we have cleaned the guts to make runners
for the sausages, but it's a hell of a job. Any questions?