food, history, rural life, and how we connect our cultural past and future
Everything but the squeal: Rendering fresh lard
I made the first of the season’s lard the other day. It turned out exactly right! My friend Rowena Morrell recommended I render my lard in the oven in my turkey roaster pan at 225 degrees. In the past I have always rendered lard over a fire – either the gas burner or on the wood cook stove. I’m very glad I followed Rowena’s technique as the cooking process was almost completely carefree. All I had to do was stir the rendering lard a couple of times.
When we cut up the pig carcasses two weeks ago I cut all the lard and skin into medium chunks and froze them in 4-ish lb packages.
When the package was defrosted but still quite cold I cubed the fat and skin into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes.
My Kitchenaid has a great grinder attachment that I use often. The cubing and grinding took about 25 minutes or so.
Here is the ground lard dumped into the turkey roaster and ready for the oven.
About 3 hours in the oven and the cracklings began to brown a bit and sink to the bottom of the pan.
Once the cracklings were browned the finished lard was ready to be poured through a wire sieve lined with cheese cloth and then poured into pint jars. The cracklings had to be pressed firmly to release any remaining lard – all together the 4 lbs of fresh lard made 3 full pints.
And the cracklings filled a quart jar! Once at room temp the lard went into the freezer and the cracklings are ready for cracklin cornbread.