How to Render Lard

Lard is such a great food for paleo nutrition, and accounts for the bulk of my caloric intake. I just got 60 lbs of pig fat (pastured and organic) so I decided to make a how-to. I took these photos while rendering the last little bit (I previously had rendered two huge batches—4 gallons each—in a big water bath canner.)

First of all, use ground fat. It renders so much faster and more efficiently and cuts out all the work of chopping. If it’s frozen, let it thaw in the fridge. Then, stick it in a suitable vessel and put it in the oven at 250 F.

Putting it in the oven

After one hour it’s mostly done (if it isn’t ground it can take several times as long). I ladled most of it out into a pot to cool, strained through a steel mesh strainer to catch bits of cracklings. Others say to strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth, but since I don’t use the lard for baking, it doesn’t matter to me if its not 100% pure. Then I put the rest back in the oven to finish the cracklings.

After one hour

After another hour it’s done. The cracklings are nice and brown, so I strained the lard…

After the second hour

…leaving some tasty cracklings.

Cracklings

That’s it. Keep the lard refrigerated, or freeze it for longer term storage.

The complete haul from 60 lbs of fat: ~8 gallons.
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