Rendering Lard: A Country How-To

| 3/4/2015 11:45:00 AM

Tags: Pig Fat, Rendering Lard, Krystal,

KrystalWhile we are no experts, my husband and I have rendered lard two or three times per year for the past three years. I mainly use it in my homemade goat milk soaps. However, I also use it to cure my cast-iron pans and Dutch ovens. Considering I only use a cast-iron skillet, I use quite a bit of it for this purpose. There is always a tub of lard in my refrigerator! It also makes a killer pie crust and we love fried chicken fried in lard. Yum! I know there are some who say lard is bad for you, but have you ever seen the processing that goes in a tub of shortening or a jug of oil? Let’s just say there is nothing hydrogenated about my lard.

raw fat in green tub
Large slabs of fat and skin.

fat on cutting board
Cutting the slabs in smaller more manageable pieces.

We started with two tubs of this size full of skin and fat from 12 scalded hogs. We then cut each piece into smaller more manageable pieces as shown above. 

As for our cooking set up … we had a 25-gallon cast-iron kettle set on top of a 55-gallon metal barrel with a propane burner inside. We filled the kettle a quarter full with skin and fat. At this point you better have two or three people there to help stir! You stir for a long time. Stir until the fat has cooked down, and the rinds and cracklins are golden brown and floating at the top as shown.

 fat in kettle
Skin and fat cooking in kettle.

9/17/2015 12:46:11 PM

Thanks for your post and the pics. Great timing for us, as we are about to butcher our 2 hogs for the first time in a few weeks. I love lard, and think it is worth butchering yourself to get such a good product. Where did you get your big cast iron kettle?

3/14/2015 8:02:49 AM

Krystal, welcome to Capper's blog community. I can only remember one time that I got in on a lard rendering. It was when I was about 7 or 8 years old and Dad slaughtered a hog. My job was to cut up the fat into chunks about an inch square so it could be rendered. It's about all I remember of the process. GRIT magazine has compiled a cookbook that is nothing but recipes using lard. GRIT's philosophy is similar to yours. I am looking forward to reading more stories about your rural life. ***** Have a great lard recipe day.

3/7/2015 1:46:11 PM

after removing the peices of fat fron the kettle , the pieces were put in a sausage stuffer , and compressed till the lard , becomes a large chunk of CRACKLINS

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!