Rendering Lard: A Country How-To

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

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.