Last night we made an outta-this-world taco feast of carnitas (using a pork shoulder roast) and homemade tortillas using our homemade pork lard.
I thought I'd share this very old blog post on an easy way to render lard in case you want to try your hand at it. Pack it into wide-mouthed mason jars and store it in the fridge - it lasts a looong time.
One of the things on my list to make ever since we got our pork back from the butcher is LARD. I know that that word has many negative connotations and associations with unhealthfulness but hear me out on this one.
Did you know that homemade lard has no trans fat, and has less saturated fat and more monounsaturated fat (the "good" type of fat) than butter? I specify homemade since commercial lard is typically hydrogenated to increase its shelf-life and thus has trans fat in it.
To make lard, all you have to do is render pork fat. I used Sheri Salatin's (of Polyface Farm) crock-pot method to render my lard, which made it super easy. All I did was fill my crock-pot with cut up pieces of pork fat (about 4-5 lbs), turn on low and let it melt (I did mine overnight).
After a few hours the fat has melted into a yellowish liquid, leaving behind some solids, aka cracklings. I removed the cracklings and carefully strained the hot liquid into sanitized & hot quart-sized jars (ETA - I have since learned to use widemouthed pint jars - it's easier to scoop out the lard later).
I tried the cracklings, but I must admit that was not my thing. Chloe, however, did seem to be quite interested in them. She may or may not have gotten a small piece. :)
Let the jars cool some before putting on the lids and transferring to the fridge. After a few hours, the lard will solidify into a milky, white color.
All in all, the whole process was much easier and less messy than I expected it to be.
I plan on using the lard to make biscuits, tortillas and other baked goods which typically call for butter or shortening. It's an affordable, healthier fat option that honors the pig by using as much of the animal as possible.
Ready to try yourself? Come by the farmstore Saturdays 2-4pm to purchase pork fat for rendering.
Want to read more? Here are some good articles about lard: