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derricks

Rendering Lard

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So I've got a bunch of pig fat, and I want to render it into lard. Any thoughts? I loaned out the cookbook that I know has a technique for doing this.

Thanks in advance!

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when we raised pigs, i would separate the leaf lard from the rest and render it SLOWLY and over a low heat. then i would cool it and whip it in my kitchen-aid mixer with the whisk attachment. it made a great product! the remaing fat i would also render slowly and strain it before cooling to get rid of all the scraps and pieces that had dropped to the bottom

no longer raising pigs so i am not using lard.

aliénor

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Abra:

Thanks for the reference. That's more or less what I imagined (I recently made rillettes in a semi-similar way), but it's good to read an actual account of it.

Off to the stove!

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Ok, so I removed a rather large amount of fat from a 4.5 lb pork shoulder that I bought to make carnitas and I might as well render some lard. Now, there's still some meat left on some of the fat...is this ok? Will it just be part of what I filter out when I run it through cheescloth. Or do I need to just call my buther and ask for some pure fat? I'd hate to waste what I've got, though, so if I can use it...

Also, if I don't happen to get around to making lard soon, can the fat be frozen for rendering in the (near) future?

Praise the lard!

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Yes, the meat will just crisp up and get filtered out, not to worry about it. And you can freeze the fat with no problems. It seems to be that it's kind of not worth doing unless I have at least 3 lbs of fat, preferably more. It takes a long time to make, and I like to have more to show for it when I'm done.

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This is yet another application for the large crockpots. I render lard in either a large crockpot or one of my old electric roasters.

The temperature is controlled nicely and you don't have to attend to it constantly. It will happily cook all by itself over night or during the day when you have other things to do.

Those little bits of meat that are strained out can be saved and used to flavor corn bread, or whatever - - -

You won't have a problem discovering what to do with it, even if just put on a biscuit.

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Thanks for the great follow-up suggestions.

Lard experiment #1 went fairly well, and I used some of the lard in a pie crust today. I was worried, tasting the dough, that the crust would be too meaty in flavor, but when baked and filled with a sweet filling (seckel pears, brown sugar, butter, vietnamese cassia cinnamon), it tasted fine.

And boy, was it flaky!!!

Tonight I'll be portioning the lard into little jars for later use.

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I looked through some of our earlier egullet threads and also googled regarding rendering pork fat and could not find a real answer to this.

I have usually bought pork fat trimmings from a Mexican grocer. That has worked pretty well after I cut off some of the 'extraneous" meat before starting to render the fat. You also get a fair number of cracklings when starting off this way.

I just saw pig skin available at my Chinese market for a very good price (60 cents/lb) and wondered if this could also be used to render lard that is to be used in baking? There does not appear to be any visible lean in the pig skin.

Does one have to cut the fat off of the skin or just cut the skin up into cubes? Will this give you pork rinds rather than cracklings? Is the lard too strong flavored?

I've heard that the choice lard is the leaf lard surrounding the kidneys, but I have been happy with the end product that resulted from the meat trimmings above. I'm just interested to know if I can use this alternate source and if so, how to do it.

Thanks in advance!

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Hi Ludja,

Fresh lard isn't strongly flavoured provided you don't salt the meat too much. My grandmother used to render pork fat all the time. The result is dependent on the heat. Low fire = rind, high fire = cracklings. No need to trim off skin.

Many Filipino baked goods (inherited from Mexico/Spain) like one biscuit (masang taba) make use of lard. Empanadas are fried in pork lard too.

There's also hopia baboy (hopia is similar to a Chinese moon cake but much lighter - baboy means pork or pig) which is actually made of a type of melon but uses lard as shortening.

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Hi Ludja,

Fresh lard isn't strongly flavoured provided you don't salt the meat too much. My grandmother used to render pork fat all the time. The result is dependent on the heat. Low fire = rind, high fire = cracklings. No need to trim off skin.

Many Filipino baked goods (inherited from Mexico/Spain) like one biscuit (masang taba) make use of lard. Empanadas are fried in pork lard too.

There's also hopia baboy (hopia is similar to a Chinese moon cake but much lighter - baboy means pork or pig)  which is actually made of a type of melon but uses lard as shortening.

Thank you, PPPans. It is good to know the difference in using higher or lower heat and also that I don't need to separate the skin from the fat. As I mentioned above, the fat I have usually rendered for lard has not included "skin" but rather fat more interiour to the pig. I have not salted fat prior to rendering in the past. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but I have heard that salting decreases the lifetime of the lard.

Maybe what I see being sold is what is called fresh "fatback" in English:

Fatback or hard fat: This can be salted or cured like bacon for keeping (salt pork), rendered for good quality lard or used to line terrine pans or to tie around leaner roasts, especially game roasts, to keep them tender. You mostly find fatback (where else) on a pig's back, in great thick sheets next to the skin.

link

The Filipino applications sound very nice, and interesting that lard influences there come from both Spain and Asia. I'm whipping up a batch of lard right now to use in pie crusts for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday here.

Lard was the frying/sauteeing medium of choice in our family while growing up due to my parent's Austrian background. (They now use it more sparingly). An Austrian sweet that is/was typically fried in lard are "krapfen" or light, yeast-raised donuts that are flavored with rum and lemon and showered w/powdered sugar. I love the slight counterpoint in taste of lard with certain sweet goods. I really want to make homemade cannolis so that I can have them fried in lard and then fill them with sheep's milk ricotta!

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I've moved this from General into Cooking, where I think it will get more attention. I'll also point y'all to fifi's great lard instructions in RecipeGullet here. Works like a charm!

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I have always cut the skin off before rendering if I want some of the mild white fat produced by the stove top technique I described. The presence of meat and skin adds to the porky taste. That is not to say that I will not fry up some sking for chicharrones. :biggrin:

I am having a lot of trouble finding good solid white fat. The last 5 pounds that I ordered from the butcher has quite a bit of meat scraps. I will probably just make that up using the oven method. It really isn't suitable for the pure white stuff.

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I've moved this from General into Cooking, where I think it will get more attention. I'll also point y'all to fifi's great lard instructions in RecipeGullet here. Works like a charm!

Thanks for moving the thread over to "Cooking", and nice to post Fifi's link for rendering lard.

I have always cut the skin off before rendering if I want some of the mild white fat produced by the stove top technique I described. The presence of meat and skin adds to the porky taste. That is not to say that I will not fry up some sking for chicharrones.  :biggrin:

I am having a lot of trouble finding good solid white fat. The last 5 pounds that I ordered from the butcher has quite a bit of meat scraps. I will probably just make that up using the oven method. It really isn't suitable for the pure white stuff.

Yeah, this is my challenge as well which was why I was kind of excited to see the slabs of pigskin sans lean at the chinese market. I'm going to check back there and look at the skin more closely to see how much fat is on it and then also swing by my German butcher and see if I can cajole some pork fat out ot them. (I think they themselves use quite a bit of fat to make their own sausages).

If I get the skin I may render some with and without the skin and make up some chicharrones.

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I have also had better luck with the butcher shop at the Asian grocery here, Hong Kong Market. That is my next place to check out. Boy, do they have beautiful pork.

The other butchers I called are getting the same fat with the meat as I was disappointed in a few months ago at the Latin market, Fiesta Mart. It seems that the big market at butcher shops for the fat is for making venison sausage.

The local butcher that ordered 5 pounds for me came up with the same thing, some meat. I am going to go ahead and take it. I am going to try something new that I haven't done. I asked him to do a coarse grind. I am going to see how that works versus the small dice which is a real pain. I will report back. I figure that if I am going to experiment on a new "technique" (technical term for laziness) I will try it out on less than beautiful fat.

Over in the suet topic we got to worrying about where to get it. Our friend jsolomon sent me a link to Texas A&M Meat Sales. Who knew? They list pork fat so I am going to call them and see what the deal is. That will require a car trip but may be worth looking into. Perhaps other ag colleges do the same thing.

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I ended up being able to get some very clean white fatback and leaf lard from my German butcher. It cost $1.50/lb.

I noticed that he was selling his chicken wings for $0.79 /lb and asked the owner why the pork fat cost twice the price. He said they actually don't get as much fat with the leaner pigs and that the fat is relatively precious for them in making their sausages. (makes sense). He said he also sells quite a bit of rendered lard (schmaltz). I wanted my own cracklings (grammeln) though, so that is one reason why I sought it out.

I managed to horrify a another shopper there. She heard me speaking with the butcher and asked me afterwards "what" I was rendering. Her mouth gaped when I said 'pork fat'.

With the good white fat, I got about 3 cups of white baking lard and 1 cup of cracklings from $2.6 lbs of starting material.

edited to add: I'll need to try the pig skin from the Chinese market another time.


Edited by ludja (log)

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the question I ask myself is what do the chinese use the pork skin for, and the answer I came up with. . .soup, if you render the pork fat by simmering in water you obtain a large amount of gelatinous broth, not particularly flavorful, but very gelatinous, plus a large amount of fat which is easily removed from the top after cooling.

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This is yet another application for the large crockpots.  I render lard in either a large crockpot or one of my old electric roasters. 

The temperature is controlled nicely and you don't have to attend to it constantly.  It will happily cook all by itself over night or during the day when you have other things to do.

Those little bits of meat that are strained out can be saved and used to flavor corn bread, or whatever - - -

You won't have a problem discovering what to do with it, even if just put on a biscuit.

Andie - I'd like to try making lard in my crockpot, and am wondering what method you or others use to do so. Do you cook it over low heat all day? Add a couple of tablespoons of water? About how long does it take to melt completely? Thank you for helping out this lard making newbie.

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I just made a batch of lard the other day. I read through the lard-related threads here first, which was helpful. It was good to know that I should spoon off the lard as it rendered out and not wait until the end--doing it this way produced about three grades of lard, the purest of which I can use for pastry. I ended up with about six pints in all.

The only downside--my husband complained about the scent for days, even though I had the windows open. I thought it smelled good!

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The only downside--my husband complained about the scent for days, even though I had the windows open.  I thought it smelled good!

Take a small metal tea strainer and a thin slice of bread, cut the soft part, place it in the bottom of the strainer. Heat the lard and strain through the bread.

Takes away part of the taste and smell.

This is an old trick.

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This is yet another application for the large crockpots.  I render lard in either a large crockpot or one of my old electric roasters. 

The temperature is controlled nicely and you don't have to attend to it constantly.  It will happily cook all by itself over night or during the day when you have other things to do.

Those little bits of meat that are strained out can be saved and used to flavor corn bread, or whatever - - -

You won't have a problem discovering what to do with it, even if just put on a biscuit.

Andie - I'd like to try making lard in my crockpot, and am wondering what method you or others use to do so. Do you cook it over low heat all day? Add a couple of tablespoons of water? About how long does it take to melt completely? Thank you for helping out this lard making newbie.

This is for a 5 or 6 quart crockpot.

I add about 1/2 cup of water and fill the crockpot about 2/3 full of pork fat/leaf lard cut in 1/2 to 1 inch squares or chunks.

I start it on high until it is hot then reduce it to low and cover it and usually let it cook overnight - (I set the crockpot on top of my washing machine so it is out of the way and my laundry room can be closed off so the aroma does not work its way throughout the house. There may also be some bubbling and spatters of fat which are easier to wash off the top of the machine than to clean off the butcher-block counters in the kitchen.)

The following morning I turn the crockpot off and unplug it, pour off the rendered fat, then pulg it back in, turn it to high and continue cooking the fat chunks, stirring occasionally, until the fat bits have browned nicely. More fat will render out and I add that to the fat I removed earlier.

The lard will be a creamy to beige color, however, if you beat it in a chilled bowl (I found one of the long cold packs that can be chilled in the freezer and are supposed to be placed on a person's back, at Walgreens drug) around which you place an ice bag or something that will keep the bowl chilled, and beat it as it cools, it will look white and fluffy.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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The only downside--my husband complained about the scent for days, even though I had the windows open.  I thought it smelled good!

This is why I have a hot plate in my garage, works great for making stock-stews-etc, all the slow-cooking stuff my wife says I cant make indoors anymore.

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I usually render lard in the oven, per the recommendation of Rick Bayless. It gives the lard a roasted pork-y aroma and flavor that, although not great for sweet pastry crust, makes fabulous tamales and frijoles refritos, which is usually what I use home-rendered lard for.

I cut the fat into small cubes and put into a deep roasting pan, at a low moderate temperature (275 or 300 degrees). I drain off the melting fat a couple of times, until all that's left is the, brown, crispy cracklings. Sprinkle them with a little salt and eat 'em warm. Them li'l puppies are GOOD.

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This is yet another application for the large crockpots.  I render lard in either a large crockpot or one of my old electric roasters. 

The temperature is controlled nicely and you don't have to attend to it constantly.  It will happily cook all by itself over night or during the day when you have other things to do.

Those little bits of meat that are strained out can be saved and used to flavor corn bread, or whatever - - -

You won't have a problem discovering what to do with it, even if just put on a biscuit.

Andie - I'd like to try making lard in my crockpot, and am wondering what method you or others use to do so. Do you cook it over low heat all day? Add a couple of tablespoons of water? About how long does it take to melt completely? Thank you for helping out this lard making newbie.

This is for a 5 or 6 quart crockpot.

I add about 1/2 cup of water and fill the crockpot about 2/3 full of pork fat/leaf lard cut in 1/2 to 1 inch squares or chunks.

I start it on high until it is hot then reduce it to low and cover it and usually let it cook overnight - (I set the crockpot on top of my washing machine so it is out of the way and my laundry room can be closed off so the aroma does not work its way throughout the house. There may also be some bubbling and spatters of fat which are easier to wash off the top of the machine than to clean off the butcher-block counters in the kitchen.)

The following morning I turn the crockpot off and unplug it, pour off the rendered fat, then pulg it back in, turn it to high and continue cooking the fat chunks, stirring occasionally, until the fat bits have browned nicely. More fat will render out and I add that to the fat I removed earlier.

The lard will be a creamy to beige color, however, if you beat it in a chilled bowl (I found one of the long cold packs that can be chilled in the freezer and are supposed to be placed on a person's back, at Walgreens drug) around which you place an ice bag or something that will keep the bowl chilled, and beat it as it cools, it will look white and fluffy.

Andie - Thanks so muc for your assistance! I'm excited about this experiement, and will be sure to report my results.

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