Well, last week I decided that with Thanksgiving coming, I had to learn how to render lard. I had this HUGE box of fat and skin from the last hog we bought. It was taking up a large space in the freezer and I needed room. I had this idea that the kitchen would be full of grease and that the entire house would smell for days. I had visions of getting burned and that somehow the entire process would be difficult. Boy was I wrong!
- The lower, the slower, the better...seriously. It took about 8 hours and I think I could have gone even slower. I cooked it on my back left burner. Next time, I should use my back right burner with the ultra-low simmer.
- This was the best starting place on how to do it http://www.obsessionwithfood.com/2006_01_01_blog-archive.html#113709378997673043 At the last minute I decided to skip the step of putting it in water, chilling it overnight, then melting it and jaring it. Instead, I removed as many of the cracklings as I could and set them to drain. I let the lard cool in the pan for about an hour and then drained it through a flour sack towel. It looked completely clear so I decided to jar it up. If it had particles I could always remelt it and then take the other steps. Turns out it was perfectly clear and creamy white when it cooled.
- It was not hard! There was very little splashing. I used my largest stock pot which is 3 gallons and used about 10# of fat and skin. I was able to get 4 quarts of lard and 3 large plates full of cracklings. There was very little smell. Overall, a great experience.