I have memories of my grandmothers cooking with lard, the great flavor it adds, the flaky pie crusts, and baked goods. And with our own pigs I couldn't pass up all that gorgeous fat. Though it all came packaged and frozen down, so what to do with it from here? You can simply add it to any lean meat that you are grinding like turkey, chicken or venison to add that little bit of needed fat or you can render it down. Well how do you do that? Here is the easiest way that I have found to render your own lard.
Bring the lard out of the freezer for at least a few hours so that it softens just a little, but is not completely thawed and cut it into smaller pieces, the smaller the pieces that faster it will render but you will also have smaller bits of cracklins so find the balance that works for you. Don't worry I will explain craklins as well.
Add the chopped lard to a crock pot with 1/2 cup of water to get things started, turn it on low and let it be. You will want to stir it from time to time but for the most part low and slow will get you there without needing to babysit your crock pot. You can speed it up by having it on higher heat but then you will need to watch it and stir more often so that it does not stick to the sides or burn.
Hours later, on the low/warm setting it can take up to 12 hours but once it is done this is what the finished product will look like in your crock pot. The lard has separated from the cracklins. The next step is to strain out the craklins. A big tip on this is to not squeeze the strainer or cheese cloth if that is what you are using. This will help keep your lard that beautiful white color.
I like to use a washable cloth jelly strainer and pour the lard right into a mason jar and set the craklins aside. Your final result will give you lard and craklins.
Once it cools you will have the beautiful white lard and also a great snack. The lard is shelf stable or if you would like it to last longer and for an extended period of time you can refrigerate it.
Now lets talk about the craklins really quick, the best quickest way to explain them is absolutely delicious bacon bits. You can fry them till crispy and add them to anything that you would like. They pack a great flavor.
We do everything from baking and cooking with lard to making our own soap. What will you do with your lard?