How to Make Lard by Rendering Pork Fat (Short Instructionals 1)

Making lard by rendering pork fat is not difficult and lard is very versatile in its uses. That’s why in this first short instructional video I am going to demonstrate to you how to make lard from leaf fat. I am going to use the leaf fat from a pasture raised pig because that makes the most pure lard. In another one of my videos you can learn how to make lard soap, see the link below. Lard has many more uses: it can also be used for baking pastries, cooking and frying so making it is definitely worth your time.

Link to my video on making lard soap.

Video transcript:

Hello there, welcome to Tony Needs Hobbies. To do all the stuff I do, I apply multiple techniques to prepare materials or ingredients in order to get the best results. These procedures don’t always end up in my videos because it would make them too long. The purpose of this series of short instructional videos is to share these techniques with you, so you can make use of them as well. This is the first video in this series and it will be about rendering lard. Don’t forget to let me know in the comments what the next short instructional should be about.

Why would you want to make lard you might wonder? Well, you can use it to make soap but it is also perfect for cooking as well as for making delicious cookies and pie crusts. It is temperature stable so it doesn’t break down or oxidize when you cook with it and doesn’t create harmful free radicals. If the pig has been pasture raised the fat composition is good for you: it contains omega-3 fatty acids and has about 20% less saturated fat then butter.

But let’s dive into making the stuff. To render the most neutral lard you are going to need leaf fat from a pig. You can probably get this for real cheap at your local butcher store. I got 3000g for under 6 dollars. Half of it has already been used to make soap out of, see the video linked in the top right corner. The other half will be rendered today into bright white, neutral smelling and tasting lard to be used for any purpose. So I’m going to need 1500 grams of leaf fat, 1 cup of water, a pot or pan with a thick heavy bottom, a sharp knife and a spoon.

The first step is cutting the leaf fat into small cubes. The smaller the cubes, the faster your lard will be rendered, but it also takes more effort to cut it to pieces while the rendering itself is more or less effortless. My cubes will be 1 cm or half an inch in size. Cutting is a lot easier and cleaner if you put the fat in the freezer for a couple of hours. If you have one, you can also use meat grinder to mince the fat, then be sure that everything is ice cold.

When the fat is cut into cubes, you can add it to the pot and add the water to it. You will get the most neutral lard when you use just enough heat the melt the fat. You don’t want to fry the cubes, then it will start smelling porky. I use the smallest flame on our stove at the lowers setting. Ironically, that is the one combined with the biggest burner. While it is slowly heating up, the only thing you have to do is occasionally stir everything.

After a while liquid will form on the bottom of the pan. At the beginning of the process this will be a combination of lard and water. You will have to wait until all of the water is evaporated before straining the lard into containers. You can find out whether or not all the water has evaporated by judging if a phase separation is still visible. If little blobs of fat are floating on top of the wafer, there is still water in the pan and you need to wait a little longer.

It takes some patience but after a while, when no water is available any more, you can start with straining the first part of the lard into a mason jar. I do this by covering a sieve with two pieces of cheese cloth. Then I carefully pour the liquid lard over the cheese cloth to separate any solid particles from the lard. Then, the lard is poured into the mason jar and set aside so it can cool down and solidify.

That’s it. This process will be repeated until no more lard is released from the fat. What you will notice is that the pieces of fat will get a darker color the longer you are heating them. This will also affect the color of the lard in the end. I tried to illustrate this by saving the different pours in separate jars, but I was so careful at keeping the temperature as low as possible so that the contents of all four jars are perfectly white and all have a neutral smell and taste. That is exactly how you want the lard to turn out.

Out of 1500 grams of lard I got 1100 grams of neutral, white lard, perfect to use for making soap as well as for baking and cooking. It took about three hours. The other 500 grams consisted out of evaporated water and the solid parts that remain: cracklings. You can fry them a little while longer so they get crispy. Add a little bit of salt to them and they are a tasty replacement for croutons in salads or you can eat them out of hand, in sauces or with scrambled eggs or whatever you want.

That’s it for this instructional video about rendering lard. You should definitely try it some time. It’s easy and cheap and the resulting lard is versatile in its uses. I hope you enjoyed and learned something from this video. If you did, please let me know by hitting the like button. Also, consider subscribing if you want me to create more of these instructional videos in the future, and definitely let me know in the comments what the next short instructional should be about! For now, I would like to thank you for watching, Bye bye!

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