How to Render Lard using a Slow Cooker

How to render lard is an extremely easy process. Rendering pork fat allows for a very diverse oil which can be used for cooking, baking, and seasoning cast iron. Learn what the term, canning lard, refers to and how that affects storing this rendered pork fat long-term.

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Living the homesteading life allows for great treasures, and believe it or not, rendering lard is one of those treasures.

I had never heard of lard prior to beginning my homesteading journey. Cooking consisted of vegetable and olive oil and that was it. In fact, I learned about lard when I purchased my first set of cast iron pans!

Little did I know then, that pasture raised pork fat would be a healthier alternative to butter and vegetable oil. It was then that I began rendering pork fat, but more importantly, I learned how to render lard correctly for the best flavor.

Rendering Pork Fat

The homesteading life is one which does not waste. As a matter of fact, just about every bit of a pig can be used.

  • trotters – create a gelatinous broth
  • head – head cheese
  • snout, ears, tail – dog treats
  • jowls – bacon
  • bones – bone broth
  • intestine – casing for sausage
  • heart and live – consumable
  • meat – well, for meat consumption

Much like utilizing every aspect of the pig, rendering lard will allow for a plethora of uses as well. And remember, lard has a very high smoking point, making it excellent for frying and seasoning cast iron.

Plan accordingly when rendering pork fat, making sure to use every bit of fat from the pig as possible. Running out of lard is devastating and should never happen.

rendering pork fat is best with pasture raised pigs

Various Types of Pork Fat

Back Fat – This fat sits directly below the skin and comes from the back of the shoulder, rump of the pig. Rendered back fat is perfect for frying and sautéing vegetables.

Belly Fat – Belly fat is also called pork belly. This type of fat is layered with meat and is commonly used to cure bacon.

Leaf Fat – Leaf lard is rendered from the fat round around the pig’s kidneys. Unlike back fat this type of lard is prized by bakers worldwide. It is completely odorless and pure white, both traits for the perfect pastry, baked good, or pie crust.

The Benefits of Rendered Lard

The medical field regularly argues about whether consuming lard is healthy. The decision is yours to make, however, let me give a few benefits for utilizing lard as an oil.

  1. Lard is lower in cholesterol than butter, actually it contains 1/3 less cholesterol.
  2. It is high in vitamin A, D, E, K
  3. Contains less saturated fat than butter
  4. Pork fat is rich in omega 3 fatty acids

How to Render Lard

The process for rendering lard is extremely easy. However, to ensure a product which is white in color and has a less pork-like flavor there are steps which will need to be taken.

Canning Lard

Also, canning lard is the term used for placing the rendered lard into canning jars. Home rendered lard does not require the use of a pressure canner to make it shelf stable. Store rendered lard in the freezer for long-term keeping.

Ingredients

  • pork fat, every bit available from a pasture raised pig

Equipment

  • slow cooker
  • wooden spoon
  • jar funnel
  • fine mesh sieve, small bottle size
  • unbleached coffee filter
  • ladle
  • mason jars, 1/2, pint, or quart (your preference)

Instructions

  1. Cut the pork fat into small pieces, making sure the pieces are no larger than 1 inch in size. Use only the pig fat, take time to remove the lining and meat bits. Doing so will create a snow white color and less pork flavor is desired.
  2. Place the cut fat into the slow cooker, setting the temperature to low. Low being 8 to 10 hours.
  3. Throughout the rendering process gently stir the lard to prevent any browning. Stirring the lard will allow for the fat pieces to melt evenly.
  4. Within 2 hours the lard will begin to melt, at this point make sure to gently stir the fat gently every 1 hour. The fat will never completely melt down due to various reasons (see the note section as to why) and only you can determine when the rendering process has been completed.
  5. Using a slotted spoon remove and reserve any fat or cracklin (meat with fat or skin with a bit of fat attached).
  6. Canning lard will require the rendered pork fat to be strained. On the mason jar place the jar funnel, small fine mesh sieve, and unbleached coffee filter. Begin ladling the rendered lard to the jar, allowing it to slowly strain through the coffee filter and sieve. This will ensure no sediments enter the mason jars.
  7. Leave a 1 inch headspace, making sure to wipe the rim well with a dish towel dipped in distilled white vinegar.
  8. Cover the filled jars with a clean flour sack towel, allowing the lard to solidify.
  9. Add the lids and rings and store in the freezer for up to 1 year.

Note

Rendering pork fat correctly ensures the lard is clean in flavor. This simply means it does not contain a pork like taste. Rendering lard slowly and evenly without over cooking it will create a clean, white color lard. Lard which is yellow in color is safe to eat.

Printable Recipe Card – How to Make Lard

canning lard does not require the use of a pressure canner.
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How to Render Lard using a Slow Cooker

How to render lard is an extremely easy process. Rendering pork fat allows for a very diverse oil which can be used for cooking, baking, and seasoning cast iron. Learn what the term, canning lard, refers to and how that affects storing this rendered pork fat long-term.
Prep Time20 mins
Slow Cooking Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 20 mins
Course: Freezing
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to render lard
Servings: 6 pints
Cost: $35 for 10 lb pork fat

Equipment

  • slow cooker
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Jar Funnel
  • fine mesh sieve, small bottle size
  • unbleached coffee filter, optional
  • Ladle
  • mason jars, 1/2, pint, or quart (your preference)

Ingredients

  • pork fat every bit available from a pasture raised pig
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  • Place the water into the slow cooker prior to adding the pork at. Doing so will prevent the fat from browning and creating an undesirable taste.
  • Cut the pork fat into small pieces, making sure the pieces are no larger than 1 inch in size. Remove any thing which is not considered pork fat, the lining and meat bits must go if a snow white color and less pork flavor is desired.
  • Place the cut fat into the slow cooker, setting the temperature to low. Low being 8 to 10 hours.
  • Throughout the rendering process gently stir the lard to prevent any browning. Stirring the lard will allow for the fat pieces to melt evenly.
  • Within 2 hours the lard will begin to melt, at this point make sure to gently stir the fat gently every 1 hour. The fat will never completely melt down due to various reasons (see the note section as to why) and only you can determine when the rendering process has been completed.
  • Using a slotted spoon remove and reserve any fat or cracklin (meat with fat attached).
  • Canning lard will require the rendered pork fat to be strained. On the mason jar place the jar funnel, small fine mesh sieve, and unbleached coffee filter. Begin ladling the rendered lard to the jar, allowing it to slowly strain through the coffee filter and sieve. This will ensure no sediments enters the mason jars.
  • Leave a 1 inch headspace, making sure to wipe the rim well with a dishtowel dipped in distilled white vinegar.
  • Cover the filled jars with a clean flour sack towel, allowing the lard to solidify.
  • Add the lids and rings and store in the freezer for up to 1 year.

Learning how to render lard is extremely easy. The benefits of consuming and cooking will elevate your cooking experience. And don’t forget, canning lard is the term for storing it in jars.

Canning lard does not require it to be processed in a pressure canner but instead the term refers to placing it into mason jars

 

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Comments

    • Farm Girl says

      If there is anything that you should try, let it be this one! It is extremely easy, and the outcome is fabulous. We used it to make our post Thanksgiving meal, and it was so yummy…recipe coming soon!

    • Ann Accetta-Scott says

      It made 7 pints for us, and it depends on where you are getting it from. If you are purchasing it from a farmer who raises pasture pigs then it will cost you a bit more. If you pick it up at an Asian market it will be quite a bit less. The price will vary depending on your source.

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