Rendering Lard

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    ToolOfHis
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    Rendering Lard

    1. My brother-in-law butchered pigs and saved the back fat (between the back bone and the skin).
    a. This is the best fat on a pig for the best tasting and highest smoke point lard.
    b. It is equivalent to bacon but with much less meat and used to be processed as “fatback” similar to bacon.
    c. The internal organ fat is the poorest in quality and taste but still perfectly useable.
    d. It is also has the poorest shelf life and should be kept separate from the better quality lard.
    2. If you are going to process the fatback similar to bacon, leave the skin on but for lard remove it (save for making pork rinds!).
    a. Grind the back fat as finely as possible as this aids processing and rendering.
    3. To make life simple, I used my propane turkey cooker set up.
    a. What ever you use, try to use it out doors or the greasy smell becomes over whelming.
    b. Also there is a safety issue, should that quantity of lard catch fire.
    4. Place the fat into the deep cooking vessel along with about half that volume of water.
    a. This keeps the fat from scorching until sufficient grease is produced for distributing the heat and cooking it.
    b. Heat the mixture until boiling and keep stirring.
    5. When there is enough grease produced, I placed a metal thermometer in it.
    a. The temperature will slowly rise until it reaches 212oF and hang there until the water is boiled out of the fat.
    b. At this point the cracklings (fine pieces cooked out meat) will sink to the bottom of the pot and settle there.
    c. Stirring will likely not be enough to keep them from scorching and they will need to be scraped every so often.
    d. Once the temperature rises above 212oF, it will begin to clime with increasing speed.
    6. When it reaches 250oF, you have a choice to make.
    a. Stop the heat and let it cool; this makes the mildest tasting lard for baking
    b. or continue to heat and scrape the cracklings until the temperature rises to over 300oF, to 325 or 350oF to give it a stronger fried bacon flavor that is preferred for Mexican cooking and deep frying.
    7. When the lard is cool enough to handle but still liquid, ladle off the clear lard down to the settled cracklings.
    a. Using a cheese cloth or screen, gently pour the remaining lard and let the cracklings drain.
    b. When the lard solidifies, any that is still liquid or semi-solid left after 24 hrs was separated and used first and he best keeping, highest melting point lard saved for storage.
    c. Storing lard in quantity, is best done in a cool basement or root cellar. Small quantizes can of course be stored in the refrigerator foe easy access.
    8. Using the cracklings; these little bits of cooked meat are tasty and useful.
    a. Ideally they would be placed in a lard press to remove the last of the lard from the meat crumbs.
    b. Without a press the crackling should be heated and pressed with something like a slotted spoon while the grease is drained to one side.
    c. Once enough grease is removed, the maybe used as crumbled bacon in recipes to add flavor. One of the best is for bacon and baked beans.

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