I first started rendering my own lard after meeting my boyfriend almost 2 years ago. A passionate lover of eating meat and fat, he wooed me during our first month of dating by giving me a half pint jar of lard he had recently rendered from a local organic farmer's pig fat. At the time, I was in the midst of healing my own gut and had been doing lots of reading about the incredible nutritional and healing properties of animal fats (from healthy pastured animals) for our bodies. I quickly fell in love, both with lard and this man. When he showed me how easy it was to make lard and how tasty it was for sauteeing, frying, and baking, I couldn't believe I hadn't started eating it sooner. Below is our crockpot recipe for rendering your own lard. We purchase our pig fat from our friends at JEM Farms, as well as most of our meat.
1) Buy your pork fat. We usually render about 5-6lbs at a time in our crockpot.
2) Cut up fat into 1 inch chunks. Place in a crockpot. Add a little water to keep the fat from sticking to the sides.
3) Cook it on low-high with the lid on for at least 8 hrs. This will get hot enough for the water to render out. After that, take the lid off and cook for another 8 hours to let the water completely evaporate off.
4) Strain the liquid fat through a cheesecloth-lined colander into a bowl. You will catch unrendered pieces called cracklins. We don't typically eat these but lots of folks do. The internet can guide you in cracklin cooking!
5) After straining, pour the fat into 1/2 pint mason jars, leaving an inch of headspace at top of jar. Put jar lids on and transfer to freezer for future use. We usually go through 1 jar every 2-3 weeks. Enjoy!