Homemade Rendered Lard

From Homemade Rendered Lard

Lard…the four letter word. Like one of my other favorite four letter words, if used in moderation, it can add emphasis and an added oomph…and let’s face it, sometimes, just sometimes, there is no other word that can be used that will properly express your feelings as well as that four letter word.

Lard makes things taste good. I’m going to repeat that, because it bears repeating. Lard makes things taste good! That is all I’m really concerned about here on Nola Cuisine, making things taste good, and making people happy with food, and by people, I mostly mean me and my family. I share my thoughts and hope you enjoy them too.

Lard makes things taste good, when things taste good, they make me feel good, when I feel good, it lowers my stress level, and believe me, the stress is going to kill me far before the lard does.

I use lard in moderation mind you, I’m not condoning cooking every meal in lard, but when you’re making that Sunday supper of Fried Chicken…nothing is going to make that crust crispier or more flavorful than lard (unless maybe you add some bacon fat as well.) If you only make Pies once or twice a year and you KNOW that Leaf lard makes THE BEST pie crust, why not use it? How much is each guest going to have? One Piece? Two? If this were a pie eating contest you should be concerned. It’s not. Use what yields the best results.

When talking about lard, I’m talking about homemade rendered lard. I don’t like the stuff they sell in the grocery store, which is a mixture of lard and hydrogenated lard. It tastes funny in my humble opinion, it has a chemical like aftertaste. I’m not a chemist or a scientist, I don’t know what the hell they do to hydrogenate fats or oils (by the way I don’t want to know, for the comments section…kinda kidding). I do believe however that the processed foods are the foods that are killing us, or better said that we’re killing ourselves with. I’m not a crazy organic guy, but lets be honest, we’re killing ourselves with all of this mass produced crap. We really are, I’m no exception.

Make your own lard. Use it for special occasions, or for your favorite dishes where it applies. Use it in moderation and ENJOY it! Don’t stress about it! Enjoy life! Our culture has us stressed about everything under the sun, we’re afraid of our own shadows for God’s sake…it’s ridiculous. The dinner table is really our only place to relax (when we can even make it there), so when you sit down at the dinner table, relax! Free your mind and indulge in GOOD cooking and good company!

Here’s how to make homemade lard, the same application applies for duck fat…another post. (Stepping off of my soapbox)

How to make homemade Rendered Lard

2 lbs. Clean Fresh Pork Fat cut into 1/2″ cubes (I usually use back fat because I can find it locally. Leaf Fat is the best and is preferred for baking purposes)
1/2 Cup water

Some important notes:

*Use only CLEAN, FRESH fat. If the fat has an off flavor, your lard will have an off flavor. The fresher the better! I get my pork fat from a polish butcher here in Michigan where I live, who, by the way, also has a ton of house made rendered lard for sale! The polish word is “Smalec.”

*Cut the fat into equal sized pieces, this helps to prevent some pieces from geting too brown before others, which will give the lard an off flavor.

*Remove all lean meat from the fat before rendering.

*1/4 cup of water is added to the pot for each pound of pork fat. This keeps the fat from burning or browning in the pot, before the fat starts rendering. The water will evaporate away.

The Process:

Add the fat and water to a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven:

From July 18, 2011

Cook the fat and water at medium-high heat until you start to see the fat really start to liquify in the pot, turn the heat to low. Cook slowly for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Your lard is ready when the remnants in the pot, now called cracklings are golden brown.

From July 18, 2011

Strain the cracklings in a fine mesh strainer, obviously reserving your beautiful golden homemade lard.

From July 18, 2011

Drain the cracklings on paper towels season them with salt and snack on them, or use them to make Crackling Corn Bread!

From July 18, 2011

Place into a clean, dry container, I use a French Market Coffee can, and store in the refrigerator for at least six months. Use to make Fried Chicken that looks like this and tastes even better!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

From July 18, 2011

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured at Nola Cuisine!

7 thoughts on “Homemade Rendered Lard”

  1. Thanks for the recipe Danno and keep them coming! I’ve been saving my bacon and poultry fat for years but never thought about making my own lard. Maybe I’ll try making homemade butter next; any thoughts on that? Glad that you are back.

  2. I can never come to this page without getting hungry and wanting to cook for the family. I remember foods cooked with lard, bacon fat, you name it. I remember the fat jar on the back of the stove for immediate use in green beans or corn bread. Grandma would scoop out a table spoon and melt it in the black iron skillet. Good to know I’m not the only one who remembers.

    I’m not much of a fan of heavily engineered food either, so keep the faith and the good recipes coming!
    BTW- Made the Roast Beef Po’ Boys in the Dutch Oven (with Debris Gravy) and the family loved it.

  3. I attended a Creole Cooking Class recently. Chef Emil Steiffel cooked Jambalaya and Crawfish Etouffee. I have never tasted or smelled such wonderful food. I am excited to try some of your recipes.

  4. When I had on a farm years ago in Washington State we had some pigs that we slaughtered. We took that fat and rendered it down in a pot on top of the wood stove. We had beautiful lard left over and we made the best biscuits and pie crusts imaginable. OMG.

    Now I have some what’s called leaf lard that I bought a few years ago mail order. It’s great. I don’t believe all that stuff that lard and animal fat is bad for you. Just ain’t true. I eat buttah, and bacon fat and lard all day long and my blood pressure and cholesterol is perfect. Oowee, and that bacon fat and lard is great for making delicious gumbo.

  5. Beautiful stuff, man.

    You might want to experiment with rendering yourself some duck fat as well; its a religious experience.

    I did for a (failed) duck-confit attempt, but the duck lard is an amazing product–I even cook omelets in it and use it for my roux as well.

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