Rendering Lard

Like many of our “recipes,” this one is more of an explanation of a concept that a recipe. When the butcher breaks down a hog, he or she is left with a thick layer of back fat as well as some leaf lard, which is the layer of fat that surrounds the kidneys. Both the back fat and the leaf lard make excellent cooking lard, but they must first be rendered. Rendering the fat is simply the process of heating the fat so that it liquefies and can be separated from the connective tissue. Once it is rendered, it becomes spreadable and you can use it the same way that you use your leftover bacon grease. Bacon grease is just pork fat that has been rendered out of the bacon.

  • Back fat or leaf lard

  • A roasting pan or crock pot

  • Some water

Cut up the fat. The more you cut it, the more fat will render out. If you shred it, even better, but I usually just cut mine into cubes about the size of playing dice. Put the fat in a roasting pan or crock pot and add a splash of water to get the juices flowing. This water will eventually evaporate out. If you are doing leaf lard from one pig, I’d add about 1/4 c. of water. Cook on low/200 for 6-8 hours. Check it from time to time and squish the chunks with a wooden spoon to encourage the liquid to come out. Strain, pressing on the chunks to get the last little bit of rendered lard out. Discard the connective tissue that remains in your strainer and what you have left is your cooking lard. EZPZ!