…which is precisely what I am right now. A big, fat tub of lard. Actually, butter. Full of buttermash (mashed potatoes with so much butter, er, strike that, reverse it) and buttery pumpkin pie crust. Oh god it was the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever eaten. And now, here I am, in the throes of the dreaded holidays. Ugh, what a lady I just sounded like. Excuse me while I snack on my red velvet Yoplait 100 calorie snack cup.
I really have been meaning to post about lard for a while. I remember the first time I made years ago it seemed to be one of those nebulous if-your-grandma-didn’t-teach-you-you’re-screwed kind of activities. Like seasoning cast iron pans. Every dumb blog out there had a different way of making it with all these hard and fast rules with no reasoning or explanation behind them. It’s really kinda stupid…it’s just getting fat rendered from fat. Ha, wtf. I don’t know how to say that. Fat from fat. Yeah. Okay. But you’ve all done it. You’ve all made bacon. The only thing with lard is that you don’t probably want to render it as quickly as you do bacon fat. You can, but if you want white, not super porky-flavored lard, then do it slow.
Yeah, I need lard to cook with in my house. I recently made butter and I have coconut oil of course, but I’m basically out of animal fat. I can’t keep it for long, even though I skim and save it off every slow-roasted hunk of meat I make. A co-worker commented on how, um, quickly I went through a 32 ounce jar of coconut oil (I order all my crap to be delivered to work)…I hadn’t thought about it, and little does she know that that’s just one fat source that I use. Am I gross? But one of my primary reasons right now for making lard is that it’s Christmas cookie time. And I’m going to make biscochitos again. Otherwise known as, Lardies. I’m feeling a little more Christmasy than last year, so I’ve very generously decided not to poison my friends with partially hydrogenated CAFO lard in their cookies for XMAS2014. I’m incredibly thoughtful, I think.
Do yourself a favor and get fat from a pasture-raised piggy. I mean, just get Snow Cap lard if not. Not really worth the effort. I can get it for $1/lb at the farmer’s market or from my meat guy. That’s kinda the best deal.
1. Preheat the oven to 225. Cut your pork fat into as small of pieces as you can be bothered with. The smaller the pieces, the more surface area, and the more lard you’ll be able to render.
2. Put all the fat pieces in an oven proof pot and cover. Bake in the oven for around 4-5 hours, occasionally taking it out and stirring it around a bit. The total time will be determined by the size of your pieces.
3. Once you’re not noticing any more liquid fat being rendered, strain the fat with a fine mesh strainer or a single layer of cheesecloth into a bowl or something. Once the fat has cooled, it will turn white, so don’t dismay (right away, at least…it’s possible you screwed it up).
You can put the unrendered fat pieces back in the pot and try to get some more fat from it. Just know the rendered fat from those pieces will be a bit darker, and thus a bit porkier than the first round. That’s really just fine, but for making biscochitos or pie crusts or something, the whiter the better. I mean, I like the flavor of pork, but maybe don’t overwhelm your cookie recipients.