Learn how to make lard at home with this easy-to-follow tutorial. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to make lard at home in an hour with fresh pork fat.
Lard is a type of fat obtained from pigs, and rendering is the process of melting it down to separate the fat from the solid bits.
Homemade lard is easy to render at home. You only need high-quality pork fat, water, and a heavy bottom pan. I used a cast iron, but a Dutch oven works, too.
Why Make Your Own Lard?
People render lard for various culinary purposes, as it’s a versatile cooking fat that imparts a rich flavor to dishes. It can be used in baking, frying, and as a replacement for butter or vegetable oils in recipes. I also enjoy learning skills that are lost in our current culture. Rendering animal fat is a skill that is lost to many. Learning how to use the whole animal and the proper ways to process an animal is a great skill.
Watch the Video Version of How to Make Lard
How To Make Lard: A Step-by-Step Guide
To make lard, you will need one to two pounds of pig fat. You can purchase leaf lard or pork lard from the grocery store and local butcher shops. You will also need filtered water and a heavy-bottomed cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.
Freeze the fat for an hour before rendering. This will harden the fat and make it easier to slice. Once frozen, cut the pork belly fat into small pieces.
Add the pork fat and ½ cup cold water to a thick-bottomed pot. Place the skillet over medium to low heat, uncovered. Heat the fat and water until the water cooks off and the fat begins to render. Keep the heat medium-low, and be patient as the fat renders. The process will take about an hour. Do not be tempted to speed up the process by using high temperatures. This will brown the fat and it will taste like meat and have a pork smell.
As the fat renders, the cracklings will get crispy. Once the fat is rendered, strain it into a glass jar through a fine mesh strainer.
Note: Crispy cracklings will be present in the lard and are similar to pork rinds. They can be eaten as snacks. After straining the rendered lard, place the cracklings on a paper towel lined plate to cool.
Refrigerate the lard. Once cooled, it will be a light white color. Use for cooking and baking.
You may store lard at room temperature or in the refrigerator. When warm, it will be a liquid fat, but at room temp or cooler, the rendered fat will solidify. Store the lard in an air tight container or in mason jars. Lard has a six months shelf life if stored at room temperature.
How To Use Lard
Lard has many uses in cooking and even baking. Believe it or not, lard makes the BEST flaky pie crust! It can also be used for every day cooking and deep frying.
Where can I get lard for rendering?
You can obtain lard from the fat of a pig, typically found at your local butcher shop or meat market. You can also save fat trimmings from pork cuts and render them yourself.
What equipment do I need for rendering lard?
You will need a few basic kitchen tools, including a heavy-bottomed pot or slow cooker, a sharp knife, a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth, and jars or containers for storing the rendered lard.
Is lard healthy for consumption?
This type of fat is a source of saturated fat, but it can be part of a balanced diet when used in moderation. It contains no trans fats and is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy. However, it’s essential to use it in moderation and alongside a varied diet.
Can I use lard in place of other fats in recipes?
Yes, it can be a substitute for butter or vegetable oils in various recipes. It’s especially prized for making flaky pie crusts, crispy fried foods, and savory dishes like refried beans or biscuits. Experiment with it to discover its unique flavor and texture in your favorite recipes.
How long can I store rendered lard?
Rendered fat can be stored in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator for several months. When stored correctly in a sealed container, it can last up to a year or even longer in the freezer.
Can I reuse lard for frying multiple times?
Yes, you can reuse it for frying multiple times as long as you strain out any food particles and store it properly. Just be sure to monitor its quality and discard it if it becomes too dark or develops an off-putting odor.
What can I do with the leftover cracklings?
The cracklings left after rendering fat are delicious! You can use them as a crispy topping for salads and soups or even as a flavorful addition to cornbread. They make a delightful snack on their own, too.
Is there a difference between leaf lard and fatback for rendering?
Yes, there is a difference. Leaf lard comes from the visceral fat of the pig and is considered the highest quality for baking due to its neutral flavor. Fatback, on the other hand, comes from the back of the pig and has a stronger, porky flavor. Both can be rendered, but leaf is preferred for pastry and delicate recipes.
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How To Make Lard At Home
Learn how to render lard at home with this easy-to-follow tutorial. Use this delicious white fat for cooking or baking pastries.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
- Yield: 1/2 cup 1x
- Category: Tutorials
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- 1 pound of pork fat
- 1/2 cup water
- Freeze the fat for an hour before rendering. This will harden the fat and make it easier to slice.
- Cut the pork belly fat into small 1-inch pieces.
- Add the pork fat and ½ cup cold water to a thick-bottomed pot.
- Place the skillet over medium to low heat, uncovered.
- Heat the fat and water until the water cooks off and the fat begins to render.
- Keep the heat medium-low, and be patient as the fat renders. The process will take about an hour.
- As the fat renders, the cracklings will get crispy.
- Once the fat is rendered, strain it into a glass jar through a fine mesh strainer.
- Refrigerate the lard. Once cooled, it will be a light white color.
- You may store lard at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
- Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
- Calories: 130
- Fat: 14g
- Saturated Fat: 4.5g