How to Make Rendered Lard

I like back fat and I cannot lie…

I’ve been experimenting with Paleo now for almost two years, but there are still things I have not tried yet. Alice at Page River Bottom Farm introduced me to Pork Back Fat the last time I was visiting the farm, when I mentioned how much I loved cooking with the fat leftover from the last time I made Pork Bone Broth from Pork Feet I had gotten from her last winter. I know that the sound of cooking with pork feet and back fat does not sound that appetizing to some, but I assure you that the results are so delicious and worth the effort, if you are trying to be more sustainable in your ways of cooking, by using the whole animal.

I like to be a culinary guinea pig from time to time, so rendering lard from back fat seemed like something I should try. I tried two different methods to share with you. And I’ll also share some pics and recipes for things I have cooked in the lard since. I encourage you to try some of these new ways of cooking that may be foreign to you. You will not be disappointed in the results. The natural salt in this lard seasoned my food without my needing to add much seasoning of my own, and this offers you a healthy fat option to your diet that’s important for brain health, a clear mind, and a healthy metabolism.

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Using a about 3.5 lbs of back fat, I tried these two methods. You will get the same results using either method, but I wanted to see the difference for myself. If you want more info about the types of fat you can use for rendering lard, I found this blog post quite helpful. Click here!

Rendering Lard- Stove Top Method

  • 2 lbs back fat from pastured pork
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • Large cast iron pot or stock pot

How to do it:

  1. Thaw your fat, cut into small cubes.
  2. Add 1/2 cup water to stock pot, add fat. Cook over medium-low heat.
  3. After about an hour the water will evaporate and the fat will start to melt. Stir occasionally, being careful of splatter.
  4. Cracklings will begin to appear and you’ll need to keep stirring the pot.
  5. When the cracklings start to sink to the bottom you are done. Remove from heat source.
  6. Using whatever method you prefer for straining, sieve, strainer, cheesecloth, etc, strain the liquid, saving the crispy cracklings leftover.
  7. I salted my cracklings that were leftover and I’m saving them in a jar to sprinkle over some stuffed mushrooms later this week.
  8. I poured the lard into a mason jar and allowed to cook before adding the lid.

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Rendering Lard- Crock Pot Method (Similar to above method with a few experimental changes)

  • 1.5-2 lbs back fat from pastured pork
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • Large Crock Pot with Low and High Settings

How to do it:

  1. Thaw your fat. For this method, I did not cut fat into small pieces. I’ll explain why at the bottom of the post.
  2. Add 1/2 cup water to stock pot, add fat. Start Crock Pot on high setting to start.
  3. After about an hour the water will evaporate and the fat will start to melt. Stir occasionally, being careful of splatter. (I don’t normally condone opening a crock pot mid-cook, but for this recipe I do. Stir every once in a while.) Turn heat down to the low setting.
  4. Cracklings will begin to appear and you’ll need to keep stirring the pot. These cracklings will be HUGE. That’s okay, because I had some thoughts for those later on.
  5. On low setting, this was done in about 6 hours total in the crock pot, which was nice because I really could just walk away and let it do its thing, because I love a no muss, no fuss method sometimes. When the cracklings start to sink to the bottom you are done. Turn crock pot off. Remove from heat source.
  6. Remove large cracklings using a metal strainer. Using whatever method you prefer for straining the lard, sieve, strainer, cheesecloth, etc, strain the liquid, saving the crispy cracklings leftover. I used a cheesecloth inside a funnel, and strained straight into the mason jar.
  7. I salted my cracklings that were leftover and I’m saving them in a jar for later. Since these are so big, I am saving them as croutons for salads, toppings for soup, or maybe inside a french onion soup as an alternative to toasted bread, and I may have shared some with my puppy.
  8. I poured the lard into a mason jar and allowed to cook before adding the lid.

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For you, you will have to decide which method you love most. The jars of lard were identical, and now that they are on the counter, I don’t know which one came from which method. I think it all boils down to what you have the time and patience for really. Now for some recipes and pics of how I’ve used it since.

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Click here for a quick video to see this cooked together.

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Lard Have Mercy Vegetables (You can click here to go the recipe with other variations, same method)

INGREDIENTS (Serves 2, Generously)

2 tbsp Lard

4 Large thick-cut slices of pastured bacon, cut into smaller pieces

1 Small bunch of thin asparagus, cut into small bite-sized pieces

3 Shallots diced

THE METHOD (I cook on cast iron, primarily. I used a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet)

1) Add lard to pan over medium heat. Once melted, you can season the pan as you wish. I added a small touch of garlic salt and crushed red chile peppers. You don’t need to season much because of the natural salty flavor in the lard.

2) Add in bacon, cook until crispy.

3) Add in veggies, saute until cooked thoroughly, and take on a bit of a crisp or char (this is why I love cast iron).

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You can do the same thing with Brussels sprouts, a personal fav of mine these days. Crisp with bacon cooked in the lard, add steamed Brussels and other veggies. Delish!

Brussels Sprouts- Various Methods

INGREDIENTS (Serves 2, Generously)

2 tbsp Lard

4 Large thick-cut slices of pastured bacon, cut into smaller pieces

1 Small bunch of Brussels, quartered

3 Shallots diced

Optional ideas: mushrooms, onions, chives, eggs, chard, kale, etc.

THE METHOD (I cook on cast iron, primarily. I used a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet)

  1. 1) Add lard to pan over over medium heat. Once melted, you can season the pan as you wish. I added a small touch of garlic salt and crushed red chile peppers. You don’t need to season much because of the natural salty flavor in the lard.
  2. 2) Add in bacon, cook until crispy.
  3. 3) Using a steamer, lightly steam Brussels for about 2.5 minutes. Do not over cook.
  4. 4) Add veggies to pan with cooked bacon, saute until cooked thoroughly, and take on a bit of a crisp or char (this is why I love cast iron).
  5. 5) I like to add a glaze to mine.

Optional Glaze:
1 tbsp homemade Paleo Mayo
1 tbsp horseradish mustard
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Heat until blended. Add over top the eggs.

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Crispy red potatoes cooked in lard. Simple and fast, just a bit of salt and pepper to taste.

One of my kids is extra active, and requires a bit more carbs these days. he is rather find of red and purple potatoes, so he requests these a lot. As long as he’s active, I feel like potatoes are an acceptable addition to a Paleo diet.

Crispy Breakfast Potatoes

  • 3 tbsp lard
  • 2lbs organic red potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • Optional: bacon

How to:

  1. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add potatoes to pan and turn frequently. Season to taste. We like ours extra crispy, so we cook a bit longer.

Serve with breakfast, lunch or dinner. Good substitute to french fries.

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