Hello! We’ve haven’t written in a long time because we’ve either been planning a wedding, working in the middle of nowhere in Alaska, getting married, or traveling through South America, but no more excuses! We have a few posts we hope to write in the coming weeks but we’ll be driving up to Alaska again (a 4,000 mile drive from here!) so who knows when we’ll get to it. For now, here is a post about rendering lard. A few people have asked us about this lately and since we spent all of yesterday rendering lard we thought we would share our process with you.
Rendering lard is a fancy term for slowly heating pork fat until it is liquefied, then straining out the “cracklins” or little pieces of meat, muscle, or skin that find their way into the fat. We want to strain out these “impurities” so that the lard is stable for longer. It is a very simple process, but we’ve taken a few photos to make it even simpler for you.
Perhaps the first question is: why lard? We choose to cook with lard almost exclusively, along with coconut oil and butter. Lard that has come from healthy pastured pigs is delicious (once rendered it turns white and has only a very subtle pork flavor), is healthy (high in Omega 3’s and monounsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals, and Vitamin D), perfect for cast iron (keeps our cast iron pans perfectly seasoned and our eggs slippery) and has a high smoke point (does not turn rancid in high heat). You can spend all day reading articles on the web about the benefits of lard. Here is one nice summary written by the owners of Mastadon Valley Farm: “Lard is the New Kale”. The key is to find and use lard from pastured pigs. If you do not raise your own pigs, ask your local pastured pig farmers and you may be able to buy a bag of fat from them. Tony and I rendered a lot of lard after we slaughtered our pig in the Fall of 2015 and used it for about a year before running out. So recently we were fortunate enough to buy a big bag of fat from Mastadon Valley Farm, where we know the pigs are rotated on lush pastures. Just begin asking around!