Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

Rendering lard in a crockpot. July 22, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Real Food Wednesday,Recipe — realfoodmama @ 1:12 pm
Tags: , ,

Cubing the lard

Cubing the lard

The lard supplier at my local farmer’s market asked me to make him another pie. In exchange for the delicious treat, he gifted me with another 2.5 pounds of un-rendered leaf lard. So, in the spirit of sharing, I thought I would walk my readers through the process of rendering lard once again, as I am trying a different technique this time.

I use pork lard as it is really the only type of fat that is easily available at my farmer’s market. And I like the faint hint of bacon as well, as I am a hardened swine eater. The lard comes in a long rope, which I then cut down to approximately one inch cubes. The last time I rendered lard I did it on the stove top and I discovered that I was left with a lot of cracklin’s (chicharones they are called here) which no one in my house eats so it seemed kind of a waste.

On a suggestion from a reader, I tried using the crockpot this time and was much happier with the results. After cubing the lard up into smaller pieces, I put it in the crockpot with approximately 1/2 cup of water. I then turned the thing on and walked away from it for about six hours. I ended up with much more of the liquid fat and much fewer chicharones – not only that, but the peculiar smell seemed lessened. I am not sure if that was because I kept the lid on it for the most part or if it was a result of the slower cooking. In either case, I was quite pleased with that particular side effect, as to be honest, the smell made me a tad nauseous.

Here is a picture of the finished product cooling on my counter. I use a wire stir fry straining tool to remove the chicharones, however I do not strain the lard aside from that. As you can see from the picture, there isn’t a lot of sediment in the finished product, however if one were more concerned about getting a perfectly clean lard, cheesecloth could be used to capture all the small bits.

Finished product before it is cool.

Finished product before it is cool.

Blueberry Raspberry pie.

Blueberry Raspberry pie.

The end result was a beautiful pie crust – to be honest, this is the first time I have ever successfully done a lattice work crust and I am pretty sure that the lard is responsible for my success.

In addition to making great pie crusts, lard also allows for the most incredible fried chicken. I regularly try my hand at southern classics as my partner is from Alabama and misses the food from his part of the world. Until this last attempt, my fried chicken was almost always dry and frequently under seasoned. By using 50% lard and 50% peanut oil (I didn’t want to use all my lard up on chicken), I was able to make the juiciest, most flavorful chicken to date – the under seasoning is still a bit of an issue because frankly, I can’t believe anything needs that much salt. It also created a beautiful golden brown color and a fabulously crispy texture. Sadly I have no pics of the chicken, but I highly recommend using lard for this purpose.

Happy Eating!

This post has been my contribution to Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays blog carnival.


14 Responses to “Rendering lard in a crockpot.”

  1. Lindsay Says:

    How much do you usually pay for leaf lard?

  2. Ren Says:

    Fantastic! Note to self: buy a crockpot

  3. realfoodmama Says:

    To answer your question Lindsay, I usually get my lard for free. The man who sells it lets me trade it for pies. It is quite a deal for me in my opinion!

    – RFM

  4. realfoodmama Says:

    It should be noted however, that the lard is regularly sold at $5/lb.

  5. […] c all purpose flour 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour 3/4 c lard, chilled (learn how to render at home here) 3 TBSP butter, chilled and cut into cubes 5-6 TBSP ice water. 1 1/2 tsp salt 2 TBSP […]

  6. Gisela Says:

    I’m blessed to my socks to have a family farm/ slaughterhouse/ meat mkt. nearby that sells the most gorgeous, snowy, never-frozen, sweet-smelling, perfectly trimmed leaf lard I’ve ever seen for $.89 a lb., 3 lb. minimum. Ask every grocer/butcher/farmer you know if anyone near you raises pigs.

    Re: the lessened smell the last time you did it. I’ve found that if the lard is cleaned of all bloody tissue and a little water is kept in it as it renders, that there is no discernible smell and no cooked-pork taste in the lard. Any water still in it when it’s finished is no problem. Strain it through cheesecloth and chill. The lard will be on top, the water on the bottom. Remove the layer of lard and wipe dry.

  7. […] both visible in the photo. The white gunk I chucked into the slow cooker to wet-render, courtesy of these lovely sites (mamma mia, will you look at that photo of lard, sitting neat and clean as you please […]

  8. […] Real Food Mama blog: How to Render Lard (in a crockpot) […]

  9. […] Learn to render lard and use it. It really does make the dough easier to work with than if you go all […]

  10. […] both visible in the photo. The white gunk I chucked into the slow cooker to wet-render, courtesy of these lovely sites (mamma mia, will you look at that photo of lard, sitting neat and clean as you please […]

  11. Love the blog! If you’re ever looking for crock pot recipes, or have any to share check us out!

  12. […] Rendering Lard In A Crockpot. July 22, 2009 (Source) Filed under: Baking,Real Food Wednesday,Recipe — realfoodmama @ 1:12 pm Tags: Farmer’s Market, Food, Lard […]

  13. Teri Says:

    This is my first time through this process. I have two crockpots going and will repeat this tomorrow if this works out ok. I am not quite to the straining part yet. Once it’s strained and into jars, then what?

    • realfoodmama Says:

      Once it has been strained into jars you can store it in the fridge. Simply put a lid on it and it will stay in the fridge indefinitely!

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