Having our own pig slaughtered meant that we wanted to get as much of the animal back as we could. We figured we’d learn a few things about parts of the pig we don’t normally see. One of the things I was interested in was making lard. The internet (and experience) was my teacher. I used a combination of the Food Network (cast iron pot) and the My Humble Kitchen blog (crock pot) as method references.Not that there aren’t plenty of places to look that will tell you about making lard!
The cast iron pot “recipe” was much quicker and I honestly don’t feel like the difference in result was worth the (huge amount) of extra time it took to do the lard in the crock pot. As a matter of fact, I ended up moving the fat from the crock pot to the cast iron pot (I had something I had to do and I was running out of time). The other thing about making the lard in the cast iron is that that’s the same pot we use to make the no-knead bread we make. I’m not sure it actually made a difference in the flavor of the bread, but it makes me feel good.
There seem to be as many opinions about the ways to keep lard as there are opinions about how to render it. You can put it in the fridge. You can can it (!). You can just put it in the cabinet. You can freeze it (?). For the amount of lard I’ve rendered so far, we’re just keeping it in the cabinet. It should help us remember to use it too.
Not that using it is all that hard. We’ve used it to grease the cast iron pan after making eggs or whatever. We used it in the sausage gravy (in place of butter). We used it for the biscuits we had with our gravy. I haven’t yet gotten up the nerve to put it in cookies, but I plan to, once I get a feel for how much impact the lard will have on the flavor of the cookies.
Oh! And crackling. A byproduct of lard rendering. We haven’t used that yet either. I’ve read that putting it in cornbread is good, but we haven’t made cornbread yet, so if you have a suggestion, I’m all ears.