Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Fat of The Matter Is...

People have been requesting odd items of late. Fat in general. Lard specifically. Those of us living in  the real farm world understand that fat is fabulous and you can never have enough of the good stuff.

As long as it is the right kind of fat.

The American Heart Association has its head up its up wide bottomed arse unfortunately as it continues to slander decent fat. Failing to inform the public (let alone health care professionals like myself) about nutrient dense grass fed fat, fat from pastured hogs, fat from animals not pumped full of antibiotics and hormones (which love to settle into those animals poor hides and just stay there, never to be metabolized or excreted) and how WONDERFUL this fat is for your skin, your hair your overall health, is the real crime.

But rather than waste the rest of your day ranting about what most of you already know I'll get to the real fat of this post...Lard. Pure white yummy, best to cook and bake with, lard. (But if you'd like to know more about good and bad fats read what the Weston A Price Society has to say

Many of our customers ask us to sell them lard, but it's just one more area the state has its fingers in. I legally can't make and sell lard as its considered "processing" which I don't have a licensed kitchen in which to do. However if I happen to make too much and share some of it with a fellow farmer who shares some of her products with me...well that's just dandy.

First, a couple terms:
 Lard: Comes from the Rendered Fat of hogs
Tallow: Comes from the rendered Fat or Suet of Beef
Leaf Lard: Made from the fat that accumulates around hogs kidneys and other inner organs
Render: The process of making fat.

So here is the ultra-difficult method for processing lard.

Step one. Obtain good fat from a local farmer who feeds his animals the way you want them fed.We charge $2.99 for our hog fat which is what lard is made from. Organic Fat is the store will be twice as much.

Step two. Put the fat in a large roasting pan and put the heat on 300. This will liguify it and separate any meat, gristle from the fat. I usually do 5-15 pounds of fat at a time. You can also use a heavy pan and put in oven. I don't reccomend doing it on the stove. Too easy for the fat to burn and you have to watch it too often. Waste of time.

Step three. Stir the fat occasionally. It takes several hours for fat to break down slowly without burning. Yes, the whole house smells like bacon for days.

Step four. Drain the liquid fat. You can use cheesecloth or a coffee filter like I do, or that dishtowel your Aunt Agnes gave you. You know the one with giraffes because that is what you collected in grade school.

Step five. Let the drained fat cool. Feed the cracklins (leftover meat and fat chunks) to your family, your dogs your cats. I like mine with coarse sea salt. Store the lard in fridge for many weeks or in freezer for many many months.

Now go make the best pie crusts, and biscuits EVER!


  1. Hi Donna,

    I've read you can do it in the oven, but I haven't tried. I babysit mine on the stove and yes, you are right, it is easy to burn. I haven't rendered the fat I got from you the other day yet, so I am going to try the oven method this time around. I can't wait to eat those cracklins!


  2. Great post! Crazy, isn't it, how the foods that we're warned against are the very best for us? I usually use tallow because that's easier for me to get. Corn tortillas or french fries made with real fat are beyond delicious!

  3. UGH! I JUST made a batch of lard on the stove....and of course, it burned! Not horribly, but still enough to leave it with a smell that I don't care to impart with my biscuits or pie crusts. Thinking I may make some soap with itI was actually looking at MY nesco roaster thinking the exact same thing you did. No more rendering fat on the stove for me!!

  4. FYI...I grind the fat through an extra course meat grinder. The smaller pieces seem to render faster. I also wouldn't mind if anybody wanted to trade some extra lard from the best kept,grass fed, milk fed hogs raised by the best kept, best fed, milk fed farmers in the midwest to friends, family and fellow countrymen... countrywoman...countrypeople?..OK anybody who might be interested in creating empty space in the overstuffed freezer that needs to be filled with other goodies for the holiday's. UGHHH being PC is so unPC. the fine print...if OK'd by

  5. Pig fat is highly regarded here in France; especially the hard fat. We coarse mince it for inclusion in Patés, Terrines, etc. It's not always easy to find!

  6. And not to forget: lard makes fine, hard and white soaps.

  7. Anon...thanks for coming by our store and good luck with your over lard!

    Amy do use tallow for your soap? I love lard for mine but found the tallow not as smooth. What say you?

    Carolyn, yeah and burnt fat is hard to get clean. Like me in summer!

    Doug, I prefer country goddess

    Cro. If it didn't cost so much to ship I'd send a bunch to France. Why don't you and Mrs Cro move closer?

    Misc. The soapfrom lard is phenomanl I agree. I make abar with our lard, our milk, our honey and our eggs. I smell liked baked goods after my shower.

  8. This is totally fascinating. As I city girl I learn new things all the time from you blog. As a fantsy writer I log it away to be used at another time.

  9. I have just made my first batch of lard from our first home slaughtered Tamworth pig. I did it on the stove, which indeed take ages, but it was fascinating watching it melt down into lard. It is now in the freezer, being kept for a special occasion. I shall try it in the oven next as I still have a couple of bags of fat to be rendered from that pig in the freezer. Second pig to be home slaughtered next weekend, then that's it until we get our boar back in with our two sows!

  10. Judy, I too like to gather info from other blogs for my novels. One day I might even have one printed.!

    Vera. I'm so please there is yet another real fat lover out there in my crowd.

  11. I am on a tallow kick right now, but I love both tallow and lard. Lard is super creamy, but can be a little soft on its own. I need to try them together sometime--that would be amazing.

  12. Just read this, and I'm laughing, because I cook with our pig's lard every day.

    I was wondering why you said you can't sell your lard legally. Do you choose not to have your meat processor make the lard for you? Or do they not offer this service?

    Our local processor did the butchering, cutting, sausage making, and they kettle-rendered the lard for us. I was able to sell all of the cuts & lard since they're a USDA-inspected facility.

    Perhaps yours doesn't offer lard rendering? I think ours didn't for a while either when their kettle broke... just wondering!
    Pork fat rules! :-)