Sunday, June 8, 2014

Saponification Sunday...Fat Soap

Red Wattle Fat Fresh from The Locker



 Our Red Wattle hogs are good for more than just chops, sausage and bacon...they make excellent soap. Let me clarify. I make the soap, they provide the fat. When we take our hogs to the locker we get as much back as we can.

Such as your basic meat cuts, PLUS we take back all the fat, generally packaged in 2-3# bags. That fat is like white gold as far as we are concerned. For years we've been told that animal fat is bad. But what we've learned is the opposite, that animal fat from those raised outside, on pasture and grass is some of the best fat you can consume.

Or lather up with.

I love making lard soap as not only does it make a terrifically hard bar of soap, it also honors that creature even more. Seems such a waste to throw away large portions of butchered animals such as the "offal's" like brains and livers, feet, ears and hearts. But over the decades we Americans have become pretty picky about what we eat, and not in a good way and consequently we toss out some very nutritious parts of the farm animals we raise for consumption.

Pig fat is rich in minerals and vitamins which are not only good for your nerve conduction and skin elasticity (taken internally) but quite moisturizing as well.(used externally via a good lard based soap.) In fact lard consumption is once again on the rise. More good reasons to consume lard can be found HERE

To make it just cut up small large pig fat chunks into smaller ones and toss into a crock pot on low.

Don't worry about the small pieces of meat stuck to the fat as those heavier particles will drop to the bottom of the crock pot.

Let it simmer all day. After several hours the hard fat becomes liquid fat or lard.

Eventually you'll be left with melted fat that is a very pale yellow. You can dip out the melted fat and place it into a sturdy heat resistant glass bowl. I do not strain my liquid fat, (but you can if you want to using cheesecloth) I just avoid dipping too deeply into the crock pot with my ladle. The fat at the bottom of the crock pot can be scooped out and saved for cooking, all those little meat bits just add flavor to your eggs and potatoes! Any fat that does not dissolve completely gets fed to the dogs. Great for their coats!

And no, it does not give them "the taste" for live Red Wattle piglets. Why would they go to all the trouble of killing a screaming, wiggling piglet when they can get a nice little bowl of warm lard with bacon bits right on the front porch?

Liquid pig fat on the left. Pig fat that was melted and then cooled, (Lard) on the right

I then will use the lard in a couple of different ways in my soaps. Either I will substitute it for the coconut oil I use, adding olive, castor and avocado oils OR I will make 100% lard oil soap which is fantastic to then later grate up and use for your laundry soap.

My recipe to make 8 bars of lard soap, approximately 5 oz each is this:

     32 oz of melted lard (from a pasture raised hog, not the grocery store)
     10 oz water
     4.10 oz lye

Just like any other cold process soap recipe you should always double check any soap recipe with a Lye Calculator. Then add your lye to the water, NEVER add water to the lye, let cool to room temp and then add to your melted lard which should also be relatively cool but still in liquid form. At this point you can add any essential oils or colorants but I generally keep my lard soaps without either as they are used for laundry soap most often. Use your hand mixer and mix until trace and then pour into your molds.

Remember if you have never made soap before YOU MUST read the basics about soap making first. Safety guidelines, dos an don't about lye usage etc. The Soap Queen has some of the best tutorials on the Internet.

Pure lard soap hardens quickly and can easily be unmolded and cut about 12 hours after pouring in your molds.


  1. Thank you for sharing this info, Donna. I really appreciate it. Am dying to try my hand at making soap.

  2. Oh lardy, another wonderful post.

    1. Lard willing and the creek don't rise...there will be more.

  3. I'm going to make sure i let the butcher know this time around that i want ALL the fat from the pig i'll be getting in the fall.I got some of the lard and leaf lard from the last one (got a half last time). I also want to make sure i get more bones, too. Am still squeamish about hog's head cheese though.

    1. It was our first generation immigrants who come down from Chicago who taught us to use more of the animals as well as the chefs we used to sell to. We used to even sell pig feet and ears in our farm store until the USDA inspectors decided we could not. Just one more reason to butcher at home if you can.

  4. Can't wait to pick up our hog and fat to render to make our second batch of soap. Might even get crazy the second time and add a scent. You are a very influential person, family and farm.

    1. Well thank you D...opps I mean Black Squirrel, we've missed your smiling face down here!

  5. I love the concept of using all of the animal. I would like to try my hand at making a lard soap, but I am not sure if it would sell here.....maybe I should try a small batch for home use.
    Thank you for the great blog.