Pigs are just some of the animals we proudly raise here at Clucky Dickens Farm. When people find out we butcher our hogs at home, many of them ask, “So are you gonna render lard?”
But, of course!
There are many ways to render lard but our family opted for the most convenient method possible: we grabbed one of our slow cookers.
Let me show you how we render lard here at Clucky Dickens Farm.
How to render lard step 1: cut up your pig fat.
Cut the fat into small chunks. We discovered that approximately five pounds of hog fat will fit in our 6 quart slow cooker. When the slow cooker is pleasantly full, cover it and set the slow cooker on low.
How to render lard step 2: cook overnight.
Let the pig fat cook on low for about 8 hours, or overnight. After 8 hours—or in the morning—your fat will start to look like…well, really fatty bacon.
How to render lard step 3: strain off the liquid fat.
Set up whatever straining system works best for you. This was our we render lard and use what we have set up:
It’s a 2 quart glass bowl with a colander set inside. The first colander is lined with cheesecloth—in our case, an old but clean flour sack dish towel—and then has another colander set inside of that.
Now take a look at your hog fat. It should be starting to liquefy. Ladle that good stuff off.
Pour that into your strainer set up.
Catch all that wonderful strained liquid fat.
How to render lard step 4: pour into containers for storage.
Measure and pour into whatever containers you want. The first time we made lard with a slow cooker, we used 1 pint plastic storage containers.
Let it cool off.
It starts to turn white as it solidifies. (Our kitchen light makes it seem more yellow than it actually was.)
Lard will keep in the fridge for a couple months, or the freezer for a year. But you’ll be using this lard in so many things, you will be lucky if it lasts you that long!
Looking for recipes that use lard? Check out Lard: The Lost Art of Cooking With Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient
How to render lard step 5: repeat the process.
Now you know that awesome process I just explained? Repeat that until there isn’t any liquid left in the slow cooker. We checked our slow cooker every 15 minutes, for another 2-3 hours, continuing to strain off liquid.
(Optional) Step 6: Make Cracklins.
So what do you do with all those chunks left in the strainer and at the bottom of the slow cooker? Those could be future cracklins!
In a slow cooker they don’t get crispy, so you need to dump the bits that are left into a cast iron fry pan and fry them up to get what most of my relatives think of as cracklins.
Then again, we are northerners. Southerners might have a totally different reference point for what cracklins are. Feel free to educate me in the comments.
Do you raise your own meat pigs? Here are a couple other articles of mine that might interest you…