Rendering Pork Back Fat - Silky White Porcine Luxury

Rendering Pork Back Fat - Silky White Porcine Luxury

There are a lot of things we have learned in our short time owning a little farm. Some are dramatic (cows trying to leap fences) while some are so subtle and so simple and yet provide tremendous joy.

One such item is lard

Lard was used for centuries by virtually all people groups who raised or butchered pigs. The silky white fat from the porcine backs is what most of the worlds cured meats contain to bring that unctuous, moist and viscous feeling on the lips when eaten. Lard is used to bring fat into venison sausages because the elk or deer or moose simply isn't fat enough on its own. Traditional Tuscan salami contains additional pork fat, as does the classic Roman Pepperoni. Lard is used in many Latin dishes and can make the most beautiful pastry. You have heard of shortening right? Well lard was natures' shortening for centuries.  And when rendered down, lard is pretty much the most perfect fat to cook with. 

We used to buy good quality bacon and we would keep the fat in a jar on the counter to cook with, but now that we have raised and butchered our own pigs, we went through a so-simple-it-is-embarrassing lesson on how to render the back fat of the pig and turn it into the beautiful white stuff you see in the picture. We keep a jar next to the olive oil near the stove for everyday cooking and use it to sear our steaks, roast vegetables and so much more. 

Rendering Pork Fat

Keep your back fat in the freezer up to 2 hours before you are ready to work. Remove from freezer (the slight firmness remaining will help in the next step).

Slice up the pork back fat you got from the butcher in chunks that you can fit into your meat grinder.  Grind it all into a bowl.

Place all the ground lard into a colander and place into a Dutch oven. Bake at 225 degrees in your regular oven, stirring bout every hour or so as the fat slowly melts into the Dutch oven.

When done, pass the now rendered fat through a fine mesh strainer to capture any meaty bits still remaining.

Place into your jars or we like to use 2 cup "take out" containers and freeze. It may keep forever honestly. A couple of tablespoons will transform your meal.