18 thoughts on “Do I render my own lard?”

    1. Hehe…not really at all. Get the lard, chop the lard, heat the lard is pretty much all it is. The trick is finding the leaf lard to begin with. Not easy in some parts of the country, unfortunately. Happily I live in Kentucky where pork is king!

      – Joe

  1. You made me so curious about this lard/butter health debate, and now I believe you have convinced me of its benefits! Monounsaturated?! And when I read about the pie crusts it makes, I decided to repent. 😀 I am way excited now. Can’t wait till i can locate some good lard!

    1. Find a farmer’s market meat purveyor and ask for some fresh leaf lard. If they don’t have any, odds are they can tell you where you can find it.

      – Joe

      1. Where do you find your leaf lard in Louisville? I’ve been asking around and haven’t had any luck.

        1. Ask the pork purveyor at the Highlands Farmer’s Market on Bardstown Road at Speed Avenue. He’ll hook you up!

          – Joe

  2. James Peterson has a great way of rendering duck fat in his book called Meat: A Kitchen Education. He takes the duck skin and fat for a ride in his food processor until it looks like “frosting”, I believe he says. It renders very quickly and well. I think it’d work equally well with any kind of fat. I have a pound or two of beef fat I plan to try it out on. Mmm. Tallow fried potatoes.

      1. Oh are they ever. Even better than pork cracklin’s which are pretty much like crack already.

        – Joe

  3. How well does clarified butter vs. lard in baking? It has a similar moisture content to lard.

    1. Hi Tom!

      Sorry for the late reply, I’ve had a backlog of emails this week what with the flu and all.

      That’s an interesting question. It’s true that both lard and clarified butter are similar from a moisture perspective, however they’re often quite different in terms of their texture. The texture of clarified butter can be anywhere from very soft to liquid at room temperature, whereas lard is firm-to-soft at room temperature. That makes a difference in baked goods, especially things like cookies, pie crusts and biscuits, which will end up denser and greasier when made with clarified butter. For things like cakes and breads, clarified butter can be an asset, increasing the tenderness of the crumb.

      Does that answer your question? Thanks for the comment!

      – Joe

  4. This isn’t an option everywhere, but if a local university has a meat lab, you can sometimes ask them to procure you a whole leaf lard (lard leaf? what do you call the object itself?). At least, the meat lab near my local university will do it. In my case, if I want a non-standard cut, I have to request it and wait for the next pig they butcher, but it’s usually not more than a week or two, and their animals tend to be pretty high-quality. Plus, the prices are good, and it helps out the students.

    1. Wow, great idea, Nicole. Never in a million years would at have thought of that.


      – Joe

  5. Okay, Joe – you talked me into it (I can blame you, right?). Five pounds of leaf lard from the meat lab, waiting to be rendered. I have a few questions, though – how well do cracklins reheat? Although I’m sure I could probably make them all disappear at once, that seems…imprudent. Two – is there any reason I shouldn’t use cast iron to do the rendering? Three – on the chance I choose not to render all five pounds, is it a waste of leaf lard to use some of it in sausages instead?

    Thanks for being your usual inspiring self!

    1. Way to go, Nicole!

      Cracklin’s reheat very well, though they must be baked or pan fried if you want them to crisp again. Cast iron is great for rendering…and the coating of fat will be a great reinforcement of the pan’s seasoning. My suggestion would be to render all the lard since it’ll keep for months and months and months. However should you decide against that the unrendered leaf lard can be frozen without ill effects (also for months). As for the uses, far be it from me to tell you what to do with your lard. It will make good sausage…but even better biscuits! 😉

      – Joe

      1. Help! I can’t de-pan my lard muffins! I’ve dinged up a couple of them trying to pop them out with a knife, and running warm water on the back of the pan just made them come out in greasy chunks. What to do?

        1. Hey Nicole! Sorry for the lateness. Maybe you’ve figured out the problem by now. I was thinking: avoid the hot water and just let them sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. That oughtta do it!

          – Joe

          1. Alas, I ended up having to dig it out in chunks. I now have a big bag o’ lard in my freezer. If I end up doing this regularly, I’ll get a couple of silicone trays. Thanks for the help, though!

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