Sunday, April 15, 2012

Adventures in Lard Land

I made lard this weekend. Yep, lard.

Saturated fats have been demonized for years. I was scared of "artery-clogging-saturated-fat" for a long time. I think most of America was ... and still is. After watching Fat Head, digging through the research of Mike and Mary Dan Eades (that link is a good one, read it) and reading some of Gary Taube's work, I overcame my trepidation. More than that, actually. I embraced saturated fats in my diet.

So, I began buying lard at Walmart instead of Crisco or other synthetic "vegetable" oils ... until I learned that the lard sold at most stores is hydrogenated (which creates a trans-fat by product -- the exact thing I was trying to avoid). Being hydrogenated gives the lard a long shelf life, so I see why they do it. I just didn't want to eat it anymore.

So, I picked up some pre-ordered pig fat from a rancher from my local farmers market. All of his meat (chicken, beef and pork) is pasture raised and grass-fed and- finished. This means the animals graze all day in an open pasture and aren't fed grains, so their meat and fat is higher in omega-3 fats. (This is the good kind of fat). The fat in traditional grain-fed animals produces omega-6 fat, which is in abundance in our standard American diet and also why people take fish oil supplements (omega-3 supplements).

But enough of the context for why I did this. Here's what I did.

Picked up 5 lbs fat and brought it home:

Cut it up and plopped it in the crock pot:

I set the crock pot to low, and just let it do its thing (this takes a long time and a lot of attention. As the fat begins to render off, you have to remove it. I forgot to take a picture in the middle of the ladling process, so this is near the end of the first batch.)

I strained it through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. (Those are my hunky boyfriend's hands there. He's great in the kitchen.)

Then I poured the strained fat into jars:

I let it cool down a bit, then put it in the fridge. The next morning, I had this!

I gave one pint to my dad, but had six total pints rendered from the five pounds of fat I purchased. I'm so happy it came out all snowy white. Apparently, it has a tendency to turn a darkish tan color if not rendered properly. If I ate wheat, this stuff would be ideal for baking.

Lard is the perfect fat for frying. Or deep frying. It's stable and holds up to high temperatures. I also plan on using some of it in the near future to make my first foray into making carnitas. :)

It will stay good in the fridge for about three months, or much longer in the freezer.

There you have it, folks. Lard.

To your good health,



  1. way cool thanks for the detailed information on how this is done! and good for you for doing it its will be well worth your efforts..!!!!

    1. Thanks so much! I use my homemade lard all the time! :)

  2. Home made things are always best and can never be replaced with anything else. i liked you post thanks for sharing the info with us..