We also ended up with seven pounds of pig blubber (that's from ONE pig). I decided to try my hand at rendering lard, which sounds complicated but is pretty easy if you have a crock pot.
Lard is amazing. Compared to olive oil, lard is a close second in the monounsaturated fat department. The main fat in lard (oleic acid) is a fatty acid associated with decreased risk of depression and heart disease, as well as anti-cancer benefits. Lard is packed with Vitamin D, which people are extremely deficient in here in the cloudy Pacific Northwest. Lard decreases LDLs, thus lowering "bad" cholesterol. Its smoke point is high, making it perfect for frying and baking super flaky pie crusts. Bring it on!
Here is how you render lard:
First, take the pig fat out of the freezer and cut it in small pieces. You can also grind it if you have a meat grinder. If we had cut the pieces smaller, we would have ended up with a little more lard, and with a little drier cracklings.
|Yes, I was a little bit grossed out handling this piggie blubber.|
We cut up six pounds of fat and froze the rest. That's all our crock pot could hold. Six pounds took eight hours to render and yielded almost three quarts of lard.
Then we added 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the crock pot, which helps prevent the fat from burning in the first stage of heating. It will all evaporate eventually.
I turned my crock pot on high for the first hour, with the top on, watching the whole operation very closely, stirring frequently. You don't want the lard to burn, otherwise it will look brown and taste bad.
Just keep an eye on it, stir it every now and then, and turn your crockpot on low if it gets too hot. It really depends on the type of crock pot you have. Of course, you could also do this on the stove top, but I would be worried about it burning that way.
The fat pieces will slowly start to melt and look a little bit
|Six pounds of fat in the crock pot.|
|Not very pretty, right?|
|In the background, you see the lard at different stages of cooling. Cracklings tempt in the fore ground.|