The other day I made my first batch of lard! I feel like I’m really starting to get a handle on this whole food way of life. We’ve been cooking with the drain off’s of our bacon for months now, but I’ve wanted to cook and bake with lard for so long but too afraid to try it. Plus I couldn’t find it anywhere. But this past weekend while at the farmers market a stall had up a sign “Free pork lard with every purchase!” So I bought a few grassfed/finished sirloin steaks and grabbed my lard. I thought it would be all done for me when I got home. But alas I had to do all the work myself.
Wasn’t too hard really, just more time consuming. Here’s how I did it.
- Cut up your lard into 1/2 in cubes. I’m toying with the idea of just throwing it in my food processor next time, I’ll let you know how that goes.
- In a large stock pot put about 1/2 cup of water and then the lard bits, turning the stove on low-medium heat. The water is to stop the lard from burning before it starts to melt, the water will evaporate out
- Now wait, and wait and wait and wait. lol Some websites I read said it only took about 45 min to an hour, but I found it took me much longer than that. Maybe I had the heat on too low? But anytime I turned it up it started to crackle and it MUST NOT crackle.
- Here is my top tip! After the first initial few hours of melting, start pouring off the fat into your strainer lined with cheesecloth every 30 min or so. My fat just WOULD NOT melt, I seriously had it on the stove for like 4 hours, and there were still loads of chunks. But once I started pouring the melted bits off it seemed to give more room for the rest to melt, after that I was finally in business and managed to finish up a few hours later.
After all said and done I had just about a pasta jars full of beautiful creamy white lard. I got scared at first because when I first poured it into the jar it was really yellowy. But apparently that’s ok! It will cool off and turn white. Now I can store this in my fridge for up to a month and use in place of butter or coconut oil for a different taste.
The lowdown on Lard:
Lard is a pork fat, the best type of fat to make a good cooking lard with is leaf lard. It has a very distinct flavor, but when rendered correctly is a smooth. If over rendered it may start to taste a bit piggy, but this is still very good lard to use for a stir-fry, for greasing pans, or for roasting vegetables. Lard has a very high melting point which makes it perfect for frying. As a frying oil you can use it time and time again. The exact amount of times is up for debate. Using lard to make a piecrust (even a grain free one!) yields a flakier crust which is yummilicious. (I actually plan to now use my lard to make a pie crust for some yummy pumpkin pie!)
Be careful when buying store bought lard as it tends to be the partially hydrogenated kind and that stuff is just bad, bad, bad. You can usually source some decent lard from your local butchers, but it’s even better to source it from a pasture-raised farm so you know you’re getting the best possible quality.
How do you feel about Lard? Are you afraid of it? Have you listened to conventional wisdom for so long leading us to believe that something as natural as lard is bad for us, yet shortening is healthier? Or are you jumping onto the lard train and reveling in it’s deliciousness and versatility?