Perhaps not as easy as looking at these photos, but really, rendering lard is not too difficult. First thing to remember, rendering is an all day activity…at least when I do it. Again, it’s not too difficult. You aren’t chained to the kitchen, just throw the lard (or in its raw state called fat back) in the oven, go do a few things, check on it after a few hours, go do some more things, peep in the oven and give it a stir. Super simple and you are multi-tasking!
The guidelines I follow come from the great Jennifer McLagan, author of Fat: An Appreciation of a MIsunderstood Ingredient. Her slow and steady philosophy has been working for my past three attempts so like they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. To begin, turn the oven to 200ºF. Next, put your lard (fat back) in a large oven safe container with a bit of water to ensure it won’t burn. And to finish, set the container in the oven and check it every 2 hours to ensure that it hasn’t burned. FYI: If you don’t check you lard every so often, it WILL burn which will result in a very piggy tasting lard. Again, think tortoise, not hare.
And that’s that folks. Render until, you have a lot of liquified fat in your container and the remaining fat begins to turn a slight brownish color. Then, all you do is strain the liquid fat into containers and place in the freezer of fridge for safe keeping!
Side Note on Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient. If you happen to check out the book, and I think you SHOULD, you will learn how lard has become sononomsis with being an unhealthy fat. It’s unfortunate, as McLagan points out because in reality lard is actually good for you and filled with a considerable amount of heart healthy monosaturated fats and less saturated fat than butter. Bottom line, really though folks. The flavor…enough said!
Turn the oven to 200ºF. Put your fat back in a large oven proof container with a bit of water to ensure it won’t burn.
Set in the oven and check it every 2 hours to ensure it isn’t burning.
After 4-6 hours when you notice there is a considerable amount of liquid fat in the pan, remove the remaining fat from the pan. Strain the liquid through a strainer or a cheese cloth into glass jars. Let cool and store in the fridge or the freezer.