We purchased a couple pasture raised hogs this past year from Green Finned Hippy Farms, which was a great experience! They were raised on pasture, fed non-GMO grains, and moved regularly to let the land heal and re-grow. The processor (where the farm takes the hogs to be butchered) let us know that they need so much pig fat before they could render it, that our lard
would be mixed in with non-GMO lard, so we asked for the un-rendered fat. This came in sheets of skin with about 1 inch of fat. The sheets were about 1 foot by 2-3 feet.
To render your own lard, you will need:
– Pig Fat
– Knife/Cutting Board
– A Slow cooker
– 1/2 cup of Water
The first step to render the fat into lard is to cut it into 1-2 inch cubes, and place them into the slow cooker. This allows it to fit well into the slow cooker and render faster. Once you have filled the slow cooker, poor 1/2 cup of water over the fat. This keeps it from burning in the slow cooker, and it will evaporate during the process.
Turn the slow cooker on low, and let it cook all day or over night. As it melts, the lard becomes clear, and there will be smaller cubes of skin left over that can be used to make cracklins.
Once the lard is simmering, you can pour it off into containers to cool.
The most difficult part of the process is pouring this much lard out of such a large container. I ended up spilling a lot on the counter (which is hard to clean up). Eventually I poured the rest into a pampered chef measuring bowl that had a handle and spout to make pouring much easier. The result was great!
The photo on the left is the fresh, hot lard, and the photo on the right is what it looks like after it cools.