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Discussion Starter #1
Since I can't seem to master rendering lard inside I bought a large cast iron pot for outside. I used a drill with a metal attachment and "sanded" the rust off then I coated it with oil.

I just threw some fatback in and I assumed it would be sacrificial but I had idea the liquid fat coming off the meat would be *so* black. :(

Here's how it's set up, before I started the fire. Any tips? Is it too close to the flame ? I'd really like to lose as little fat as possible. ImageUploadedByHomesteading Today1412796643.681200.jpg
 

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A stiff bristle brush, some dish soap, lots of elbow grease and plenty of water to rinse. Repeat... repeat... until soap foam comes out white and rinse water comes out clear.

Old cast iron is very porous... that's what holds the carbon buildup that is called seasoning. Likely your pot has been sitting so long it rusted between the carbon and the iron so all the old carbon is and must come out before re-seasoning. You may even need to repeat the fatback process a time or two until the grease turns out clear... the old carbon sometimes cooks out easier than it washes out.

Your set-up looks good. Keep a hot fire under the pot, some smoke from the fat is expect but watch not to let it burn.

It's a bit of work and trouble but you'll have a great pot when your done.
 

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I doubt she has a sandblaster (I am right, You don't have a sandblaster? DO YOU???)
Here is what I do with a cast iron pot of unknown origin. I make a very hot fire. I get lots of really hot coals and I put the pot in and cook it. This burns away any and all grease contaminates etc. that may have build up over the years. Then I remove and let cool. (if you do a good job it will get red hot in the process, do not allow it to cool quickly as it will crack) What I mean is do not spray with water etc, just let it cool slowly sitting by the edge of the fire once you pull it out. Now all of the stuff built up over the years should be burned away and you are left with a nice red, rusty, piece of metal. Wash with soap and water and S.O.S. pads or some other steel wool or automotive sandpaper that is meant to be used wet. When you have done this enough to the inside, that it looks clean and it rinses clean. Then you are ready to start wiping it out with oily rags. The oil will remove more rust and stuff (that you thought was gone already) when you can wipe it out with the oily rag and it is fairly clean, time to start cooking.

BTW, If you do have a sandblaster, you can skip most of the steps and just go right to wiping it out with a oily rag.
 

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I have heard the crock pot method works for small batches. I have done whole hogs in my big pot like she has. Lots of work getting a new pot ready the first time, but after that you will have a very good tool at your disposal, if you take care of it, store it inside, and oil it well before putting it away until the next time.
 

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I have heard the crock pot method works for small batches. I have done whole hogs in my big pot like she has. Lots of work getting a new pot ready the first time, but after that you will have a very good tool at your disposal, if you take care of it, store it inside, and oil it well before putting it away until the next time.
I have my grandparents huge like 4' across and 4' deep cast iron pot/vat and honestly I would rather do small batches in the crock pot than sit up half or more of the night or day feeding a fire and tending lard. So I put most of the fat, I only use pure leaf fat anyway, in the freezer and do a batch up when I am going to need it, holidays and such for pies, frying, etc.
 

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That is the good thing about having all the different pots and things. We can pick and choose how we like to do it best. None necessarily right or wrong, just different. I like cooking it up in the big pot outside when it is cold. Makes for an enjoyable day, we make a family event out of it, the same as with butchering day.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't have a sand blaster. I could probably take it somewhere and have it done, right ? Or rent one from Sunbelt ? What in the world is a sand blaster?

I like my pot and I'm keeping it. Never know when I might need to mix a brew in my cauldron. Eye of newt, or whip up a voodoo doll. ;). Besides, I can't dip dead chickens in a crock pot.
 

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Your new/old pot is lovely, but if you don't know how to use a sand baster then better to take it to some one do have it done, like I said more money, but it will be good for a boiling pot to dunk chickens in for plucking!!
 

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Ok. Besides the pot issue. Add water to your "stuff' to be cooked down. cook. It will seperate when cool. The lard will rise and you can "skim" off the surface. Usally the meat, what would have been crackelens ect. ect will be in the water down below.
 

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I don't have a sand blaster. I could probably take it somewhere and have it done, right ? Or rent one from Sunbelt ? What in the world is a sand blaster?

I like my pot and I'm keeping it. Never know when I might need to mix a brew in my cauldron. Eye of newt, or whip up a voodoo doll. ;). Besides, I can't dip dead chickens in a crock pot.
A sandblaster is kinda like a powerwasher that uses sand instead of water.
 

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Don't get your fire too hot, you can scorch the fat real easy. Pick a Saturday, start early, plan a cookout with the family, have some friends over and visit with them around the pot. Maybe provide some food and refreshments. That way by the time it is all cooked down and ready to get to work putting it up and all, they will feel too guilty to leave without helping. (AT LEAST YOU HOPE THEY DO???)
 

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I can only add in agreement, heat your fat with a low fire, NOT a hot fire. Your pot looks too close to the fire in the photo. No other reason it wouldn't work just fine.

As for sand blasting, contact a local welder, machinist, or powder-coater. One, if not all, would have a sand blaster. My DH uses his regularly. For small jobs, he has a blasting cabinet.

As for amounts? I am a bit impatient, really like to get my job done. That is why I will use 2 or 3 canners at once, even multi-tasking (canning while dehydrating...). When I render lard, I really want to get as much done as possible. I have made it using a crockpot, stove, and oven. The oven won by a long shot for my preference. Since I had double ovens with multiple steel pots, I could process up to 30#s of fat in a day. I would call that a pretty good sized batch.

The key to the best lard is low heat, filtration, and not over-cooking it. I would dip out the rendered lard when there was enough, and can it during the process. Also, I never had to refrigerate it and none ever spoiled.
 

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I've processed 80# of fat into lard in a day using two medium/large crock pots. Add water, don't scorch, stir every hour or two, and strain through cheesecloth.

Although it would be enjoyable to do it outside, carefully regulating the fire and lard...I simply don't have the disposable time to do it that way. With crock pots it's a passive, in-the-background activity that can be done while I'm doing other projects.
 

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Oh, Muleman-How you would get lambasted on the CI sites-for the record, I agree with you!
 

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PrettyPaisley

Keep the leaf (internal organ fat) fat separate from the fat from the back of the animal and process the leaf lard in a crock pot. The leaf lard is the premium lard used in delicate pasteries. The crock pot will not overheat and cause the color of the lard to yellow.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My crock pot appears to overheat, as when I use it the lard smells piggy. I've tried the stove top method, same thing. The last resort was in the oven and the (not added) liquid from the fat didn't evaporate so there was water in the strained through cheesecloth finished product.

After seeing how hot that pot got yesterday I'm not sure what I'll do. I thought it seemed too close to the fire and I want a tripod, but the man I got the pot from said his FIL made the stand thinking someone would make Brunswick stew in it. And right now that sounds delicious.

For now the lard is staying in the freezer until I figure out what to do.
 
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