How do I render lard?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BertaBurtonLake, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. BertaBurtonLake

    BertaBurtonLake Well-Known Member

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    Hi there, everyone!

    last night, my ex husband gave us about 200 pounds of fat from the hogs he butchered. I basically know how to render it into lard, but my specific questions are these:

    Can I use the big cast iron cauldron I bought at a yard sale and render it outside over a fire, would it be better to do it indoors on the stove, or should I use my propane grill on the deck? This would reseason the cast iron pot, right?
    About how long will it take to render the lard from the fat? After it is rendered, how do I store it? Can I put it into sterile mason jars? Will it seal itself as it cools like jam or do I need to use my FoodSaver to vacuum seal the lids?

    I am looking forward to all replies and suggestions.

    Thanks, y'all

    ~Berta
     
  2. grams

    grams fiber crone

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    On the cast iron pot, if it has ever had a crack fixed you can not render in it. Even a pot that will boil water will still leak when you render lard in it according to all of my grandparents, don't know for sure because they would never use those pots. Temperture is critical on the outside fire, it is easy to scorch.
    We never sealed our lard, we just put it in cans and used it as needed, but we used it fairly fast so it didn't have time go bad.
    I might start out with a very small amount to get started, and then move on to the rest after I was comfortable with the process.

    Good luck,
    Ree
     

  3. Ramblin Wreck

    Ramblin Wreck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We did the same.
     
  4. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

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    First step is to run the lard through a meat grinder once, if you have or can get to one. This makes it much easier for the lard to melt evenly and also makes you a nice little treat.

    Next get that pot over a small fire and fill it up with lard. Slowly melt the lard and bring to a boil. Hold at a boil until the cracklins are done. The cracklins are the little pieces of meat that were attached to the lard when it was cut from the animal. They are done when they are nicely browned. You will need to get a strainer with a long handle to get them all out of the pot. Do a good job here. Let them drain over towels etc.. , eat and enjoy.

    After getting the cracklins out, cut the heat and start dipping the lard out and into very clean, very dry coffee cans, jars etc. I use the little disposable tin baking dishes from safeway, buy alot of them lol. I do strain through a cloth and into an large jar first, then into the dishes.

    Lard does go rancid at room temperature after several months. This is why I use the tim baking dishes. They are cheap and they stack nicely in the freezer, and by using the small size ( 3 X 5 ) I always have just the right amount without creating waste.

    All that being said, it is a heck of a lot easier to do this over a gas or electric heat source where the temp can be readily controlled.

    Ted
    Crabapple Ranch
     
  5. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The yard sale cauldren you have isn't a big old butchering kettle is it?? Is it more like a cast iron pot you could set on an old wood stove to boil the old tough rooster in??
    Either way, I'd be very leary about cooking anything in it. Who knows what has been in it before you bought it.
    If you have 200 pounds of fat, you could wind up with something like 20 gallons of rendered lard.
    One thing they done while rendering lard was stir it almost continualy with a wooden lard paddle while it was cooking. You definately don't want it scorched. If you have a dutch oven you could use it to cook in either on the stove or on one burner on the grill. I've seen my mother render the lard from one hog in a big cast iron skillet on the cook stove. She strained it through the calander and squeezed the fat out of the cracklins with the the wooden pestle that fits the colander.
    Be careful pouring hot fat into anything glass.
    I would line a five gallon bucket with a food safe plastic bag to store it in. Keep it as cool as possible and it will keep up to hot weather. Freezing is another option.
     
  6. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    the rendering advice you have gotten is good. i'd be leary of using the cast iron pot because liquids cooked in them tend to get a kind of greyish black color from the iron. it won't hurt you, it's just not pretty, and lard is supposed to be white or creamy colored. use a big soup kettle (or stock pot) instead.
     
  7. FarmerJeff

    FarmerJeff Well-Known Member

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    We just rendered 50 pounds of fatback in a couple separate batches by chunking it into 1 inch pieces and filling a large stock pot. We then put the stockpot in the oven at 225 degrees and went about our other work. We checked it periodically, but the oven kept it a perfect even temperature. Took about 6 hours per batch. Worked like a charm.
     
  8. BertaBurtonLake

    BertaBurtonLake Well-Known Member

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    The cast iron pot I bought has been reconditioned up to the point of reseasoning. I burned out the whole thing in an outdoor fire pit and my husband cleaned the rust and scale out with a wire brush attached to his drill. It is all spanking new and clean looking inside with no pitting or holes.

    It has 3 small feet on the bottom and looks to hold about six gallons.

    Thank you for all the good answers here. I will let you all know how it turns out.

    One more question.....should I process the jarred lard in a boiling bath for about 10 minutes? Will this increase the shelf life when kept in a cool dark dry place?

    Thanks again,

    ~Berta
     
  9. posifour11

    posifour11 Well-Known Member

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    one thing i would add is my storage method. i funnel it into half gallon canning jars while its still liquid, then screw on the lid. that way as it cools it seal itself. then it goes in the pantry. works well for me.
     
  10. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Here's how I do it, read the directions in one of my do it yourself books, or maybe even Carla Emery's book. I forget where. Anyway, grind or chop the lard first if you can, and put in a covered roaster pan in the oven on the lowest setting, 200 or so. Add a couple cups of water to prevent sticking and to float the stuff that you don't want. I've done the water and done without it, doesn't make much difference. You can even do this overnight if you want. The next day, strain out the cracklins and any large pieces, you can use coffee filters, old muslin, or whatever. I put it right into large mouth pint canning jars, put lids on, and they sealed when cool. Some are still sealed and good after two years. Easy, and not a lot of hassle. Good luck!

    Jan in Co
     
  11. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    We've always used an old cast iron "washpot" with a wood fire. Works fine.

    We don't grind lard, we cut into cracklins, and go from there.

    Lastly, we use 1 gallon jars with Mason lids for storage.
     
  12. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    I don't use water when rendering lard, only tallow. Lard is much softer and all the water has a hard time evaporating out. Here's a pictorial of how I render. (much like FarmerJeff & posifour11)

    http://www.mullerslanefarm.com/render
     
  13. fantasymaker

    fantasymaker Well-Known Member

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    Be sure not to use paper hand towels for filters they have lanolin on them and may have a effect on the ol digestive system!
     
  14. LamiPub

    LamiPub Ami

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    We grind the fat, cook the lard in a large pot over propane cooker burner stand out in the shed, stirring it often with heavy wooden ladle. Before we strain it we let it cool some because we pour it in our old plastic gallon ice cream buckets (if the lard wasn't cooled down of course it would melt through the plastic so be careful!) Once they are filled and set we put on the lid and store them in our deep freeze or cellar. Don't know how long after 9 months because we usually use ours up by then.
     
  15. Horselover

    Horselover Joyce

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    I noticed you all didn't mention Lard Cans. Doesn't anybody use them anymore?
     
  16. SherrieC

    SherrieC Well-Known Member

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    my husband works in metal spinning, so we have the fortune of having a huge Stainless steel container to render in. It's a bad part. We've done tallow and lard in it.
     
  17. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Anybody else remember cracklin cornbread? Mom always made it after the rendering was done. Good stuff, I haven't had it any 50+ years but I still remember how good it was.
     
  18. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    Cracklin cornbread? Yup, still enjoy it
     
  19. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

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    Cracklin pancakes!! Serve with sorghum or molasses. Yum!

    I rendered lard in a jelly kettle (maslin pan) on the smallest gas burner on the stove. Took 8 hours or so, stirring every great once in awhile. Worked like a charm. Put the lard in plastic containers and froze them as I ran out of room in the well house. Next year I'll make sure I have room out there, should keep without any problems.
     
  20. Charleen

    Charleen www.HarperHillFarm.com Supporter

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    I couldn't strain our liquid lard through coffee filters, so I used paper napkins and that seemed to work ok. I wouldn't think there'd be lanolin in paper napkins because you're using them on your face & mouth. Any opinions on this?

    And, also, I poured my hot rendered lard into wide mouth quart canning jars, let it cool, the lid collapsed and appeared to seal but I was still able to pop the lid off just using my hand. So, I guess they really didn't seal properly. I don't like using this method for jams either. Just doesn't feel too safe to me.

    I have about 50# in the fridge to render from the last batch of pigs that went to freezer camp. I'd better get busy.