We have rendered chicken fat for use in chopped liver or frying chicken and beef kidney fat for deep frying or making bird suet but it is too hard for making pastry. It is time to make pork lard; it remains softer than the tallow so is for future pastry endeavors.
Believe me, rendering fat is the easiest thing in the world to do and the results are far tastier than what you buy. We all use fat of one kind or another and less processed is always better.
We had half a pig delivered from a young local farmer. We had a great chat about staying local and the passions of homegrown everything. It reminds us of how we always say we met and started this journey about 10 years too late; to have the bulk of your life ahead of you instead of behind you is a gift we cannot have so we make hay while the sun shines.
We spent the evening butchering and bagging it all as we wished, then made a quick Italian/breakfast sausage as our first sausage experiment…that’s another post when we figure it out a bit more. Then it was time to deal with the fat.
We chopped the fat into 1-2 inch chunks, threw it in a large pot and heated on medium(We have also placed it in the oven at 225 in a dutch oven or roaster for several hours). It’s as simple as letting it simmer until there is nothing but crispy bits, then strain through cheese cloth in a colander until you are satisfied with the level of clean you have. Twice is usually enough.
Find a mold. Anything will do really, from a plastic bag, to a jar, to a lined shoe box… if it has a bottom and sides you are in business. This time we remembered the Singer sewing machine drawers we have been collecting and one was perfect for the fat from half a pig. We lined it with plastic wrap and then wax paper, poured in the luke warm fat and left it to set in the basement cold room.***Amendment, the pork lard needed to be transferred into a jar as it is semi-solid when cold but the moment it gets room temperature it melts. We have since made pure kidney fat lard and it is a beautiful white when done, no yellow at all. The non-kidney fat gets rendered for the deep fryer.
Making the basics that we rely on, not being lost without a store…that’s what homesteading means to us.