Eating Nose to Tail


 
Recently I picked up a pound and a half of beautiful white pork fat.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it but it looked to good to pass up.  After looking around on the internet I decided to render the fat and use if to make confit, or maybe a pastry, sometime in the future.  From what I can tell as long as I keep my rendered pork fat (aka lard) in the fridge it would last three months, and if I froze it it would keep for a year.
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I took my fat, which had some little bits of meat attached and chopped it into small pieces. 
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My chopped fat as well as a few spoonfuls of water were added to my dutch oven and placed over low heat.  I expected this whole process to take an hour and a half, maybe two.  This turned out to be a total underestimate.
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Just added to the pot.
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One hour.
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Two hours.
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Three hours.
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Four hours.
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Five hours.
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Six hours.
Because I had never done this before I was nervous about leaving a pot of fat unattended on my stove.  I was held hostage by pig fat for more then six hours.  Once it seemed like all the fat was rendered I drained the contents of my dutch oven through a strainer lined with cheese cloth.
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I ended up with two distinct products.  A lovely yellow lard, as well as little bits of crisp, fatty, piggy deliciousness also known as crackling.  Why I hadn't thought there would be such a lovely by product is astounding.  But I ended up having almost as much crackling as lard.  The cracklings got laid out on a sheet and sprinkled with salt, yum.
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Salting the cracklings.
After six hours of watching fat melt I'm happy so say I have half a jar of beautiful fat, and a tray of deliciously sinful cracklings.  If I attempt this again I will be sure to use a lot more pig fat to make my hours of fat watching seem more worth it.
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Lard!
For the six hours it took to get this half a jar, I really hope that my lovingly rendered lard makes the best damn pie I've ever had.
 


Comments

Maggie B
08/06/2009 18:50

What an interesting topic! This reminds me of the ONE time I can remember my mom rendering pig fat - a ton of it! I don't know what she did with the lard.. but she made all kinds of Austrian dishes with the crackling (kraml). Needless to say... we were all very tired of the taste of kraml before too long. Too much of a good thing?

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Sydney
08/07/2009 10:50

Thanks for reminding me! My Omi LOVES kraml! These are much smaller than the kraml I remember from my Omi, they're tiny.

What did she put the kraml on? I remember Omi just kinda munching on it, I didn't realize it could be included in things as well.

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Maggie B
08/13/2009 15:09

Well... she made 2 different products with the kraml. The first was "kraml knoedel" ... potatoe dough dumplings filled with seasoned kraml (very heavy... but yummy)and something she called "kraml bogachel" Not quite sure how to spell that... or whether its Austrian or Croation... but the "bogachel" were similar to cheese scones... but instead of cheese, she used kraml. I think she made about 10 dozen of the things. Very, very good eaten warm with preserves.

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08/17/2009 05:43

I recently made a pie crust for the first time using lard. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, when the idea of lard was terrifying, so this was a big step for me.

The crust tasted different, definitely like animal, but it was the best pie I've ever made.

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Sydney
08/17/2009 09:23

@ Maggie B - I'm going to have to ask my Omi about those, they sound delicioius! Especially the kraml dumplings. Omi makes a meat filled dumpling as well, is the dough your Oma uses potato based?

@ Jade - The flavor of lard is different. It's awesome, but definitely different than butter. The great thing about lard is it's much easier to get a really tender crust. Butter pie crusts can get tough easily if they dough is over worked.

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Maggie
08/18/2009 19:41

Yes... the dumplings were potato dough. And since my mother and your Omi are sisters.. I'm sure they have the same recipe. She would be able to tell you about the kraml filling, since they serve them in some Austrian pubs - the last time I was in a Micheldorf pub - it was on the menu. What a surprise!

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Sydney
08/20/2009 08:17

That's true! It's amazing how different my Mum, Omi and my versions of the same dish are though. So I'd imagine that even though our Omi's are sisters they make that same dumpling recipe very differently. I've never seen my Omi put kraml in anything, for example. I'll have to ask her for that recipe the next time I visit :)

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Ingrid
08/20/2009 14:20

Hi Honey,

Omi made Kraml (crackling) for your dad a couple of times at the cottage. He loved them even though he had a huge aversion to fat. The ones Omi made were much bigger than what I see in your pics and only took about half an hour. They were about the size of the top of your finger and very, very crunchie!

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Sydney
08/20/2009 18:34

@Ingrid

The one's I've seen Omi eating from the butcher on Bloor St were about that size, I'd love to make them. Especially if they only take half an hour :)

Do you know any recipes that Omi makes using kraml as an ingredient?

(Hi Mum!)

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Ken
12/20/2009 12:13

I am looking for asources of pork fat. Any recommendations?

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Sydney
12/20/2009 14:44

Get a good butcher, or go to an Asian supermarket :D

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roxanna
02/21/2010 06:29

sydney or Maggie, can either of you post the recipes for what you are talking about the "Kraml" dumplings and scones.

Ken you can call a local meat processing plant to get fat.

thanks,
Roxanna

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Beth
01/09/2011 07:48

Thank you so much for posting the pictures. Helped me a lot as I rendered my many pounds. My cook time was significantly less however. My butcher instructed me to coat the heavy pan with a spoonful of fat on medium heat then turn the heat to high, add all the fat and render it out quickly, cool and strain. This worked great. Your pictures were invaluable for my first time rendering. Thanks again.

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Sydney
01/10/2011 07:09

So glad you weren't held hostage like I was! Truthfully, I think I was just being timid. I'm sure the next time I do this it will take a lot less time.

I'm so glad this helped!

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Robin
02/23/2011 11:43

As not to be ''held hostage'' by the process, I used my crock-pot. I could leave it on overnight which was necessary for the 21 hours it took to render 14 lbs of fat.

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03/28/2011 19:29

The article is worth reading, I like it very much. I will keep your new articles.

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paula in concord nh
12/14/2011 18:08

Just bought half a pig from a local farmer. So much fat! I'm thinking hardened arteries. Yet, when I was in UK, I loved the pork cracklings. Have just chopped a big slab of "pork fat" and stuck it in a deep dish for overnight at low setting in my toaster over. I might have to finish the browning process with a pan tomorrow morning. But I expect a lot of fat will be rendered before then. Damn my arteries! I have already wrecked my body, and these are SO tasty when salted. I might put this fat-lard out for the birds to eat and keep the kidney fat (rendered) for a pie or two.

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vart
01/11/2012 08:40

Can anybody tell me from where I can get a pork fat, I need it for sick baby and I need ASAP. Thanks

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02/17/2012 18:29

Putting the fat in a crock pot outside in a woodshed or garage overnight was very helpful, plus it doesn't stink up the house. You can also use the rendered lard for soap making.

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lazza
06/25/2012 06:24

have pork fat

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07/30/2013 05:03

I have never tasted pork before. However, after reading this article I am eager to taste it. I will try that for sure and will get back to you with my reviews. Thanks for sharing this article with us and keep posting the updates.

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