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.
I took my fat, which had some little bits of meat attached and chopped it into small pieces.
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.
Just added to the pot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"using virtually the entirety of any plant or animal"