Rettland Farm

Rettland Farm

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Joint Lard Adventure, Part 2

A few weeks back, you may remember, I mentioned a little partnership we had gotten into with our friend Christine, who had been interested in getting her hands on some lard.

You might also remember that Christine, after learning that we didn't sell lard for several reasons, willingly, innocently, agreed to make her own at home.  And as an added bonus, she agreed to document the process for all of the rest of us.

Confession time.  I have made lard before.  I KNEW it wasn't quite as easy peasy as all the rustic homesteader or the foodie snob websites made it out to be.  And I also knew that it was a little...odiferous.

Stink?  No, not really, at least not to me.  But imagine the most intense musky, meaty, porky smell you've ever experienced.  Now double it.  And NOW you're in the ball park.

Throughout history, lard was probably rendered outside in the summer kitchen of the farmstead or even in the open air, in the dead of winter (cause that's when hogs were butchered), in a big open kettle over an actual fire.  No intense odors in the house while rendering it, or lingering of said odors inside said house for days thereafter.  Trouble is, most folks these days don't have a summer kitchen, or feel the urge to cook pioneer style in a cast iron kettle over open fire.

So I had the idea of modernizing the process and using that ubiquitous household appliance, a slow cooker, to slowly render the lard.  By doing so, we'd be able to put the whole operation and all its' intense eau de porkiness, outside.

I made this suggestion to Christine, and she RAN with it.

And I have to say, I think she has written some of the best Food writing I've ever read. I sincerely hope that this post of hers gets thousands of hits, because it's the real deal when it comes to rendering lard.  Her theme of "Hey, making lard ain't pretty, easy, or fun.  But it's worth it." is spot on, in my humble opinion. 

Check out her full post here. And then add it to your favorites.

And one last note:  I've been playing this as some kind of partnership or joint venture between Christine  and I.  It's not.  She did all of the research and all of the work.  She was the one jarring up liquid pork fat at midnight a few weeks ago, not me.  I'm just some farmer guy who gave up some pork fat.

Thanks Christine!




7 comments:

  1. I would have gladly given her my pork fat and split the lard :) Good idea to slow cook it outside. It is on my to do list in the next month or so.

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    1. Be sure to let us know how it turns out!

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  2. Homemade lard is way up on the list of life's good things and so much better than the pure white, over processed tasteless stuff sold in grocery stores.

    We render our own lard and also have a goose New Year's day every year whose fat we treasure and use all year for frying and cooking. Biscuits made with lard or goose fat are wonderful and the pastry dough is mouthwatering.

    Of course this is from a woman who won't buy potato chips unless they are fried in lard, go figure.

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    1. Betty, you sound like someone who hasn't bought all the anti-fat propaganda from the last 30 years or so. That's terrific to hear!

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  3. Thanks Beau! You are too kind. It was an awesome experience and I am so spoiled by all this wonderful lard! I made banana muffins with it the other day and they were some of the best muffins I've ever had!! What's our next adventure? ;-)

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    1. Ready to tackle using chicken feet to make stock? How about chicken livers, any ideas for them??

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  4. Years ago we got our own lard back from a local butcher shop outside of New Oxford (no longer in business) and gave the lard to a neighbor that made old fashion lye soap--good poison ivy remedy also. The butcher shop also made wonderful scrapple--old lady stirred the big kettle--and that was a good smell.

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