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.