Sunday, January 16, 2011

Try, Try Again

Earlier posts:
Swine and Mankind - The satiating power of dietary fat, mankind’s long history with swine, and the changes made to swine through genetic selection and some implications for humans fighting excess fat.
Lard, Glorious Lard – The uses and benefits of lard.


One definition of “try” is to melt or render. The Yankee innovation that permitted the formation of the Yankee whaling industry was figuring out how to move the “try works” from shore-based installations to shipboard ones.

Here’s the process I use to render our lard and beef tallow:
Pork fat from Afton Field Farm
Shred the frozen pork fat in a food processor. (During my first attempt at rendering lard I just cut the fat into chunks, but shredding produces a better yield, in much less time, and the resulting lard is whiter.)
Place the shredded fat in a heavy pan on medium heat.
Our dogs gave us this enameled cast iron Dutch oven for Christmas '09. Good dogs!
Since the fat is shredded, it doesn’t take very long to render (note the time on the stove clock).
Seven minutes later, a significant amount of melting ...
Five more minutes ...
Seventeen minutes later, almost completely rendered.
Once the bubbling has somewhat subsided (about 30 minutes), strain the fat through cheesecloth to remove the cracklins.
Close-up. Almost done.
The yield of rendered fat was almost 85 percent of the starting shredded fat weight.
Pour the fat into loaf pans and allow to cool and solidify at room temperature. Once cooled, place the pans in the refrigerator to fully harden. Once fully hardened, I remove the lard from the loaf pan, wrap in wax paper, put it in a plastic bag, and freeze it.

I use a 1-to-1 mix of lard and tallow for our pemmican and we use lard as a cooking fat, but most of that comes from cooking side pork (the uncured part of the pig that's made into bacon).

Enjoy your fat!

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