Nothing to Waste

I wish i didn’t waste any part of my pigs, but there were a few bits of offal I let go curbside, however this time I did take more of the “waste.”
fat trim

all this is fat trim. I also took home a box of bones, kept the jowls, hearts, livers, trotters and sold the ears and one stomach. I used the majority of the “waste” products I believe.

Now the fat has a purpose that is demonized these days: lard. I personally don’t have experience using lard, but I had an abundance of fat and didn’t want to waste my (not so)little Dot. I also have been approached by folks who want pastured pork lard, so i figure it would be good to keep on hand.

First step is chopping the fat up.

Chopping Pig Fat

I tried rendering small chunks of fat and didn’t get all the lard out, so I switched to a meat grinder like your Grandma (Great Grandma for some of you!) had. I still had to chop so it fit into the tiny grinder, but look at those lovely nuggets of fat!

Gound Pork Fat

Next you cook it. some folks start with a tiny bit of water in the pot, but i found it was warm enough outside that fat was oozing out of the little nuggets already. I used a crock pot for one batch, stove top with a heat disperser on the other. Both produced nice white lard. I rendered, strained out the fat and cooked the fat up a second even third time. In the end I got 5 quart jars full and 16 pint jars for a total of: 3 and a quarter gallons of lard! Wow, and I didn’t even use all the trim! I’ll definitely render again.

A Pantry of Lard

After the liquid fat is rendered out you still have little fat nuggets. If you are brave you can fry them up, add salt and its almost like bacon bits! I was very surprised to see my health conscious mother cook up some “cracklins'” and gobble a bowl of fried fat nuggets. Guess you can take a Southern Gal out of the south, but you can’t take out the Southern!


I live alone, so i doubt I’m going to use this much lard anytime soon, but i will be able to share with friends and family. I’m looking forward to some good pies and biscuits, myself.


8 thoughts on “Nothing to Waste

  1. sally

    I have just had a pig buchered and asked for the lard for soap making. The butcher told me lard is special fat that comes from around the internal organs. Prior to this I just thought lard was fat and rendering it was melting the fat and it sounds like that is what you are saying but I was just a bit confused when you spoke about separating the lard from the fat, I guess you mean the fat solids? Does the lard keep in the jar or does it have to be refrigerated?

    I just made sausages using up most of my fat and borrowed an electric grinder to do it. I have to tell you that is was not really much better than using the old style grinder that you used, Particulary for the sausages bit but I was on my own and it is hard to stuff the mince in one end and control what is going into the casings at the other end. The butcher could make the sausages too but I wanted something homemade as their sausages are a bit bland. I got it, I put way too much pepper in!

    When I was growing up (I am probably your mums age) we used to pour the juices and fat from the roasting joint into a jar. They would separate with the juices going to jelly at the bottom and the fat on top. We would spread the “dripping” on bread, it was so yummy, salty from the juices and greasy and so full of flavour.

    1. erikamay85 Post author

      There are a few kinds of fat. What your butcher was talking about was “leaf lard” and yes, only pure leaf lard forms around the organs. The Sexy Slaughter guy(tm) accidentally threw that away. oops!

      There is also the layer fat that forms under the skin: this needs to be rendered as I explained to get the lard out of the fat cells…the science of it I do not know, but i know it starts off white and by the time rendering is done the solids are clear and the liquid that you pour off is white when solid.

      What you used for the sausage is what you want to render. Next time ask for any “fat trim” and see what they give you.

  2. sally

    Thanks for the explanation, I will give this a go, I wanted my lard to make soap. “The Sexy Slaghter Guy” I dont know, that just sounds wrong!

    1. erikamay85 Post author

      Ahaha, I know, right? but he’s got some baby blues that sparkle, thick black hair…

      oh, and he’s calm and respectful to the animals he kills. Last guy was just like, “lets get over with this, aw, i missed, eh, who gives a shit.” And this guy didn’t hurry, just calm and kind. 🙂


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