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.”
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.
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!
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.
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.