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How To Render Lard In A Crock Pot

on August 6 | in Recipes | by | with 38 Comments

Did you know that lard is about 45% oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil?  Stop by my kitchen today and I'll tell you all about why I love lard, plus I'll show you a simple technique for rendering it at home.

After being wrongly accused . . .

For generations, lard is finally making a comeback as a healthy, traditional fat. If you’ve put off rendering your own because you worried it would take oodles of time, I have good news. It’s actually very easy, and today as part of our real food basics series I’m going to show you how.

Why I ♥ Lard

It’s Rich In The “Happiness Vitamin”

Next to cod liver oil, lard is the second richest source of Vitamin D. (source 1, source 2) According to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, one tablespoon of lard obtained from pastured pigs has been found to contain up to 1,100 IU of Vitamin D.

Why is this important? Because a growing number of studies are confirming the positive (though not exclusive) role of Vitamin D in preventing conditions like heart disease, hypertension and even common illnesses like the flu.  (source 1source 2,  source 3source 4)

It has also been found helpful for reducing symptoms associated with asthma, respiratory infections, and inflammatory bowel disease. (source 1, source 2source 3)  Preliminary research has also determined that certain cancers, such as breast and colon cancer, are associated with low Vitamin D levels. (source 1source 2)

It’s Heart Healthy

Yes, I’m serious. Lard is about 45% oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil. Monounsaturated fats “are responsible for lowering LDL levels while leaving HDL (‘good’) cholesterol levels alone.” (source)  It also contains saturated fat, which even TIME Magazine now admits is beneficial. Want to learn more about the health benefits of this under-appreciated fat? Check out these articles: Why We Try Hard To Eat Lard and 10 Reasons To Bring Lard Back.

It’s Affordable & Sustainable

Lard is much more affordable than coconut oil, olive oil and other healthy fats, and it can be sustainably accessed in most areas.

“Pigs are easily adaptable animals that can thrive nearly everywhere. Raising pastured hogs is a practice that produces a sustainable source of meat while improving the health of the environment. By rooting and foraging, hogs help to turn over topsoil and naturally fertilize the ground.” (source)

It’s Versatile

Lard has a high smoke point (370F) that makes it great for frying, and it’s unique composition also makes it a dream to bake with. Lard is often the “secret” ingredient behind State Fair blue ribbon pies – if you’ve never experienced the light, flaky texture it imparts you need to put it on your bucket list. But maybe you’re wondering . . .

What Kind Of Lard Should I Use?

Great question! Toxins such as antibiotics that are fed to factory-farmed pigs accumulate in their fat stores, so it’s very important to source your pork fat from healthy, pastured animals. Plus, pastured animals have higher Vitamin D stores.

Wow! I didn't know that lard is about 45% oleic acid, the "heart healthy" monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil. This post shares a simple technique for making it at home.

How To Render Lard In A Crock Pot

Note: For instructions on how to make lard in the oven instead of the crock pot, follow the instructions in this tutorial on rendering tallow. Just use pork fat instead.

Ingredients

  • Pork fat, preferably from pastured pigs. If you can’t find it locally, you can find it online here.
  • 1/4 cup water

Equipment

Slow cooker

Step 1: Cut or grind the fat into small pieces

How To Render Lard In A Crock Pot

Trim away any pieces of meat or blood as you go. When I first started making lard I was very fastidious about cutting away every tiny bit that had color. There’s not really any need to do that – just get the big stuff.

Step 2: Place fat in slow cooker

how-to-render-lard-in-a-crock-pot

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Add 1/4 cup of water to the slow cooker to prevent the fat from burning – it will evaporate during the rendering process. Set slow cooker on low.

After about an hour or so you’ll start to see some liquid in the bottom of the slow cooker. Progress! Give the pot a stir every once in awhile until the fat is completely melted.

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Step 3: Strain Lard

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When the lard is ready you’ll see brown bits of “cracklings” resting on the bottom of the pot with a layer of fat over them.

Pour the contents of your slow cooker over a cheesecloth lined colander to separate the lard from the cracklings.

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Pour the lard into jars and set aside to cool on a countertop or in the fridge.

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Don’t throw the browned bits away! You can use them to make cracklings. (See below for instructions)

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Bonus Step: How To Make Cracklings

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To make cracklings, simply sprinkle the leftover brown bits with a little salt and put them in a pan set over medium heat. As they cook some of the excess fat will melt away and they’ll become crispy. They’re called cracklings because they often pop and sizzle as they cook. Once they’re crispy remove them from the pan and serve. They’re delicious with a little hot sauce and a spritz of lime.

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38 Responses to How To Render Lard In A Crock Pot

  1. […] 2 TB tallow, lard, or olive oil  – You won’t be bringing the olive oil to 410 degrees so it won’t start to deteriorate if you decide to use it in this dish (here’s how to render lard) […]

  2. […] soy are best, while others prefer to stick to the traditional fats our grandmothers likely used: lard and tallow. Personally, I prefer the second approach, but I’ve also added an additional […]

  3. […] tablespoon pastured lard, tallow, coconut oil or butter (where to buy pastured lard, how to make your own pastured lard, where to buy coconut […]

  4. […] coconut oil, ghee, tallow or lard for browning, optional (here to buy pastured lard, how to render your own lard) […]

  5. […] 3 Tbsp coconut oil, lard or tallow (here to buy pastured lard, how to render lard) […]

  6. […] 2 Tbs. fat of choice: lard, coconut oil, or butter if dairy is okay (how to render lard at home) […]

  7. […] for frying – tallow, lard, or palm shortening (how to render lard, where to buy pastured […]

  8. […] Awhile back I wrote about coconut oil for radiant skin, a supercharged metabolism and preventing stretch marks. It’s what I’ve been using for years and I’ve been very happy with it. Thanks to a botched interstate road trip, though, my precious coconut oil ended up in a 10×20′ storage unit, so I cooked up a short-term solution: lard. […]

  9. […] what’s most important to buy organic, I prioritize animal products such as meat, dairy and lard the highest, and produce as second tier. From there I try to avoid the Environmental Working […]

  10. […] now that most Americans consume vegetable oils instead of traditional fats such as tallow, lard, coconut oil and butter the ration is between 17:1 and 30:1(source). That’s important, […]

  11. […] 3 tablespoons butter or lard (where to buy pastured lard, how to render lard) […]

  12. […] are much higher when our bodies produce Vitamin D via time in the sun, but supplementation with lard from pastured pork, cod liver oil and eggs also play a vital role in keeping levels where they should […]

  13. […] 1 tbsp coconut oil, ghee, lard or tallow (where to buy coconut oil, where to buy grass-fed ghee, where to buy pastured lard, how to render lard) […]

  14. […] organ meats such as liver), Wild-Caught Seafood, Animal Based Fats (butter, ghee, tallow, lard – all from animals raised on pasture), Eggs, Raw Milk Products, Lacto-Fermented Foods, […]

  15. Erin C says:

    People think I’m a freak, but lard-based “lotion” (more like body butter) is my favorite to use and make! My farmers give me pounds and pounds of undrendered fat and my fridge runs out of storage space pretty quickly. Infusing any animal-based fat, like lard or tallow, with a vanilla bean makes it smell like toasted marshmallows. No joke. Adding some coffee beans and/or herbs to the infusion only makes it better. Once some cocoa butter and carrier oils (olive, coconut, jojoba) are added it turns in to the most luscious lotion. It’s time consuming (mostly hands off though) but turns out so, so, so good!

    • Erin, do you have any recipes for your lotions? I’ve never made any, but it sounds great!^…

      • Krystal Wight Armstrong says:

        /\ That’s really weird, I have no idea why the “read more” mommypotamus link showed up in the bottom of my comment there, after I posted it…I’d edit or delete and try over, but you can’t delete comments. Oh well : )

      • Erin C says:

        Every time I make it, I remind myself to write down some of my measurements, but never do :( If I had to guess based on my “pours” and “handfuls” and the amount I get at the end, this is roughly what I do:
        4 c rendered fat (lard is my favorite for the texture, but tallow is amazing as well)
        8-12 oz cocoa butter (or other hard “butter” – shea would work just fine)
        8 oz coconut oil
        8 oz other carrier oil (I usually use a combination of olive, almond, jojoba, argan, vitamin e, tamanu or whatever I find on my “make stuff” shelf
        Beeswax – an ounce or two
        Smell good add-ins – vanilla beans (for me this is a must-have), coffee beans, dried calendula, dried lavender, dried chamomile, etc (my last batch smelled like s’mores with vanilla beans, calendula flowers and cocoa butter)
        Place rendered fat and a couple handfuls of whatever smell good add ins you’re using into an oven safe pan
        Leave in a 110 degree oven for 12-24 hours. I sometimes go as long as 4 days because I get too lazy to finish it for a while
        Strain. For this step, I first strain through cheesecloth to remove the large bits, then through a coffee filter to eliminate small particles like vanilla seeds. You shouldn’t be able to smell any “animal smell” at this point. If you do, add more smell goods and infuse for longer.
        Add cocoa butter, coconut oil and beeswax.
        Place back in the 110 degree oven for at least 4 hours. The low, slow melt eliminates the hardened bits of beeswax that sometimes happen.
        Stir in other carrier oils.
        Let come to room temperature before massaging luxuriously into your skin.
        It should be the texture of very thick frosting.

        • Well thanks so much for sharing that, Erin! ‘So interesting, and sounds fun. So the lotion is a lot thicker than the more ‘liquidy’ lotion, one would typically find on shelves (since you said it’s like thick frosting)?
          I’ll look forward to trying your recipe.

          And thanks, Heather, for this tutorial!
          (Thanks for correcting that glitch in my former comment, too; feel free to also delete the latter one pointing it out).

          • Erin C says:

            Yep! It’s more of a thick body butter than a lotion. Like I said, it’s kind of a pain to make, but I make a big batch and a little bit goes a loooong way. You’ll know you’ve used too much when you feel like a grease slick and can’t open the bathroom door :)

    • DianaVP says:

      Hey thanks for this tip Erin! :)

  16. Amy says:

    Is lard only made from pork fat? I’m curious because I don’t eat pork, but like the idea of cooking with lard. Thanks.

    • Heather says:

      Yes, lard is only made from pork fat, but you can also render many other kinds of fats: beef, lamb, deer, etc. They’re called different things, but it’s the same principle.

  17. Cait says:

    When I clicked the link to ‘order pork fat online,’ I had to smile because some lovely friends at our church own Tendergrass! So glad you support them :)

  18. Helen says:

    Both my kids (11 and 2) LOVE warm cracklings!

  19. Maia says:

    Would it work in a pressure cooker? Our crock pot is out of commission right now.

    • Erin C says:

      I’m not Heather, but I’ve been doing this rendering thing for years….
      No, a pressure cooker won’t work in this case. You need the low and slow melting qualities of a slow cooker. You can replicate the results on the stove on your smallest burner on very low heat, but will have to watch more carefully that you don’t “over-render” the fat, which although edible, ends up having a slightly burnt, almost rancid flavor.

    • Catherine says:

      I do mine in the oven because I do not have a crock pot at this time. A suggestion by Heather in her book explaining how to render tallow.

  20. Naomi says:

    HI Heather,
    Is this process exactly the same for beef tallow?
    Thanks

    • Erin C says:

      Yep! It’ll work the exact same way for suet (beef) to turn it in to tallow, chicken fat to turn it in to schmaltz and duck fat to turn it in to liquid gold :) Duck fat cracklings are just silly good!!!

  21. […] 1 tablespoon lard (where to buy lard) (here’s how to render lard) […]

  22. […] If “Bacon Makes Everything Better” is one of your life motto’s, this new book from Matt & Stacy of Paleo Parents may induce bliss. Every recipe  incorporates lard, bacon or some kind of pork in ways that are sure to make your mouth water. For example, those decadent brownies in the middle are made with lard and topped with ice cream/salted caramel bacon sauce! (Click on the image to enlarge the photo if you aren’t drooling enough already) (Click here to learn how to render lard) […]

  23. […] Bar Soap (ALWAYS) – Coconut oil-based soaps are best, but tallow and lard can also be used. (here’s how to make it, here’s where to buy it, and here’s another brand that also works well). Click here to learn how to render tallow. […]

  24. […] I love lard. You heard me. I love lard. And what’s sad is that lard has been given a very bad wrap for many years. Luckily after some time lard is finally making a comeback as a healthy and traditional fat. Of course we all know that not all fats are created equal and you want to make sure you have a quality fat. In fact you can actually render your own fat in a crock pot. Take a look and learn just how easy it is to render lard in a crock pot. […]

  25. danike says:

    How long is lard good for? :)

  26. […] cod liver oil is probably the highest source of vitamin D in my family’s diet, followed by lard, which has up to 1,100 IU per […]

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