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How to Render Lard

This works with pork fatback or with leaf lard.

Stove-Top Method

1.  Cut the lard into small pieces and place in a pot over medium-low heat. The lard will start to slowly melt. Make sure to stir once in a while.

2.  After about 20 minutes a big portion of it will be melted.

3.  You will also at this point start to see the “cracklings” form. At this point you will want to be careful. Remember how bacon sputters? As moisture is released from the cracklings it will definitely sputter, and I even got a big splash of hot lard in my face at one point! When all of the sputtering is finished and the cracklings are floating, you are technically done. I let mine cook for a bit longer to get the cracklings a little more brown (don’t waste them, as they are quite yummy and can be used in many recipes too!). I think it took between 45 minutes and an hour to cook it.

4.  Line a fine sieve with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and strain through into a jar. It will be yellowish when hot, but turn white when cooled. The cracklings will be left in the sieve.

Oven-Method

1.  To render lard, grind it or chop it — this is easiest when then the lard is partially frozen  and put it in a 300-degree oven in a shallow casserole. Stir it often, and cook until the lard melts and the cracklings are floating.

2.  For a roasted pork flavor, render the lard in a 350-degree oven until the cracklings are brown. Cook until the cracklings sink to the bottom.  This will be good for savory dishes but not for baking.

3.  Strain your rendered lard through cheesecloth or a paper coffee filter. Cool and refrigerate for up to two months or freeze.  Frozen lard lasts for more than a year.

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