Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rendering Lard...With a Slow Cooker

Recently I posted about rendering lard at home. After picking up another package of pork fat at the Asian market while purchasing beef bones for stock, I decided to try to render the fat in my slow cooker. 

The lard took 6 hours to render completely; I did check on the lard every few hours to give it a quick stir, but otherwise, no work on my part was needed. This was much easier than the stovetop method, and will become my go-to method from now on.


I followed the same procedure as my stovetop lard; I trimmed the fat of excess meat, then cut the fat into cubes.

This fat was very well-trimmed; there was hardly any meat at all to remove.


I then placed about 3/4 cup of water in the crock of my slow cooker, then added the cubed fat.

I used my programmable, 6-quart slow cooker for the lard.

I then covered the slow cooker and set the temperature to LOW. I didn't bother with the timer since I was planning on checking the lard every few hours.

After 2 1/2 hours, the lard is beginning to render off its fat.

After 4 1/2 hours, the fat cubes are beginning to brown as more fat is rendered out.

After 5 1/2 hours, the fat cubes are browning, puffing up and forming cracklins.

After a little over 6 hours, the cracklins have all floated to the surface of the fat. 

As with the stovetop method, I strained the fat and pressed as much of the fat from the cracklins as possible.

Liquid gold.

Cracklins before being pressed to extract lard.

I used the same amount of fat for this slow cooker batch as I did for the stovetop batch. My yield was slightly higher, as I got 2 FULL pints of lard, as opposed to a little less than 2 pints with the stovetop batch. My guess is that there was less loss to evaporation since the slow cooker stayed covered throughout the entire rendering process. 

This batch had a more yellow/gold color than the last batch...

But still ended up creamy and white once chilled.

This method didn't create as strong of a "porky" smell while rendering, either. Cleanup was a lot easier as well, and I didn't have to deal with any spattering. 

10 comments:

  1. I've been looking for a good set of instructions on this subject, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. you're quite welcome! thanks for reading!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wonderful! I've just bought a slow cooker and this will be one of the first things I make :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. slow cookers are THE best! good luck! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Although here in Spain we can buy fresh lard in the supermarkets I will try this slow cooker method for home made. As with the stovetop method did you wait for the cracklins to sink to the bottom before removing the rendered lard?? Thanks for the easy instructions.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Spanish Girl, I DID wait for the cracklins to sink with the slow cooker method; usually they sink, then float right back up. BUT, you have to be careful about letting them "stay sunken" for TOO long, or else the lard may taste a bit burned or "too porky".

    Thanks for reading! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. totally new at this, do you use the liquid in the crock pot or just what comes off the cracklins? When you "press" them do you use like a spoon to mash them like potatoes or do they just drain off in the strainer? thanks for the help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read the original post for more information: http://www.ibelieveicanfry.com/2010/12/rendering-lard-restoring-its-good-name.html

      The liquid in the Crock Pot IS the lard. So is the liquid that comes off of the cracklins, since the cracklins were also in the Crock Pot.

      Delete
  8. I tired my first batch yesterday. I used the crockpot also. Then I water bath canned the lard per my instructions and then refrigerated them overnight after they cooled somewhat. Today the lard is white but is more liquid than semi-solid (like a milkshake)! Can you tell me what I did wrong? Can this still be used safely? Thanks for any advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's likely that the fact did not render completely into lard - there was still water in the mixture instead of just pure rendered fat. This is why the lard didn't completely solidify!

      Delete