Rendering lard was one of those things I had on my list: big, complicated cooking projects I wanted to try. Months ago, one of my favorite farmers' market vendors offered me a bag of pork fat. Who wouldn't take a free bag of pork fat? He suggested that I try rendering it and I couldn't wait to give it a try.
So why did I leave it in the freezer for so long? I figured I would need a whole day. As it happens, it's a lot easier than that and I can do it right in my slow cooker.
I started where I always start with a big project like this one, the internet. The first thing I learned was that my particular bag of fat was prized, because it was labeled (I'm going to assume correctly) as "leaf fat," a relatively flavorless fat found around the kidneys and loin.
The next thing I learned was that I could render the fat in my slow cooker. Oh, happy day! My Humble Kitchen offered easy instructions and the pictures were accurate. My pork cracklings turned out exactly as promised.
Bonus: I ended up using the cracklings that very night, for a delicious (and ridiculously easy) clam and corn stew.
As promised, my leaf lard started out golden and turned white, flaky and relatively odorless in the fridge. Who wants biscuits?
The entire project took less than 20 minutes of actual work time, and about two hours in the slow cooker. When (if?) I run out of lard, I'll be heading right back to the farmers' market for more leaf fat.
Get instructions for rendering lard in the slow cooker: How to Render Lard the Right Way (Snow White, Odorless) at My Humble Kitchen
What kitchen projects have you been surprised to learn were much easier and less time consuming than you thought they would be?
(Image credits: Anne Postic)