Large pork shoulders are a tasty, economical cut. Often, when you buy the large pork shoulders they have skin and a lot of fat attached. It's a very versatile cut. Today, I was breaking one down: half of it going into the roaster for dinner, half to be cut up for other meals, and I like to not let anything go to waste. With all the fat in this cut of meat, it's a perfect opportunity to render it and make lard.
Lard is great for cooking, as well as seasoning your wok and cast iron skillet. It was the fat of choice, along with butter, until the early 1900’s when vegetable oils became popular. It is only in the past decade that people have become more aware of the negative health aspects of vegetable oils, and are returning to lard. However, lard makes the flakiest pastries and is indispensable in many cuisines around the world.
To get the most out of a pork shoulder, you can trim the excess fat to render into lard. You can also buy pork fat. To make your own lard, begin by cutting the fat into cubes approximately 1cm x 1cm and put it into a pan.
You'll need to use low to medium-low heat for the fat to fully render. If the heat is too high, the pork fat will burn, resulting in an unpleasant taste and a smoky kitchen. Patience is a virtue when rendering pork fat..
Stir the pork fat occasionally to distribute the heat and coat the cubes. Once enough fat has rendered, the cubes will begin to fry in their own rendered fat.
If it’s your first time rendering lard, this process may take up to a couple hours. It’s better to have the heat at a low setting than a high one and burn it. After a couple of times of doing this, you’ll have a better idea of how the pork fat reacts to the heat and can finish this in half the time.
With a slotted metal spoon, remove the crispy cubes of pork fat and put them on a plate lined with paper towel to drain. These are delicious by themselves, or in a salad as croutons, or sprinkled on top of soups.
Strain the oil through cheese cloth or a paper towel, slightly tucked into the opening of a jar, or through a metal strainer. it will be extremely hot so be careful! The oil should be clear of any solids which will increase the shelf life and reduce the risk of it going rancid.
Let it cool on the countertop and it will turn to a creamy white colour. Store in the fridge for 6 months.
Cut pork fat into 1cm x 1cm cubes
Add pork fat to pan and heat to medium-low. Stir occasionally.
Adjust heat up or down until bubbles are seen in the rendered pork fat, but no smoke.
Allow to render between 1-2 hours
Remove pork fat with a metal slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towel.
Strain pork fat through paper towel or cheesecloth into a heatproof container and allow to cool on the counter. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
If you have made your own lard at home, or have similar recipes, we would love to hear from you. Subscribe to RedHotKeto for more tips and low carb recipes.