We understand that ordering a custom processed whole or half hog share can be confusing, especially if you’ve never done it before, and we’d like to make it as simple as possible.
Rendering lard at home is easier than most people realize. When properly rendered, at a low temperature, your lard should be snowy white and nearly odorless making it ideal for all types of cooking.
- Get out your fat! I prefer to have the butcher grind the fat for me so that its ready to go when I get it home. If you buy lard from us, it will be ground. If the fat is in large pieces it’s no biggie though – Just trim off any large chunks of meat or blood and then cut into ½” cubes.
- Set it on the counter and forget it for a while… I keep my fat frozen until I’m ready to render so I often take it out of the freezer the night before and let it thaw. It’s not important that it be completely thawed but it render more evenly if it is.
- Set your oven or crockpot to low and go do something else. Set your oven to 200 – 250 degrees or your crockpot to low. Check back every half hour or so and give it a stir. Allow 2 to 3 hours for partially frozen fat to liquefy. A little less time if completely thawed and a little more if completely frozen. Low and slow is the key – cooking at higher temperatures can cause scorching, which gives the fat a yellow color and a burned smell.
- Strain out the solids (cracklings). Place a double layer of cheesecloth inside a metal strainer or colander and place over a larger container that will collect the pure fat (not plastic as it may melt!). Ladle hot fat into the cheesecloth/strainer to separate from the solids.
- Repeat if desired. One pass through the cheesecloth should be adequate but if you would like your fat to be extra pure a second straining can be done.
- Store & Cool. The pure fat can now be ladled into clean mason jars or other storage containers and left to cool. Once cooled the fat can either be refrigerated or frozen until you’re ready to use it.
- Eat the cracklings?!? Cracklings (the meaty chunks you just strained out of the fat) can be salted and cooked over medium heat in a fry pan until crispy. Some people really like them and some don’t – your choice! I feed most of mine to the chickens and they love them!
Bones, hocks, necks, gizzards, feet, hearts, livers, fat…. Many don’t utilize these bits but are they really that odd? Before we began raising our own meat I didn’t cook with a lot of these things and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to it was mostly because I wasn’t aware of where I could buy them from a responsibly raised source.
Now that we raise our own animals we have all of these things I thought I’d have to get really creative in utilizing all of these odd bits. What I’ve come to realize though is that I want to use them and they’ve become part of my normal cooking routine instead of something we choke down once a month because its good for us.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for information on what “odd bits” we currently have in stock.
I use these the most. I love soup and stews and a good bone broth adds flavor to many other dishes you wouldn’t normally consider it for. I’m making pulled pork today and have my pork roasts slow cooking in bone broth from a chicken we enjoyed for dinner last week that I saved the bones from and then boiled overnight with some chicken necks. So many uses for broth made with bones from chicken, duck, pork and beef… you can drink it, put it in risotto, soups, gravy, cauliflower rice, mashed potatoes, and for braising meat on the smoker or grill just to name a few.
A pork hock is the area of leg directly below the ham or shoulder of a pig. The hock contains leg bones which make excellent bone broth and also a good amount of meat around it. I like to roast the hocks first and then boil them overnight until the meat falls off the bone. You can find a recipe HERE for a soup I made over the weekend using pork hocks. A ham hock is a pork hock that has been cured and smoked like ham but is a great, less expensive, option for recipes that would normally include a bone in ham.
These have become my favorite addition to bone broth. I add them in with chicken or pork bones and because they contain a lot of collagen and gelatin they make a very thick, rich stock. CLICK HERE for an easy chicken stock recipe using necks.
I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of gizzards. Some people love them though. CLICK HERE for a recipe I’ve used before that went over really well. Gizzard are rich in protein as well as many vitamins and minerals.
Next to chicken necks, feet are my favorite add in to broth. Want a thick gelatinous and delicious broth? Get some chicken or pig feet (also known as pork trotters). They’re amazing. CLICK HEREfor a trotter stew recipe.
We have our pork and beef hearts mixed in with our ground meat. The heart is rich in folate, iron, zinc, and selenium but I don’t really want to cook it so this has been the easiest way for us to capture those nutrients. Chicken and duck hearts are another story though. Wrap those puppies in bacon and throw them on the grill. Our kids go nuts for them.
“So what makes liver so wonderful? Quite simply, it contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food.” This article from the Weston A Price Foundation explains liver better than I can.
If you know me, you know that I love lard. I use it daily for cooking, baking, frying and I even wash my hair with lard soap. Stay tuned for our upcoming “Lardy Party” where I’ll be demonstrating how to render lard yourself. This site does a great job of explaining why you need lard in your life.
Interested in purchasing some of the items mentioned above? Here’s what we currently have in stock:
Pork Bones $4 per pound
Hocks $4 per pound
Chicken Necks $10 per 2 pound bag
Gizzards $4 per pound
Pork Trotters (feet) $3 each
Beef Liver $6 per pound
Lard – Currently out of stock but we’ll have more soon!
Interested in an assortment? Check out this Bone Broth Bundle for $50: