Rendering Lard – Dos and Don’ts

We split a half pig with Addie and Drew and last time I asked, the butcher gave me more fat than I knew what to do with. I don’t think many people ask for it… This time around it was nicely wrapped and separated into the different kinds of fat (back fat, leaf lard, maybe something else.) I rendered it down using the same technique as last time. I tried to get fancy this time by cooling it in a 9×13 pan lined with waxed paper, which I thought would just pop right out of the pan once the lard was hardened in the refrigerator.

Nope. It was stuck, bad. I ended up having to set the pan in a bath of hot water to melt the fat on the edges to release it from the pan, and the whole this was a slippery mess. Eventually I ended up with nice, wrapped portions of lard, but it was an adventure getting there. I’ll need to figure out a better method for next year.

As always, the pie crusts made with lard are really amazing. I haven’t been that impressed with much else – I had high hopes for biscuits but they just tasted a little greasy. For some reason on a crust, the flavor backs off and the fat gives an amazing flaky texture. We made a leek tart right away just to confirm. Yep, still tasty and amazing.

Written by dan in: Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Bacon Jam: Stocking Stuffer Edition

I planned to swing by Skillet Diner and pick up a jar of Bacon Jam for my brother Alex’s stocking, but I realized that I could probably make it cheaper, and then I would have more to give away. A quick search got me this recipe, which looked pretty good, and I was off and running. It is basically equal parts bacon and onions, cooked down for hours and hours with garlic, coffee, brown sugar, maple syrup, and vinegar to round out the flavors.

So how does bacon jam taste, you may want to know. I won’t resort to the superlatives that the other blog did about this stuff, but I will say it’s pretty tasty. It won’t change your life, but it would definitely improve a burger. When it finished cooking at midnight or so, I decided to test it with an egg poached in plastic wrap (testing a breakfast I was planning for the family getaway) and it definitely satisfied that late-night fat- and salt-tooth that I could really do without. Alicia said it was sweeter than she expected, but it is called jam, after all.

A personal note and disclaimer on bacon: I am not usually one to want to wrap everything I see in bacon. We do have a freezer full of it from buying half a pig earlier this year, though, so access isn’t a problem. However, this month I not only made bacon jam as a stocking stuffer, I also brought bacon-chocolate-chip-pecan cookies to a Cookie Exchange Party. And when I noticed that I was almost out of Bacon Salt (a stocking stuffer I received – and secretly mocked – last year), I thought, “I wouldn’t mind more of that.” Hmmmm…. I may need to re-examine the cool distance I try to maintain from bacon-obsessed dudes who are weaving bacon baskets to hold a dozen pigs sculpted in foie gras (or other ridiculous things…).


Rendering Lard

When bought half a pig this spring, I asked for the fat, which they don’t usually send home with you. You wouldn’t believe the huge bag that came with our pork chops, ham, and bacon. That pig put on some serious layers of winter warmth.

I’ve been meaning to render the fat into lard. I found a really fantastic post about it from a blog called Homesick Texan (whose carnitas recipe I also have to try).

Fat gets a bad rap these days, but doing it the old-fashioned way at least eliminates the trans fats. I don’t really have a plan for it, so I poured it into a 9 x 13 pan, refrigerated it, and then cut it up and wrapped it in waxed paper like cubes of butter, ready for the freezer. Maybe I’ll try it in some pie crust, some biscuits, or maybe it’ll just be something to fry potatoes in.

Written by dan in: Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Copyright 2010 Dan Alicia Hannah and Robinson Shafer. Powered by WordPress