Lard has gotten a bad rap in recent history, and I try to advocate for its reintroduction into diets when it’s made from fat from pasture raised pigs. Lard is about 45% oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil. It’s also high in vitamins A, D, E and K. Because it has a higher smoke point (370 degrees), you can cook at higher temperatures without releasing “free radicals” linked to cancer. Lard from back fat can be used to sauté vegetables, make biscuits, cornbread and pie crusts for savory fillings. Leaf lard is made from fat around the kidneys and is prized for making pie crusts with sweet fillings because of its flavorless nature. Here is a simple way to make lard in the slow cooker.
5-9 lbs of back fat or kidney fat
¼ cup of water
Begin by cutting or grinding the lard into small pieces no larger than 1”. If the skin is still on the back fat, you should carefully cut the fat away from it.
Place the pieces in the slow cooker with the water and set it to low heat. In about an hour you’ll begin to see liquid in the bottom.
tir the contents occasionally until it is completely melted. You will see brown bits on the bottom, which are called cracklings.
Turn off the crock pot and allow the fat to cool for 5 minutes. To separate the cracklings, very carefully using a cheesecloth lined strainer, pour the fat into glass containers and allow cool completely.