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Thread: Rendering pig fat - this is taking a long time! page

  1. #1
    ElaineC's Avatar
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    Rendering pig fat - this is taking a long time!

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    I finally decided to get off my duff and render some of that most excellent pig fat sitting in my freezer. After neurotically reading many websites and threads on the subject, I settled on using my trusty slow cooker, with some added water.

    Yesterday morning, I took a big bowl of fat scraps out of the freezer to start thawing. Around 6pm, I chopped up a fair amount of it into half inch square pieces (ish), threw them in the slow cooker with a cup and a bit of water (ok, a glass of water), and set it on low. I had lard melting out at 10pm, but the fat pieces were still big and puffy, so I decided to let it go for the night.

    I got up this morning, and the fat pieces were still floating on top, and big and puffy. More liquid fat tho. I hopped online, and neurotically looked for what to do - most if not all sites say that when all the fat is rendered out, the bits go to the bottom, and they don't look puffy either. I even watched some youtube clips, and my batch looks like what others say "after 2 or 3 hours..."

    Off I go to visit friends. Come home at 8pm, to still puffy fat bits, and a little bit more liquid fat, and a slow cooker on warm. I ramped it up to "high" for half an hour, and have set it to "low" for 5 more hours, at which point it will switch down to warm. I checked in on it a little while ago (11pm), and there's a teeny bit of sinkage on some fat bits, but lots still floating, and all still puffy.

    So, I guess my question is, how long do I let it all go? There's a really nice, rich, golden liquid fat a couple of inches deep, but I don't want to waste anything either, esp after all this time.

    Ideas?

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    breadsauce's Avatar
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    I mince (grind) the pork fat and put it in the slow cooker on low with no water. It takes a few hours and I drain off the lard into a pyrex jug through a sieve. If the remaining minced fat feels as though there is still a fair bit of fat there remaining I will put it back in the slow cooker for another hour or two.

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    ElaineC's Avatar
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    I got up this morning, and I guess I didn't understand my slow cooker as well as I thought. It had switched to HIGH after 5 more hours on low, instead of warm! On the up side, all the pieces were rendered into little crunchy bits on the bottom. On the down side, the whole thing has a bit of a burnt aroma. Its clear but dark, and faintly smells of burnt.

    I'm guessing this stuff will still be good for making soap - any soap makers out there know if that slightly burnt smell will continue through to soap, or if it matters that the fat is quite dark while its melted? I have no idea if it will go white once it solidifies, I just have to wait for it I guess. I 'm all for trying to make soap, its one of the plans I had for all this pork fat, but if its a waste of my time I'd rather know now than later.

    I do however have plenty of defrosted pork fat for round 2! Chop chop chop...

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    I'm sorry the lard burned. I'm sure it will come out better next time. I have no experience with making soap, so I can't help there.

    I used the pemmican guide for tallow rendering instructions and I guess it would be about the same for lard:
    http://www.traditionaltx.us/images/PEMMICAN.pdf

    I would suggest using a thermometer to check the temp next time and possibly using the stove so you can more finely control the temperature. It will bubble a good bit while the water is being driven off and the temp should be in the boiling water range (212F). After the boiling stops, the temp will continue to climb and the fat should mostly render out of the remaining bits. The pemmican guide (above) recommends no hotter than 240F.

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    You need to chop it up a lot finer than 1/2 inch cubes. I plan on using ground fat next time for that reason. Bummer that it's burned! It will probably still be nice for frying some things though.
    If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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    Quote Originally Posted by tfarny View Post
    You need to chop it up a lot finer than 1/2 inch cubes. I plan on using ground fat next time for that reason. Bummer that it's burned! It will probably still be nice for frying some things though.
    I've rendered pork fat twice (beef fat once) and one-inch cubes were sufficient. But I was not using a crock-pot; just a kettle on the stove (wood stove the 2nd time; awesome!).

    I need to get more fat to make more lard! What I've read is that (on the stove), it should take ~6 hrs...

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    Round 2 went in this morning, and so far, so good. The first round looks ok, I'll see how it tastes. If it tastes scorched, I'll use it for soap, apparently it will be just find.

    Round 2, I started the slow cooker out on high for half an hour to get things bubbling, then set it on low. Its going MUCH better this time. I was out for the afternoon and early evening, and its about half way rendered out and looks good, a nice, light amber colour. I put it on high for half an hour again to get things bubbling, then set it on low for the rest of the night. I think it won't scorch on low, it should be fine. I'll find out in the morning

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    peril's Avatar
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    This sounds too hard. I throw large chunks of fat into the oven in a pan and set to 200 celcius. 30 min later I have crispy fat and plenty of lard
    Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

    Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

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    Amber colour is good. Personally I'd throw out the scraps partly unrendered rather than risk scorching the whole lot after all that effort! I just love having jars and jars of delicious white lard in my fridge!

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    This morning, lovely unscorched lard waiting to be strained and contained Hurrah!

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