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.