We only use lard for cooking and we render it all ourselves. We but pork fat from the local butcher about 50lb at a time.
We render it by putting about 15lb in a big steel pot on a VERY low flame. We use a flame tamer to soften and spread the flame to stop it sticking.
Trim off any meat and cut the fat into 1-2" chunks. Dump the fat into the pot and stir it ever 5-10 minutes until it starts to 'melt'. We do not add any water. Once the fat has started to melt you can leave it longer between stirs and eventually it will all be floating in lard.
Once you have a decent amount of liquid, you can start removing it while the rest renders. We use a ladle and pour it into a steel pot through some muslin (to strain out any bits). Once cooled you can put it in plastic containers.
We fill up a few 2l plastic containers and freeze all but one. That one goes into the fridge for use throughout the week.
If you want the best lard go very slowly. The lard will end up quite clear and subtle tasting. There will be just a small squishy mess of fat left over.
If you want cracklings then you need to cook it faster. This way you will end up with chunks of hot fat that have cooked on the outside and are full of lard. They are great to eat. However your lard will end up much darker and stronger tasting.
We aim for the best lard and don't have the cracklings...
The "Seven Deadly Sins"
• Grains (wheat/rice/oats etc) . . . . . • Dairy (milk/yogurt/butter/cheese etc) . . . . .• Nightshades (peppers/tomato/eggplant etc)
• Tubers (potato/arrowroot etc) . . . • Modernly palatable (cashews/olives etc) . . . • Refined foods (salt/sugars etc )
• Legumes (soy/beans/peas etc)