Liquid Gold

November 6th, 2007

IMG_0344, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

After the success of the Pork Confit, making another batch was really just a matter of time. To facilitate, I figured I could use another batch of lard. I picked up several packages of pork skin and fat back for the task. What’s great is that the packages cost as low as 70 cents.

The process is so profoundly easy, there’s no reason not to keep some on hand. All you need to do is put the skin or fatback in the oven at a low heat for several hours. I like to throw in a few cloves of garlic and twigs of thyme for flavor. When it’s all done, you’ll have a pan full of fresh, non-hydrogenated lard. Strain it into something that won’t melt and use at your leisure.

After the jump there are a couple lessons I’ve learned after doing it a few times…

There are a couple lessons I’ve learned after doing it a few times:
-Don’t crowd the pan you use for rendering. if you have a lot of fat to render, split it up into separate pans. I always make this mistake and it just complicates things. If you layer up the meat you are rendering, much of it never makes it to the bottom of the pan. Instead you end up with the middle pieces sodden with grease you can’t really get out.
-Use a rack if at all possible. This will make it much easier when straining the finished product.
-Many of the thicker pieces of skin have meat encased a layer or two within. After you’ve rendered most of the fat out, scrape into it and you’ll find a delicious surprise.
-You’ve also made your own crunchy pork rinds.
-To kill two birds with one stone, use your cast iron for the rendering. This just occurred to me, but I’ll be doing that next time. After I drain it, I’ll have a nice coating to season my pans with.
The traditional uses of lard are many and I like having it on hand even though I don’t often deep fry things. If I am frying, this is definitely what I’d use for something like a Southern Fried Chicken. In fact, I may have to give that a try this weekend.
When i was done with the rendering, I made another batch of pork confit. I used more of the same pork shoulder slices, but I also cooked a separate pot with fresh hocks. I packed them up for better storage, this time keeping it stored in canning jars.
I love the idea of having this on hand to saute or to add into a stew whenever I want. I think I may keep a constant supply throughout the winter.

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