The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Homemade Lard

steve baker's picture
steve baker

Homemade Lard

It was about 9:30 last Tuesday night. It was about twenty degrees below zero (-40 windchill) and my dogs alerted me to a knock on the door?
It's my neighbor, Patty, with a cardboard box containing a nice pork roast, a package of pork ribs, and a sack of leaf lard. (Technically, the fat which surrounds a hogs kidneys, which will become lard.)

My neighbors participate in a sort of co-op program where they pay a group of local farmers in advance in exchange for a portion of their production. They had received their produce allotment last fall, and their one-half hog, cut and wrapped by a local butcher, was ready last week.

Just last weekend I'd been discussing pie crusts with Patty, and had told her about leaf lard. She mentioned this to the butcher, and he said it was the first time anyone had ever asked him about it. He was more than happy to pack a sack for her, which turned out to be over four pounds.

I have about a pound rendering right now.
hungupdown's picture

Leaf Lard, rendered from Flare Fat, is meant to make the best pie crusts, have you tried it yet?

Suet is the equivalent raw beef or mutton fat, especially the hard fat from around the kidneys and inside the loins.
Suet is traditional shortening for both sweet and savoury steamed puddings.  Dumplings in stew and Jam Roly-poly, especially with home made jams, come to mind.

Makes you wonder why the distinction between uses of Leaf Lard and Suet.

In the UK Butchers no longer receive intact carcases, even if they receive the kidneys the abattoir will have checked them over.


steve baker's picture
steve baker

Suet will impart some flavore whereas Leaf Lard is completely neutral, thus better for baking.

Tam38's picture

Had a bag in my freezer for a few years and finally got around to it last week. Surprisingly easy. 

Crockpot or stovetop? Did you find the product was whiter if you took it off before the cracklins browned? 

steve baker's picture
steve baker

I've rendered two batches, the first one in the oven on low heat (230 F) and the second in the microwave.

The first batch I just chopped the fat into a fine dice, and the second I ran through the grinder attachment of my KitchenAide HD before melting.

The diced lard in the oven process took too long, so I abandoned it before it finished.  The lard was a pure white when it cooled though, and our dogs loved the Cracklin Chunks!

The microwave lard didn't seem as pure, but I think with a little experimentation this would be the way to go.





clazar123's picture

I had a neighbor who made the whitest soap with any hard fat she could get from the local school kitchen. You can imagine she would get large cans full of brown yuck but by the time she was finished it was white as snow. And easy to do.I don't think you want to use kitchen discards for something you will be eating but the concept is the same on the cleaning process. In your case, you have "clean"(meaning no worries about eating it) lard-you just have browned cracklings in it. Scoop those out for the dogs,by all means, and clean the browned lard.

Put a large pot of water on to boil (about half full only). Add enough of the 'dirty' grease to raise the water level to a full pot with room for a boil. Bring to a boil and stir so all the bits of browned cracklings fall to the bottom. THe water turns brown. Let chill and scoop off the hardened, now white lard. Easy.

steve baker's picture
steve baker


Thanks for the tip.