I’m a closet lard eater. I learned early on that it’s not wise to bring it up in conversation. I can defend the innocent monounsaturated vitamin D source as “just like olive oil but better.” Yet, this never goes over well and we descend into a whirlwind of saturated fat is bad m’kay. Pork fat is bad. But it isn’t. Lard is everything fake lard aspires to be (yeah I’m talkin’ to you, Crisco). It’s lovely stuff that makes very good things more good. If you happen to buy a pig from a farmer and help butcher it and pop it in your freezer, you end up with a lot of potential lard. I had rendered a batch here and there in the oven while simultaneously burning crackling. Yet, there’s still more fat to render. Today, I went whole hog and rendered the lot. I did a stovetop method with a splash of water. It took most of the day. I have a napping baby and plenty of work to do on the farm so a bubbling pot of pig fat adds to the thrill of it all.
Working with pig fat feels like soap. As I chopped it into cubes, I was accompanied by two loyal hounds and a crotchety old cat. Their roles as cat, dog and puppy abandoned as they united in their love of pork.