This afternoon, I took a whole hog butchering class today and as we were dividing up the spoils, no one wanted the leaf lard. I gladly took it all, remembering how much I've heard about the wonders of lard for baking and frying goodness.
Now that I have all this leaf lard (and a few hunks of back fat), I need to figure out the best way to render and store it.
-A slow cook with a little bit of water seems to be the ticket for rendering. Stove top, oven, crock pot have all been recommended. I'll probably going with Alton Brown's recommendation of a 300F oven for 3-4 hours, mashing the fat bits every 30 minutes. I assume the back fat can go right in with the leaf lard, but if they should be dealt with separately, someone please say so.
-After this is done, strained, and cooled, storage in the refrigerator is OK for a few months, considerably longer in the freezer. Simple enough.
-On a related topic, recent time spent visiting and talking to people in the South brought up the idea of keeping bacon fat. I'm all for getting bacon flavor into every dish possible, but is the traditional "store it on the stove top in a coffee can" really safe? Seems a bit risky to me.
Now, after I have all this wonderful lard (whatever I do manage to get out of 2-3 pounds of leaf lard/back fat, what should I be doing with it? Any and all recommendations are welcome.
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