My journey with learning how to render lard with a CrockPot happened out of necessity. Our family had purchased a nice, pasture-raised hog from a local farmer and gotten it processed to custom specifications. We also purchased the bucket of lard that resulted from the hog.
That was my first introduction to lard, and I loved using it. It made an amazing pie crust!
But we later learned that if you purchased the lard after it was processed at the facility, you weren’t necessarily getting your hog’s fat! They were tossing in our hog fat with all of the other hog fat (not necessarily from pasture-raised hogs) in a huge vat, then ladling off a set amount for each customer. We were paying for a naturally raised hog, and we wanted the healthiest lard as possible, so next time, we ended up with bags of back fat instead…and I needed to learn how to render lard, a lot of it.
Well, I did a little Google research and found out that you can render lard with a CrockPot. I tried it, and I’ve never looked back. Now I often render lard from our latest hog, and the CrockPot makes it so easy.
Here’s How to Render Lard with a CrockPot!
- Hog backfat
Request the backfat from a fresh, pasture-raised hog. (Hint: Ask for already skinned fat. It is very difficult to remove the skin at home without butchering equipment. Don’t ask me how I know! :0)
Cut lard into small cubes. I’ve used a meat grinder also, but it’s more time-consuming and labor-intensive, though it is certainly a good option also.
Put cubed or ground lard into a room temperature CrockPot.
Stir in about ¼-¾ cup water. (This helps the lard render properly.)
Turn the CrockPot on high. Allow to heat until starting to bubble. Stir carefully.
At first, it will look like a wet mass of soggy fat. As it heats through and begins cooking, however, the fat will start rendering off, eventually turning the pieces of animal material a light brown color.
Stir often, scraping the bottom if it sticks. (Careful! The fat can splatter.)
While learning how to render lard, you may need to adjust the temperature of your slow cooker. Mine tends to run quite hot, so once it’s quite hot, I usually turn it down to medium temp instead, adjusting as needed according to the temperature of the room, etc.
After a while, you will notice a hot fat liquid. This is the lard!
Place a metal strainer over a heat-proof glass container. (I just use a trusty Pyrex measuring cup.) Line the metal strainer with a coffee filter. Gently ladle the hot liquid off of the cooking mixture and strain through the coffee filter.
When I notice the lard has started rendering, I usually pour off a bit here and there, continuing to cook the rest of the mixture to render out more lard. (You will need to change the coffee filter, because the hot fat and gelatin it contains will gum it up and prevent lard from straining through. You may go through a few filters. It’s optional–you could just strain it through a fine mesh strainer instead. The goal is to simply remove the meat particles.)
Once the lard has strained, allow to cool. Store in the fridge.
I usually keep my lard in the fridge for about a week before freezing for longer-term storage. I suppose you could technically keep it in the fridge for longer; I just feel more comfortable storing in the freezer.
From my understanding, the hotter and longer you cook the lard, the stronger it will taste and smell. I’ve personally experienced this.
How to Render Lard with a CrockPot FAQs
How Long Does It Take to Render Lard?
In my experience, it varies a lot, depending on the type of fat, the temperature of the room, and the temperature of your CrockPot. For me, rendering lard is a day-long activity, so I allow 4-6 hours or more for rendering lard in the CrockPot. I usually start it in the morning and let it cook most of the day, straining towards evening. (Again, I probably cook my lard a little hotter and longer than some would recommend.)
What Do You Do with the Leftover Pieces When Rendering Lard?
You can fry them if they’re not already crisp. Then drain on paper towels, season, and enjoy them as cracklings/pork rinds!
How Do You Know When Lard is Done Rendering with the CrockPot?
I personally go by patience! 😉 I generally watch for a golden brown color. I do believe that the longer you cook it, the stronger it will taste, because browning the bits of meat and fat will develop those familiar meat flavors. But honestly, I don’t mind a tinge of it.
Is Bacon Grease the Same as Lard?
Sort of…but not quite. It does possess similar qualities, and it does also come from hog fat. But bacon grease has a strong, smoky flavor. Lard is usually more mild in flavor, and it is commonly used for making pie crust or frying foods.
How to Render Lard in a CrockPot
- Cutting board
- CrockPot with adjustable heat
- Metal spoon
- Fine mesh strainer
- Glass measuring cup
- Coffee filter
- Container for storing lard
- 1 large package hog backfat
- 1/4-3/4 cup water (depends on amount of fat)
- Cut fat into small cubes, or grind into a pulpy mixture.
- Put lard into room temperature CrockPot.
- Stir in water.
- Turn CrockPot on high. Allow to heat until starting to bubble, stirring often.
- Continue stirring carefully. (Watch for splatters!)
- Place fine mesh strainer lined wiht a coffee filter over a heat-proof glass measuring cup.
- Strain hot lard through filter.
- Cool at room temp, then store in fridge for up to a week, or store in the freezer for longer term storage.