Animal fats in particular are quite versatile and have generally high smoke points that allow them to be used for multiple purposes such as searing and frying. The rendering process removes moisture through evaporation, creating a shelf-stable fat that can be used in a variety of ways, from food preparation to candles, soap and skincare products.
Before the invention of vegetable oils and mass introduction of "food type substances" into the American mainstream, animal fat was a precious commodity.
- I pound fresh Lick Skillet Farm pork back fat
- ½ cup water
Combine the pork fat and water into a medium skillet.
Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until all of the fat has rendered, and the water has completely evaporated.
[We consulted several chefs, farm staffers and recipe books in advance of writing this recipe and sharing with y’all how to best render pork lard. Some folks say a full rendering can be completed in under 2 hours on a stove top. Others swear by the low and steady heat of a slow cooker. In our test kitchen, we used our skillet, the stove top and simmered the pork fat for 24 hours.]
Strain the fat through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof container. Discard the browned bits. Cool the rendered fat to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.