My grandma used to just save the bacon grease and store it in her cupboard. I usually refrigerate ours. I started wondering, though, is it the best way to preserve it? Does rendering make it go farther? Come along with me as we discuss both.
What is the Difference Between Bacon Grease and Pork Fat?
I know I probably live under a rock, but I didn’t know that there was a difference between bacon grease and pork fat.
In researching this topic, I found out a lot. Bacon grease is just that, grease from bacon. BUT pork fat can be rendered instead of thrown away to make Lard. The things you can learn online these days!
I cook my bacon in the oven on some tin foil, to help with the clean up. After the bacon is cooked, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Next, set a timer for about 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, pour your melted, but cooled bacon fat through a cheesecloth lined metal sieve or canning funnel. You can get cheesecloth here. I bought my metal canning funnels here. They also have stainless steel funnels that could work.
The reason you want to strain your bacon grease is the fat will go rancid quicker. Store in the refrigerator, freezer or root cellar. You don’t really need to refrigerate bacon grease, but it will last longer. Here is an ingenious way to store items if you don’t have electricity or a refrigerator.
What Is Involved In Rendering Pork Fat?
Rendering pork fat or the pork leaf is a process where you cook down the fat over several hours or all day on low heat.
The process can be done on the stove, in the oven or in a slow cooker. One of the videos I watched stated the reason she did not like the oven was because it can be messy if you spill it. The slow cooker, however takes about 8 hours and you have to keep stirring every 30 minutes.
To start with, you need either Pork Back (Back Fat) or what is called the Leaf Lard. Choose whether you will cook in oven, on the stove or slow cooker. Want to use the oven? You will need a large pan with a lid or use tin foil. If on the stove, depending on how much you will render, a medium size pan, no lid needed. If you will be using the slow cooker, you will want to be sure you are home the whole day.
The reasons you might choose the slow cooker could be that you want to get several “kinds” of Lard. From Melissa K Norris, I learned that you can use lard in many ways, not just for veggies, eggs and things you might cook on a skillet. You can use it in baking! I know! I was excited too!
Finishing the Lard
If you check the rendering process at about 3-4 hour mark, that will be the whitest part of the Lard. This is the part you can bake with and this is the part where there won’t be any meat flavor. If using a pan on the stove, you can still make several renderings for the different kinds of cooking you want to use it for.
Leaf lard is harder to find, fat back you can find more readily. Of course, you can always order some from your local family farm.
What is the difference between Lard and Tallow? Here is a post on how to render Tallow. First of all, Lard comes from pigs and Tallo comes from cows.
- Lard can be used to cook eggs, veggies and potatoes. You can also bake with it. What about making some soap?
- Tallow can be used for cooking, frying, skin care, bird suet and candles. The article above states there are even more uses.
Do you have any favorite tips on how to save money or use fat from animals? We would love to hear your tips or stories. Let’s be a community to each other.
Blessings from our eden!