Lard is a wonderful thing to use in pastry crusts, crackers, and as a butter substitute when sauteing. Did you know that New York City's health commissioner, Corby Krummer, has asked local restaurants to stop using cooking oils containing trans fats, comparing them to such hazards as lead and asbestos, Kummer proposed that we bring back lard, "the great misunderstood fat." Lard, he cheerfully reported, contains just 40 percent saturated fat (compared with nearly 60 percent for butter). Its level of monounsaturated fat (the "good" fat) is "a very respectable 45 percent," he noted, "double butter's paltry 23 or so percent." Kummer hinted that if I wanted to appreciate the virtues of this health food, I needed to fry shoestring potatoes or a chicken drumstick. To read more about lard go to http://www.foodandwine... —DanaYares
Purchase good quality organic pig back fat from your local pig farmer, or butcher.
Cut fat into one inch cubes and run through a meat grinder on the course setting. make sure your fat is very cold when you do this. If you don't have a meat grinder, cut the fat into 1/2" cubes
After grinding/cutting, put fat into a crock pot set on it's lowest setting. Let the fat render for two hours, or until it is very liquid and bubbling. Don't let is cook for too long or you will scorch and fat and it will have a stronger "pork" taste.
Once the fat has completely rendered, strain is through a very fine chinois strainer, or butter muslin. Let cool until firm, or over night.
Now you have ready to use lard! You can put it into containers and freeze until ready to use, or mold it into sticks for easier use.
To mold the lard into butter type sticks, I use a sushi press and parchment paper, or you can simple roll it up into tube shapes using only parchment or wax paper. Doing this makes it easier to weigh and cut into tablespoons or ounces for recipes. Make each stick or tube 8oz so you can substitute directly for butter.