Leaf lard is the best grade of fat from a hog. Other hog fat is great for frying but carries an under-current of pig flavor that is not desirable in baked goods. Leaf lard is light, snowy white, and amazing in that it does not impart an animal taste to the end product. If you are wanting a stunning crust or pastry this is the way to go. Leaf lard is created by rendering down the fat from the kidney area of a hog. This sounds strange and potentially hard if you have never done this before. In reality this can be very simple and rewarding. If you are able to have a butcher pre-grind your fat it will make the end result of cracklins better but do not worry if you can’t. This round I was gifted with a mind blowing deal on pastured non-grain finished leaf fat that was in strips as you can see.
I took these strips and cut into slices. I then placed the slices into a crockpot that I then added a splash (maybe 1/4 cup) of water to so it would have time to melt before scalding the fat.
Once I had the crock full, I covered it and took the whole thing outside to slow cook on low as I did not want to whole house to smell like hog.
After a couple of hours I went out to stir and check on the pot. Once all the fat had melted off of the solid bits, I poured the whole batch into a cheese cloth lined strainer set in a bowl. I then squeezed the fat through and poured this into a jar to cool and then put the solid bits into a separate jar for storage.
This solid “goo” will later be browned and chopped to add to soups, salads, and caseroles in place of bacon as it is so tasty once crisp.
The fat jars I let cool till they were solid snow white…
that is then labeled and capped. Then a little is put in the fridge and the rest frozen for later use.