Rendering Your Own Lard
Part of the fun of getting a whole animal, or getting involved directly with a producer so you can ask for what you want, is cooking parts you’ve never cooked before. Case in point: fatback. It’s literally the fat from the pig’s back mixed up with bits of meat, and if you stick it in the oven for a while, you can melt it down and separate out the fat, or lard, from the meat, which will have cooked into cracklings. Use the lard for scrambled eggs, pie crusts, or french fries, as we did. The results are delicious. Here’s how:
1. Cut the fatback into squares.
2. Put the squares in a baking dish and place in the oven for about four hours at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, draining off the lard into a separate container every so often.
3. You’ll know all the lard has been rendered when there’s nothing left but fibrous, depleted nuggets, called cracklings. Some people like to eat these.
Make fries with your lard
4. To make fries, heat the lard on the stovetop in a pot that will fit all the potatoes.
5. Cut the potatoes into fry shapes.
6. Soak the fries in water for about 10 minutes.
7. Dry the fries off by rolling them in a towel.
8. Fry once until the potatoes are the color of straw, then drain on newspaper. Fry again until they’re golden. Salt, and serve in a paper cone (our contributor Daniel Duane uses printer paper).