(2 lbs.) Pork Fatback
Heavy-bottomed pot or slow cooker
Cheesecloth, muslin, or tea towels
- With a sharp knife, cut pork fat into small pieces. Aim for about 1-2 inch pieces.
- Place a small amount of fat into a large, heavy-bottomed pot (like a Dutch oven). Or, you can use a slow cooker, setting the heat to low.
- Turn heat to low. Simmer, with the lid off, until there is a thin layer of melted fat across the bottom.
- Add the remaining fat and stir to coat with the melted fat.
- Simmer on low and stir occasionally, for about 1-3 hours. You want to keep the heat below the fat's smoke point, which means you should see no steam or smoke, just small bubbles.
- The lard is ready when the fat separates from the meat, the meat (cracklins) are a light brown color, and there are no longer any bubbles. When you see this, turn off the heat.
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the cracklings onto a plate linked with a towel. Salt to taste and enjoy - they're best when hot. Once cooled, store them in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, set a canning funnel and metal strainer in a glass jar, and line with cheesecloth, muslin, or a coffee filter. (If you don't have a small mesh strainer, you can place a colander in a large pot and line with a few layers of cheesecloth or muslin.) Carefully strain or ladle, making sure to remove all remaining bits of cracklings and avoid burning yourself.
- Cap jars loosely and allow to cool at room temperature. The lard will harden into a solid white fat.
- Once it's cooled completely, tighten lids and store in the fridge or freezer for up to a year, or leave it at room temperature for 4-6 months.