Rendered Pork Fat

Do not look away in horror, you are about to see a graphic image of rendered pork fat in liquid form!

Liquid rendered pork fat

Rendered pork fat or lard is good for baking or frying; it makes for excellent flour tortillas, refried beans and tamales; and if you are afraid that it is horribly bad for you, think again. If you make your own: rendered pork fat has NO trans fat, less saturated fat than butter, and twice as much monounsaturated fat as butter.* Also, it will not make everything taste like pork. It has a mild neutral flavor.

Unknown Papi decided to make some pork lard. He went to our local butcher that sells humanely-raised pigs and asked for a pound of pork fat (either leaf lard or fat back). Guess what? They gave it to him for FREE. I guess no one here wants it. Poor maligned, lard. Call it rendered pork fat and it sounds fancy.

Here’s how he made it:

  • cut about a pound of pork fat it into little pieces and remove any bits of meat that are left on it
  • put it in a pot with about half a cup to a cup of water
  • cook it on medium heat while stirring occasionally
  • once it has turned into a yellowish liquid (takes about an hour), strain it and refrigerate it overnight

The results: minimally processed, non-hydrogenated fat, that is even photogenic.

Rendered Pork Fat

It should keep in the fridge for about 3 months and in the freezer for up to a year.

Perhaps, soon the term lard-ass will no longer be a pejorative. I’ll tell you what, I’d rather be a lard-ass than a butter-ass or margerine-ass; it would mean I’m healthier.

*Commercial pork lard is typically hydrogenated for stability (not good: hydrogenated = trans fat). Comparisons of fats in reference to butter: saturated fats = bad, monounsaturated fats = good.


Wait, before you go! If you like this post, por please share it, pin it, tweet it, call your mom and tell her about it or give it a hug. Muchos thank yous!

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  • Otin

    I’ve been looking at fat my whole life! LOL

    Happy New Year!

  • Eva Gallant

    What an interesting post.  I did not know this!

  • QandleQueen

    I haven’t gotten to using lard, but I’m sure it is healthier than margarine or shortening.  I’m just getting used to recycling my bacon fat – it does make eggs taste better.

    • unknownmami

      We’ve been doing the bacon fat too.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Mami! I would rather be a lard ass too. Oh, I already am. Ha.

    Hope your year in 2012 is wonderful. I will be back reading your blog again in 2012. My life took a couple left turns and now I am driving my own car. No passengers. Except maybe I will get a kitten. I used to be TechnoBabe and now I am just me. Happy New Year.

    • unknownmami

      I’m so glad you stopped by. When I found out you stopped blogging, I wrote you this long email and then never sent it because I got distracted by one of the kids and never got back to it. Anyway, it’s nice to hear from you and I hope you are well.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for writing the email even if you did not send it, it was out there in the universe and I needed all the encouragement I could get. I am blogging on the new blog and building up steam, not doing much yet, but it is nice to be blogging. Haven’t used the camera much but I will. Hope things are going well for you and your family.

        • unknownmami

          What’s the url to the new blog so I can stop by? If you don’t give me exact directions I will get lost or forget. Constant state of Mami-brain over here.

          • Anonymous

            There is explanation of sorts in the new blog about leaving the other blog behind.
            I will be glad to see you again.


            • unknownmami

              Oh, I already love the name!

              Thanks, I’ll add it to my reader now.

      • lisleman

        I love when readers and bloggers comment out loud.  Thanks you two it’s kinda like listening in on a conversation but knowing it’s accepted.

  • Laurie

    i am dog-sitting for a couple of months. This dog was sick and skinny. Antibiotics and bacon fat has been his salvation! He looks almost normal as I mix a bit of bacon fat in his food daily.  His appetite has been restored, and he eats the pills! I could do a commercial I am so enthused about how it has changed Zorro. 

    • unknownmami

      Aww, yay for Zorro!

  • AutismWonderland

    You had me at pork fat. 
    The best kind of fat in the world.  Ever. 

  • Anonymous

    I remember my Mom’s oldest sister (89 now I believe) made the best biscuits in our whole BIG family.  I watched her on many occasions.  She used lard.  She knew what was going on!  
    Fabulous post UnknownMami.

    • unknownmami

      Yeah, I can’t believe how many years I stayed away from lard because it has gotten such a bad rap. Beef tallow I will still avoid, but pork lard is a way better option than it is given credit for and now that I know our butcher will give us the fat for free it’s kind of hard to resist.

  • Bren @ Flanboyant Eats

    no lard in my life or diet, but just last week I had the best piece of corn bread ever and for some reason it ocurred to me to ask the server it was made with lard… he quickly came back and said, “why, of course. it’s the traditional Southern recipe: pork fat and no sugar!” porpoco me cago!

    • unknownmami

      There was no lard in my life for many many years, but my husband has changed my mind about it. Still no commercially produced lard, that stuff is no good and of course, I’m not about to put it in everything.

  • Bren @ Flanboyant Eats

    oops. sorry for the typos in my previous comment! :(

  • Carrie

    Who knew pork fat could be beautiful!

    I had heard that about it being free of transfats…May have to go get some…but I doubt that here in the South no one wants it!

    They probably charge extra!


    • unknownmami

      Oh yeah, they won’t be givin’ it away where you are. Ni modo.

  • lisleman

    some interesting info here and this might be useful to help reduce a family’s food budget.   I like pork – pull pork sandwiches – one of my favorites.

  • Itzel Yagual

    I actually had no idea that you could preserve pork fat. On the other hand I am not surprised that is a good substitute for other oils when it comes to frying needs. I do not fry foods but I am sure that this something good to try when I want to move out of my comfort zone. Thanks for sharing!

    • unknownmami

      We don’t really fry either, but it’s good for baking. Makes for flaky crusts.

  • Patty

    Interesting! I know my mom does this I just never knew how! ;)

  • Anonymous

    This was really interesting. Enjoy!

  • Uchi

    Thank you for sharing. I am with you.. Fat or lard is great for baking…!

  • ChrisH

    Sounds like a good idea!
    I wonder where one would get organic pork fat from here?
    I might bother trying to find out.. or not!  lol
    Well done on Mr Papi for doing it.

  • Tina

    Amazing! Just when I think l have seen everything…healthy pork fat! I love it.
    Happy New Year to you and yours!

    • unknownmami

      What’s up mind reader? I was just thinking of you and how I need to stop by. I am wishing you a very Happy New Year!

  • My Inner Chick

    –This is very interesting.. I may try it :))  X

    My Inner Chick

  • Joanna Jenkins

    Who knew!?!?  Now I’d rather be a lard ass too :-)  Thanks for the info.

    I’ve been reading and catching up on your posts.  Hope you’re feeling better and all is well.  

    I’m sending you big hugs and wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.  I’ll be cheering you and your family on.

    xoxo jj

  • tracismixedbag

    This is so interesting. I love tortillas made with lard (my sister is my new tortilla maker) I’ll have to tell her about this. 

  • Presleyspantry

    My grandfather has always saved the grease from bacon for as long as I could remember and cooked everything in it instead of using vegetable oil….. it’s darn good. 

  • Mamamyya3

    Mmmm pork fat!

  • Eva Smith | Tech.Food.Life.

    I never thought to cook with pork fat, but will definitely consider it.  I use to have a friend that kept the fat from frying bacon forever.  This is a great alternative.

  • Chantilly Patiño

    Ha!  That’s cool.  ;)  My mom used to make ours when we were kids too, but it was always in a coffee can…lol!

  • Ericka Sanchez

    This is awesome :)

  • Mercedes S.

    w o w!! this is cool. I love me some pernil. 

  • peruvian recipes

    Thats interesting. I had never thought about making my own lard.

  • Absenceofalternatives

    This is used in Chinese cooking widely!!!! :-)  I remember my dad used to make this when I was little. A spoonful of it, soy sauce, mixed into a bowl of hot steaming rice. Yum. No wonder I did not realize we were poor until I was much much older… 

  • Absenceofalternatives

    Oh oh oh. Forgot this: fried pork lard flavored with garlice pieces.. Little pieces of golden crispy goodness! 

    • unknownmami

      That sounds yummy.

  • Absenceofalternatives

    I am sorry for multiple posting. Just SO excited that you talked about this. LOVE YOU! And to add this: It amazes me to no end how with all the kinds of mouth-watering food cooked in lard that most Chinese people, both men and women, remain so friggin’ thin! It’s not in the genes since I am visibly larger than most people back home now that I am “American”…

  • justicejonesie

    I had no idea that pork fat is good for baking! Good tip, thanks for sharing!

  • MiMi

    Anything with pork fat is good! For reals.

  • Classic NYer

    I’m so gonna try this… I’m bookmarking this post and don’t you try to stop me.

    • unknownmami

      Do it!

  • Pingback: Classic NYC Story » On boring things()

  • joe

    where can I get pork fat on internet?

  • Linda Wilson

    Good morning, Mami.

    When I was little, a family favourite was lard spread on a thick slice of bread. I don’t think it had anything to do with it being healthier than butter or margarine – we were poor and it was plentiful. As you say, the butcher has few asking for it!

    But boy did it taste good… especially with a little salt sprinkled on!

    Thank you for such a reassuring post.

    Kind regards,

    • unknownmami

      I guess in Spain manteca (lard) on bread is very popular.