I placed my leaf lard into my crock pot frozen yet – thawing will save about 1 hour when doing a small batch.
Next, I put the lid on my crock pot and turned it on low. The key to rendering lard is low and slow. You do not want your lard to bubble when cooking, just slowly melt. This helps keep the flavor neutral and the color pure white.
After the lard has melted a bit (this photo was around 3 hours after starting), check your heat. If you are using a crock pot, you might want to take off the lid or prop it open with a fork, especially if your crock pot cooks hot, like mine does.
Once your lard has fully rendered, in about 5-6 hours depending on your heat, there will be a thin layer of connective membrane left without very much fat remaining on it. It is now time to strain. Take out the unrendered portion. This can either be disposed or saved to render further. (To render further when lard has been strained, slightly increase the heat by putting it in a sauce pot or covering with the lid. This will provide a small bit of lard with a richer flavor – great for sauteing with.)
Step 2 : Strain
Now is the time to get out your storage container, funnel (and possibly strainer if you are doing regular lard to catch the cracklings – click here to see photos on straining cracklings), and cheese cloth (found in the Walmart craft department).
Place a thick layer of cheese cloth on the funnel, over your container. Pour your lard through the cheese cloth, allowing it to strain out any particles.
Step 3: Store
You will now have a jar of beautiful, amber colored, hot lard. Set it aside to cool. (My 1.56 pounds of produced around 2 1/4 cups of lard.)
Once completely cooled, your lard will turn into a snow white color. If you plan on using it immediately, store in your refrigerator. Otherwise, you can store it your freezer until needed.