Rendering Lard

Did you know that lard is actually classified as a monosaturated fat? It’s also high in Vitamin D. But not any old package o’ lard will do. Nope. It has to be from pasture-raised pigs to truly benefit from this new (old) health food. Our lard is one of the most economical cuts on our price list. And it’s so versatile, too! What other ingredient tastes just as good in fried potatoes as it does in cherry pie?

Here’s how you can render your own snow-white lard at home – and then start cooking the old-fashioned way!

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  1. Buy a package of lard from Reliant Farm.
  2. Cut lard up into the smallest pieces possible – 1/2 inch cubes would suffice.
  3. Throw it into your crockpot with 1/4 cup water. This will prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Set crock pot on high.
  5. Don’t leave your house for the day! Sorry, stay close by because a pot of boiling oil makes even me nervous.
  6. Watch for the fat to melt and the cracklings (bits of meat and other non-fat stuff) to come to the top.
  7. When the cracklings start to turn brown and then sink, it should be ready.
  8. Watch out when you lift the lid – the liquid may pop on you. You may want to turn it off for a little bit before the next step.
  9. CAREFULLY filter out cracklings with a metal strainer lined with a paper towel. (This will ensure you get a pure white lard.) I like to filter it into something not-too-tall with a wide opening like a wide-mouth jar or even a small baking dish with a lid. I hate trying to dig into the lard at the bottom of a jar with a spoon that’s too short.
  10. Store in the refrigerator.
  11. Use for pie crusts, biscuits, fried potatoes, eggs, sautéed veggies, etc.

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Pork Chops with Herb-Mustard Butter

New pork chops are coming this week in time for the Saturday market! Here is one of our family’s favorite pork chop recipes from Southern Living. It only takes about 20 minutes start to finish and serves 4.  I like to pair it with buttered noodles or mashed potatoes and broccoli or green beans.

 

Pork Chops with Herb-Mustard Butter

Ingredients:

4 bone-in pork chops (3/4-1″ thick)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons honey mustard

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

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Preparations:

1.  Sprinkle chops evenly with salt and pepper, and place on a wire rack in an aluminum foil-lined pan.

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2.  Stir together butter and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl until blended. Top each chop with 1 rounded Tbsp. butter mixture.

3.  Broil 5 inches from heat 8 to 10 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 155 degrees.

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NC Style Crock Pot Pulled Pork

Vinegar-based pulled pork is the only way we will eat pulled pork. Period. We don’t do “barbecue sauce” for this. It’s vinegar all the way for us.

That being said, here is the recipe that we use for both boston butts and ham roasts. Both work well for this recipe. The only difference between the cuts is that our boston butts are boneless and more marbled while the ham roasts are bone-in with more of the fat on the outside edge of the roast. Either way, once you cook them thoroughly they pull apart easily and you can add as much or as little of the liquid fat as you want back in.

Start with a 3-4 lb boston butt or ham roast.

For the roast:

1.  Quarter 2 onions and place in the bottom of the crock pot.

2.  Combine 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp smoke paprika, and 2 tsp salt in a small bowl.

3. Rub mixture all over roast and place in crock pot on top of onions.

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For the sauce:

1. Combine 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, 2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp dry mustard, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp chipotle chile pepper into a small bowl.

2.  Pour 1/2 of this mixture over the roast in the crock pot.

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3.  Cook roast on high for 6 hours or low for 12 hours.

4.  Remove roast to serving dish. With two forks, pull meat apart into shreds. Add fat from crock pot to taste. Pour remaining sauce over shredded meat. If you want, you can shred the cooked onions in with the meat as well.

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We enjoy this topped with vinegar-based cole slaw (not mayo-based!) and sometimes with and sometimes without buns. This goes well with potato salad and baked beans as a deliciously relaxed summer-time meal!

Enjoy!

Balsamic Pork Chops

I love simple pork chops with just a touch of olive oil, sea salt, and a charcoal grill. But sometimes it’s great to spice it up a bit and our pork chops work great for this recipe. I use a large cast iron skillet for these. I’ve adapted this recipe from Southern Living.

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 (3/4-inch-thick) boneless pork chops
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can chicken broth
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Combine flour, 1 teaspoon rosemary, salt, and pepper. Dredge pork chops in flour mixture.

Melt butter with oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. Add pork chops, and cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove pork chops.

Add broth and vinegar, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Cook 6 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add pork chops, and cook 5 minutes or until done.

We like it with a side of rice or mashed potatoes and maybe some bacon-wrapped green beans.

Enjoy!