It's a beautiful day. This is an excerpt from an e-mail I sent to my mom. It sums up my mood pretty well.
I haven't felt this 'at peace' in ages. I have a good kitchen and good food to cook. I have the day -- the weekend -- to myself. No dates, no sweeties (the Tribe is in Seattle for the weekend).
I have good food, loud music and a half-bottle of tawny port. I have found my bliss and it is within me."
But, I didn't come here to navel gaze. I came to cook. Specifically, to render pork fat into lard.
How To Render Lard
I'm using a crock pot and 2.5 # of pork fat.
Chop the fat and heat 1-1/2 cup of water in a kettle.
(In hindsight, I would have cut the pieces much smaller. Pea size.)
Oh, I mean w-a-i-t.
After 12 hours, the lard was still largely un rendered. So I went to bed, setting an alarm to go off every hour so I could check it.
At 4 am, with no change, I set the alarm to go off every two hours.
And turned the heat up to 'high.'
According to the Interwebs, low on a Rival crock pot is about 200 degrees. High is 300. I should have started it on high, but I didn't. Oh well.
----The Next Day---
After 21 hours the lard looks slightly darker and the bits are smaller but it's far from finished.
Here's the rub...It's Sunday morning, (Chinese New Year) and I'm off to an Ecstatic Dance class with a friend. I couldn't leave the cooker on unattended.
So, I strained out the not-crunchy-at-all cracklings and put the lard in the cooler. I put the rare cracklings back in the crock pot. I added a cup of water as well.
Did not turn on the slow cooker.
---Later, same day ---FYI, 2.5# of pork fat yields 2.5 cups of lard.
The finished lard rests in the fridge. Yellow in color. It should turn creamy white when it's chilled.
The bits-of-stuff-soon-to-be-cracklings are in the slow cooker. On high.
Happy Year of the Snake!