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We have two Tamworth pigs coming back from the butcher tomorrow with a decent amount of fat (don't know how many pounds yet). What are the best and/or most economical uses of pig fat or lard?

I'm not just looking at cooking applications. Evidently you can also make candles and other body products, and even use for water-proofing leather.

  • Make sure to refry some beans with it :-) – Ivan Kapitonov Nov 12 '15 at 8:35
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More uses...

Lard or the fat can be made into Lardo - or cured pork fat (Italian name). This is done without rendering it. It's remarkably tasty. There are many versions of this around the world.

Lard can be 'cleaned' to remove much of the pork flavor too, and then is usually for nearly everything. You can look this up, but is mostly a process of boiling it in water. I personally don't mind some pork flavor.

It can be used to help start fires in your fireplace or woodstove, but here I would not use fresh good quality lard, but old rancid lard.

Great for seasoning cast iron. I've tried other things and now specifically collect pork fat for this purpose. It works better than other fats (well beef fat works nearly the same).

It can be used as a lubricant when using tools. Some old-time devices (like cart wheels) were frequently lubricated with lard (often mixed with other ingredients). It can also keep some tools from rusting.

It was used medicinally and cosmetically and mixed with herbs and other materials and used as a balm, salve, or poultice.

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You seem to be well aware of the "cooking applications" of lard, but just in case you haven't heard of it, I'm particularly fond of Schmalz a German spread made from lard, together with small amounts of pork scratchings/cracklings, apples and onions. (For example, see here for a basic recipe.)

As for candles, you can make about 12 candles from 2 pounds of (strained) fat. A better recipe would be to mix it in a proportion of 1:1 with (strained) beeswax.

For other recipes, tips on how to make/store lard (and other pork by-products), etc., I refer to pp. 884-886 of The Encyclopedia of Country Living (10th ed.) by Carla Emery (which I can highly recommend to anyone).

If all fails and your fat gets rancid, it still makes excellent soap.

  • Thanks for the proportions for the candle mix. As mentioned I had tried to make crayons before using the lard and failed miserably. I think adding some beeswax would have helped. – Rodney Sewava I. Tajir Mattar Nov 15 '15 at 16:10
  • @RodneySewavaI.TajirMattar I only know crayons from 100% beeswax (Stockmar), adding lard will probably make them softer and 100% lard crayons are probably too soft. Still, candles don't need to be as hard as crayons, they just need to be hard enough to support the wick: think of gel candles, which work as candles but obviously gel crayons wouldn't work... So I think too much lard would probably make poor crayons (and beeswax also beats lard for smell). – Earthliŋ Nov 15 '15 at 16:25
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    A variation on this: mix lard with syrup. In Holland we have a thick syrup called 'stroop', and this spread is an old-fashioned treat on bread (sandwiches). I do not remember the proportion. – Jan Doggen Feb 24 '16 at 11:32
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  1. You can use it to replace oil when cooking things that would benefit from the pork flavour like soups.
  2. You can use it in any situation that requires deep frying. Chips taste especially nice when cooked in lard.
  3. It can be used as a wood preservative.
  4. It makes amazing pastries.
  5. If done properly and doesn't smell, you can add fabric dye and use it as shoe polish.
  6. Tried making crayons with it once and though this wasn't really a success. I think it is possible.
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Use it as a general cooking oil for frying stuff. It is healthier than most vegetable oils and tastes amazing. Healthy in moderation :)

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    Can you provide a reference for your claim that pig lard is healthier than most vegetable oils? – THelper Apr 17 '16 at 9:52

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