Since I received the first shipment in January, I haven’t written much about my Acorn Edition pig from La Quercia. Honestly, I’m at a loss about what to do with most of it. I have some grand plans for the head, but I’m stuck with the problem of slicing the head in two. For things like the tail and trotters, it’s hard to find a recipe for one tail or two trotters. However, there is one item from the shipment that I’m confident about, the bag of trimmings.
It’s completely self-explanatory; it really is just an 11 pound bag of pork trimmings from the butchering. When you’re paying a premium for acorn fed pork, it would be ludicrous to throw away any scraps.
Even though there was a lot of lean meat on those trimmings, I knew the best thing would be to render out all that snowy fat, but how do you properly render pork fat? Well, there was really only one person to turn to, the annoyingly slender Jennifer McLagan and her book “Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient.”
In the section on pork fat, McLagan outlines the general idea and practices that make up rendering.
First the fat is cut into 1 inch pieces. This is more tedious than it sounds; it takes a long time to slice 11 pounds of trimmings into 1 inch pieces.
Luckily, I had the perfect vessels for the job.
After that, I added 1/3 cup of water per pound of fat. The large pot had 6 pounds of fat, so that’s 2 full cups of water, while the smaller was only 5 pounds so 1 2/3 cup of water. From there, the Dutch oven went into a 250 degree oven while the oval pot remained on the stovetop on very low heat.
For the oven bound rendering, it was an easy process. Stir after 30 minutes, then after 45 and then every hour. The stovetop version required much more vigilance.
Snow white and with a slight porky smell, you know this is the good stuff.