Yesterday I bought a couple of pounds of pork fat from my local Whole Foods. I cut it up into little cubes and baked it in a casserole dish for an hour at 200 degrees (I wanted to keep the temperature low because I couldn't attend to it the first hour) and then for another hour at 250 degrees. I only got maybe a cup of lard from the two pounds of fat I started with and the cut up pieces of fat were still a little soggy.
A few questions.
How much lard is reasonable to expect from the two pounds of fat?
How dry should the little cubes in the oven get when I'm done?
In the oven method, how would I know when I'm done?
I have never rendered lard, but I have rendered suet into tallow in the oven. I put a single layer of paper towel in a colander. After pulling everything out of the oven, I pour it onto the paper towel. Then you can push down on the cubes with a wooden spoon to squeeze out more of the rendered fat. That helps me get a lot more fat. If your bowl isn't much deeper than the colander, then as soon as the liquid in the bowl hits the bottom of the colander, dump it out and squeeze more.
Also, to your question, for beef, you get ~60% yield. So 2 lbs of suet would yield 1.2 lbs of tallow. Lard may different, but likely in the same range? What remains is cracklins:
So when they look like those pictures, you're done. I think if you keep temperature low, you can let it go longer in the oven. I don't think there is a risk of burning, but I could be wrong. I would just keep going until it doesn't look like things are changing anymore.
By the way, this doc has good instructions and lots of pictures:
I can't remember where I read the 60% yield, but my own experience has matched that number.
I think you may need a slightly higher temp for longer.
DH cuts it into small pieces and "bakes" it at 250-275 degrees F until it is done. Takes 2-3 hours.
You can go as low as 225 degrees, if needed, but then it would take more time.
He drains off the fat & lets the bits bake until they are crispy--maybe another 1/2 hour?
Sorry, I can't help you with quantities!
I like this question a lot since I did something similar last weekend with some fatty pork skin. I cut up the skin into 1.5x1.5 inch chunks and roasted them at about 300 for a while to render the fat so I could turn around and fry the pork skin in its own rendered lard (chicharrones!).
I don't know how much fat should render but it should be a good amount. The smaller you cut it, the less time it will take because of the increased surface area exposed to the hot air. Additionally, you can render the fat at that temperature, but increasing the heat a little should speed the process. Just be sure to check on everything occasionally to prevent burning.
If you have a cast iron skillet you should definitely use that. The skillet gets nice and hot so all sides of the fat should render well. Also the lard will help season the skillet so you're killing two birds with one stone.
Which is the best fat to render? 9 Answers
Rendered lard not turning white 2 Answers
Dry vs wet rendering 11 Answers
Types of fat and heat production. 2 Answers