not canning, but question about rendering fat

jill2761(Southeast Texas)February 2, 2013

This may be a little off topic, but I feel like this is a great place to get answers. My husband "harvested" a wild hog last week. I cut the fat into small pieces (well...I actually used a food processor, so "small" pieces is an understatement) and proceeded to melt it down. I heated it around 250 degrees and poured off the clear fat as it accumulated in the pan, which yielded a total of 3 pints of beautiful clear oil. I let it cool on the counter, then refrigerated it.

There's just one problem. It never solidified--not even after two days in the refrigerator! I've searched for an answer and posted to another forum, but haven't figured out why my hog fat is still liquid!

Has this ever happened to any of you? I expected it to be a soft solid. It isn't. It is just as liquid as regular cooking oil. It tastes fine, looks fine, I've used it in a couple of recipes calling for oil, and it worked just fine. But why is it still liquid? It is clear with no sediment or separation.

Any suggestions as to why this happened? Grasping at straws, would a wild hog be different than a domestic farm hog? Does it make a difference where on the hog the fat came from? Mine was all back fat, no belly fat.

The meat from the hog was absolutely delicious, btw!

Thanks..

Jill

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Been years since I rendered lard and now only do bacon fat so not sure how much help this is. Was hoping someone with more experience would answer your question.

But it can take longer than 2 days to solidify. Can't say I have ever timed it and we keep our jar way in the back of the fridge near the freezer vent but even there it stays liquid for a day or so. But it is still safe to use and tasty even in liquid form.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:09AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

It's less common, but I've heard it's possible. The wild hogs' lard may have a different fatty acid profile.

If you'd water-rendered it I'd say there was water remaining, but in your case you have lard with a lower ratio of saturated fat. Not a bad thing.

Carol

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:36AM
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jill2761(Southeast Texas)

Thanks to both of you. I'm happy with the product, but just perplexed. I did use a very small amount of water in the pan at the very beginning (less than 4 oz), but if it hadn't cooked out and that was the reason, then the oil and water would have separated in the refrigerator. I'm just going to accept it and see what happens the next time I render the lard from a different hog. I'm beginning to think maybe it is the difference between domestic pigs and wild hogs that forage.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:12PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

To quote one source: Pigs that have been fed different diets will have lard with a significantly different fatty acid content and iodine value.

So yes, a free-range or wild hog will not render the same as a domestic penned hog. You see something similar with leaf lard. The melting point of leaf lard is higher than that of lard rendered from other locations in the body. That's why leaf lard is so desirable for baking pastry.

Carol

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 7:07PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

"Leaf lard" - now there is a term I haven't heard for many, many years. :) Thanks Carol for the memory.

So Jill, what 5 or 6 days? did it begin to set up at all yet?

Dave

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:32AM
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jill2761(Southeast Texas)

Nope...it never set up at all. It remains a light density oil. No separation at all. The density of the oil is lighter in texture than corn oil or olive oil. If I get any on my hands, it feels wonderful, and I've ended up just rubbing it in instead of washing it off! I've been cooking with it and it is doing fine, but the only thing I've noticed is that I need to use LESS of it than I normally would or the food seems oilier than usual. I've noticed that when sauteeing things like onions. I did some more research and did find a couple of references to the differences with free range pigs, as mentioned, but everything is anectdotal, nothing scientific. Which doesn't really matter in this case anyway. As far as I'm concerned, it's a free source of oil and it tastes good!

Thanks for asking.

Jill

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:40AM
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