I love the word proper. It sounds so snooty. *THIS* is proper and there is simply no other acceptable manner to go about it. Of course that’s not true. There are countless ways to make lard—high heat, low heat, or a variance of both–in a pan on the stove top, in a crockpot, on a sheet pan in the oven. Many cultures outside the United States take lard very seriously. It is a cryin’ shame it’s been demonized so much in America. It’s great to cook with, making for unbelievably light and flaky pie crusts, biscuits, and such.
One of my revelations during our weekend spent with the Austrians in New Jersey was a delicate little thing they called “whipped lard” (lard is more traditionally referred to in Austria as “Schmalz”, as Heath points out in the comments section). Whipped lard is simply rendered pork fat that has been thrown into a Kitchen-Aid mixer and whipped like egg whites. Toss in a bit of salt, spread it on a piece of warm bread—make ya slap ya mama.
What is the best way to render lard though? High heat has its place in certain cultures but it produces lard that is anything but void of flavor. Christoph Wiesner demonstrated the way he and Isabell render lard back home.
Traditional Austrian Lard Pan*