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I recently rendered some lard at home from some pork fat I bought from a nearby Mexican grocery store (Mi Pueblo in San Jose). The lard is delicious and I'm glad I made it, but I wish I knew how best to make it "cleaner". It's not very light-colored now that it's chilled, and I can see some burnt pork solids left it it. What's the best and easiest way to get my lard nice and clear?

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Are you using cheesecloth, and worried because the finer particles get through and settle out? Or are you just running it through a sieve and seeing small cracklings still floating in it...? –  Shog9 Jul 29 '10 at 23:19
    
I'm seeing tiny dark pork particles and I want nice clean clear creamy lard. –  nohat Aug 6 '10 at 17:52
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2 Answers

For applications such as these where I really want a fine strain, much more than any of my strainers can handle, I line a larger-hole strainer with cheesecloth (if I have trouble with the cheesecloth staying I use a rubber band to hold it in place).

Although I have not tried it with rendered lard, I have used it in a lot of other places (stock immediately comes to mind) where I have a lot of little particles that make it through my finest of strainers. A quick search for a lard/cheesecloth/strainer keyword combination shows that a lot of recipes for home-rendered lard seem to suggest this so I think it would work.

You can find a picture of a cheesecloth-lined strainer here or just Google image search it if the link dies.

Oh, and as an aside, I find that purchasing the cheesecloth in bulk at a fabric store (such as Jo-Ann Fabrics in the USA) is much, much cheaper than buying small packages in a kitchen store (such as Williams-Sonoma).

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I've never seen cheesecloth at fabric stores (but admit, I haven't been looking) ... but I know you can get muslin, which will work as a decent substitute (but because of the tighter weave, it won't drain through quite as quickly ... but it'll stain out the small bits really well) In a pinch, I've also been known to line a strainer with paper towel, you just have to be patient, and careful to make sure you don't tear it or you have to start over. –  Joe Feb 24 '11 at 12:55
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At Asian grocery stores you can find a variety of very fine-mesh sieves and strainers. I have a couple that are fairly broad and shallow, and in my meat-eating and fat-rendering days I used to use those to get the fat pretty "clean".

Restaurant supply places sell bigger strainers (generally under the uncomfortable name "China cap") with very fine mesh, and that might work. Thing is however that you don't necessarily want a lot of volume in the strainer, as the fat has to stay hot and liquid or else you're in trouble.

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