Friday, 14 April 2017

The Pig Processing Continues - Brawn and Lard

In last week's post I said I would let you know how the brawn making went so I'm proud to show you my successful finished product. The entire process took more than two days, but it wasn't terribly time consuming. It was just a matter of long simmering and a small bit of unsavory and delicate business, but the end product is definitely delicious and well worth the effort.

My inspiration and guidance came from Lucy at Dawson Valley Free Range where she has a good basic recipe for pork brawn.
It all made much more sense to me now that I've been making Bone Broth  for a few years and understand more about the jelling factor (and concentrated nutrition) of long simmered bones.
My driving determination was to use every part of the pig, not waste any of it, so even though I felt squeamish at the beginning, I pushed through.

Separating the usable meat from the bones and "other stuff."
This was the tricky part first time round, but the second and third batches were much easier. Remember we had three pigs!!

Part of the process is to chill the entire pot until the fat settles on the top and can be scooped off. This required some juggling between my fridges, to accommodate a big stew pot, but we home makers are wizards at squeezing just one more thing in our fridges aren't we? Is it a female thing?
Well, then there were those bowls full of fat that were scraped off the top...too good to be thrown away, and I had plans for making pastry with it.
Fortunately, the stew pot was ready to go back onto the heat at that stage so there was space in fridges for these bowls of pork dripping, and my dreams of pastry were still allowed to flourish.
The end result as shown in the top photo above, perfect for lunch with a salad or on sourdough with chutney.
The salt content is most important, as are the various spices and herbs, resulting in flavours that are rich and tasty.
There was more of the liquid broth than was needed for the brawn, so I filled a few jars of the delicious thick bone broth to add to my stores in the freezers.

A couple of beef and vegetable pies with the lightest pork dripping pastry. 

It was cool enough to light up the wood oven, so I rendered all of the pork fat to make lard. Many trays full, and enough lard to last for more than a year. I wrote a post about making lard here.
I've poured it all into glass jars and glass bowls with lids, and am storing in the freezer, keeping just one container in the fridge for use.
Lard kept in the fridge has excellent keeping qualities for months and we all know now that it is one of the healthy fats.

Happy Easter to you all..!


  1. Sally, I thought I answered this last night but obviously not. I now have some pig fat to render for soapmaking but it is currently in the freezer. I think I will render it in the crockpot and hope it works out okay and isn't too smelly. Have a wonderful Easter.

    1. Chel, I have never done it in the slow cooker. The thought of tipping such a heavy container to pour the melted fat off, makes me nervous. Cooking it in the oven in shallow pans is a very simple process, and the smell is actually very nice, not at all like beef fat. From start to finish probably takes only a couple of hours of moderate oven. I wonder what method other people use? It's a perfect Easter weekend here, hope the weather is mild where you are and you're having a lovely Easter.

    2. Well perhaps I should use the oven method, Sally. I didn't realise it was that quick. Yes the weather is very mild and so nice after the dreadful heat of summer.

  2. Wow and wow, Sally. That brawn looks great and the idea of using that fat to make pastry makes me envious.

    1. Pork dripping and lard make the most delicious pastry Sherri. So quick and easy too, for lazy cooks like me. ;)


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