Pork Cracklin's and Lard
Lard was the fat of choice for most settlers. It stored well, was fairly easily found (via their own pigs or wild boars), and had a load of uses.
Not only that, but the by-product of making your own lard is that you get the tasty cracklings Ma used to flavor johnnycakes and beans with. She said that they were too rich for little girls to have more than a taste, and she may be right, but they sure are yummy!
Cut the pork fat into about ¾ inch cubes (don't go bigger than 1 inch!).
Place in a large, heavy bottom pot and set on the stove.
Heat on low, stirring on occasion. If the pot starts to smoke or seem like it is scorching, quickly turn down the heat and add a cup full of water. . .the water will evaporate by the end.
SLOWLY bring the heat up to a gentle simmer and continue to stir it every once in awhile.
As the fat melts, the more solid cracklings will float to the top. When they sink to the bottom, your lard is likely ready. The temperature should be between 212 and 255 degrees (us a candy thermometer!).
Remove from the heat and let the lard cool down for awhile, though not completely.
While still very warm, but not boiling, strain the lard through a cheesecloth into heat-proof jars or containers and replace lids.
Store the cracklings in a tight-lidded container in the fridge for future use.
As soon as you feel comfortable, put the jars in the refrigerator or freezer. The quicker the lard cools, the less likely the lard will have a grainy texture.
The rendered lard should last many months if stored in the fridge or freezer.