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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas.....and a batch of Cracklins :)








I'm definitely going to have a white Christmas this year. :)  Not sure of the exact measurements but it looks like around 10 to 12 inches of snow hit the ground a couple of days ago.  It's pretty and fluffy.....haven't had the chance to get out and enjoy it but maybe I'll do that Christmas Day.

Been under the weather with a flu bug this last week but before that hit I was able to get some pork put up, lard rendered and cracklins made.

Had a nice bone in back loin section from one of the hampshire pigs in the freezer. Cut it down, trimmed the fat, cubed some meat for the canner (made freezer space for my giant chickens and venison).







separated the tenderloin out...


separated the meat from the bones...






cut a few chops and cubed the rest for canning...





added garlic, onion and beef bouillon to each jar....


Wiped the jar rims with white vinegar to remove any pork or fat residue...



Into the pressure canner....
Times and pressures are different for each area, check your canner instructions for your area..



The canned pork will keep for several years on the shelf. 



Back to the fat... I had a combination of two bags of fat which were in the freezer.
I cubed the fat for even rendering....



Added 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the huge pot.  My stove burner is pretty hot on the low setting, so I inverted a cast iron skillet over the burner, then placed my lard pot on top to disperse the heat evenly. ( didn't think to take a pic)




Then let the fat cook over low, stirring often...



When the cracklins rise to the top and stop bubbling or foaming, they are ready to remove..



Strain the hot lard through cheesecloth, save the cracklins for later.  Pour the hot lard into clean jars.



Wipe the jar rims well, top with a clean lid...


Invert the jars for 5 minutes to seal the lids.




Sprinkle the cracklins with a little bit of salt and dive in. :)


When the lard cools, I store it in my cellar. Canned this way, it will keep at least 5 years but I use it up faster than that. 





A friend mentioned the other day that he was going to buy himself a Christmas gift.  I thought that sounded like a good idea and tried to think of something I could buy for myself.
After several days of "thinkin'" , I couldn't come up with one thing that I really needed or wanted.
I feel blessed with what I have.
For me, Christmas isn't about Hallmark cards or the latest gadgets.
I think I'll spend Christmas Day outside, enjoying the fresh air. Maybe I'll make a snow angel or two. Hmmmm... snow ice cream sounds like the perfect ending to what ever Christmas dinner I come up with.  :)


Hope everyone has a safe and Merry Christmas!!  Give your loved ones hugs and kisses while you have them cornered! :)

19 comments:

Bushman said...

Awesome way to get everything out of the hog. Wish I had some cracklins. Merry Christmas to you my friend and congrats on the white stuff! We got all ice for Christmas this year!

Sam Trachet said...

Thank you for you posts. I love to see how you do things. You inspire me and I am making plans to build my smoker just like yours. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Mr.T

cowgirl said...

Thank you Bushman, if you lived closer I'd share these cracklins. Sorry to hear about the ice! That's worse than snow..
Hope you keep safe and warm. Merry Christmas Friend. :)

cowgirl said...

Thank you Mr T! I appreciate your kind comment. Would love to see your smoker when you get it built.
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Thanks for stopping by, it's nice to meet you. :)

Sid said...

Good to hear your feeling better. The snow looks pretty - cold! I know its not as much fun but maybe this year you might cook dinner inside, save the angels for another day and go with the snowballs. Don't want to see you sick on New Years again.:} Once again, Have a Joyous Christmas.

cowgirl said...

Chris thank you! I think I'll take your advice. :)
Staying inside where it's warm sounds pretty nice right now.
Hope you are having a great evening. Merry Christmas to you Chris! :)

cowgirl said...

Just thought of something. Didn't you send me the snow for Christmas last year Chris? :)
If you had anything to do with it this year, thank you! :)

Sid said...

Can't take any credit. This year it's all on He who we celebrate. :)

cowgirl said...

He did an amazing job. :) One of those little gifts from above that people don't fully appreciate until they see creeks running full, green pastures "horse belly high" or batches of morels popping out of the ground in the spring.
Thanks Chris, Christmas (((HUGS))) to you! :)

Three Dogs BBQ said...

Merry Christmas Jeanie!

I love cracklins. Great with a cold beer.

Something they do in Germany with that lard. Season with salt, pepper, and spice of choice. Pour into ramekins and put in the fridge to solidify. Serve with roast pork and the trimmings. The fat is used to spread on bread. Very sinful. You must have heart paddles on hand!

LindaG said...

My brother in Michigan had 12 inches of snow yesterday.

I did not know you could can the rendered lard that way.
I do love some cracklins. :-)

Merry Christmas!

cowgirl said...

My gosh Bill that sounds dangerously good! lol Not sure if I should try it but it's tempting. :)
Hope you had a great Christmas.. Thank you!

cowgirl said...

Wow Linda, hope he's staying warm. I heard that many places were without electricity. Not sure if it reached him or not...hope not!
Canning the rendered lard just gives it a longer shelf life. I like to use pint jars or smaller...seems like I can use them up faster.
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas too Linda, thanks! :)

TomW said...

I know that you like to avoid listing specific pressure-cooker times, and that is no problem.

But I thought meats were usually cooked a little (no red) before being added to the jar. Would you mind tossing out a general idea of how long the jiggler is jiggling?

Thanks!
Tom

cowgirl said...

Hi Tom!
There are two methods (that I know of) for pressure canning meats... the "Hot pack" method where you cook meat a bit before canning, then can them in the cooking liquid.

The second method is the "Raw pack" method of packing jars with raw meat and seasonings but adding no liquid.
The raw meat will make it's own juice during the canning process.


I like both methods but the raw pack method is quicker as far as prep time goes.

For this pork, I processed at 12lbs of pressure for 90 minutes. (both quarts and pints).

Hope this helps Tom, good luck to you.
Also, thanks for stopping by! :)



Mrs. JP said...

I'm catching up! Looks like you had a very Merry Christmas and we send our wishes for a blessed new year to you from the holler...
I've never had cracklins home made but it looks good. Your lard is lovely. well done.

David said...

Merry Christmas!

cowgirl said...

Thank you, Good to see you Mrs JP! Hope all is well with you. Also hope you have a wonderful 2014! :)

cowgirl said...

Thank you David! Hope you have a great New Year. :)