I know we've all been told that lard is bad and it'll kill us all with heart attacks. Sadly, the American public has been sorely misguided for a very long time (since the 1950's) in regards to dietary fat. I'd love to go into the details, but that would take me many pages of scientific explanation so instead, you can read more about this in the book Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes. If you want to understand how to really be healthy (even if it goes against modern "wisdom", then I highly recommend this book -- and no, I don't get anything for this endorsement).
I will briefly go into why I love lard so much, though, and how it keeps me healthy rather than hurting me.
Here's the deal: carbohydrates make you fat. If you can learn to limit your carbohydrate intake to 50g a day or less, your body will begin using ketones as a fuel source instead of glucose. Ketones are made in the liver using fat, so instead of sugar and carbohydrates as being a fuel source, fat becomes the fuel source. That's why I love fat-rich foods -- they give me energy. Lots of it. And my heart is healthy and my cholesterol numbers are great. In fact, the last time I had my blood tested, my triglycerides (which are bad bad bad, so they say) didn't even register on the instant meter, meaning they were less than 45mg/dL (normal "good" is <150mg/dL).
So keep your carbs low (good-bye grains!) and make sure you get enough fat. I never thought in a million years I'd be saying that!
I'm sure more than a handful of people I know would wonder why I'd want to make my own lard. Well, it's hard to find lard from naturally-raised pigs that have not been given antibiotics. So when in doubt, make it yourself.
How-To Guide for Rendering Lard
Pork fat (4-5lbs)
Slow-Cooker or Dutch Oven
1. Cut the pork fat into 1-inch cubes.
3. If using slow-cooker, turn on high. DO NOT cover with the lid. This allows the water to evaporate out of the fat instead of collecting on the lid and dripping back into the fat.
If using a dutch oven on the stove, turn heat to medium. DO NOT cover with a lid.
*Many people keep lard at room temperature, but I feel more comfortable putting it in the refrigerator (or freezer for long-term storage).