I am very interested in not using shortening these days and butter does not always translate well. I have been making hashbrowns, frying eggs, and sauteing vegetables. But this has not been the hydrogenated store bought lard, but some I made myself.
A month or so ago I purchased 3 lbs of leaf fat from Jodar Farms at the Boulder County Farmers Market. I quick search on Google gave directions for using a crock pot to render it.
Now I have rendered lard in the past, but both times I cooked it a little too long on the stove - not only smelling up the house, but creating a light brown product that was only fit for the birds. (Literally - I made "suet" cakes to hang outside/give to the chickens in the winter
This in mind I ground the fat with the meat grinder then filled the crockpot and turned it on low. I plugged it in outside, but it turned out to be unnecessary - in an hour the lard was done, no smell.
After straining the cracklins, I poured the lard into a container to cool in the fridge. The cracklins were placed in a cast iron skillet on the stove. (2 birds, 1 stone - the pan needed to be seasoned) Once drained again on paper towels I froze them, for a use as of yet unknown.
Today I am baking my Grandma Lundborg's raw apple cake, using lard in place of the shortening the recipe calls for.
Update 10/7 - cake is gone and a request has been put in for more, so success