Just in case anyone wondered, 60 pounds of lard is an awful lot, and I do mean an awful lot, of chopping. I got busy with the lard right after lunchtime, and chopped until after suppertime. I took breaks every now and then because my hands were killing me...I have blisters from holding knives for so long! We do have a meat grinder, but it was on a shelf in the top of a closet, and do you know how long it takes to clean the grinder up? I figured it wouldn't be any faster to use the grinder by the time you figure in cutting the pieces small enough to fit in the grinder, grind, take the blade thingy apart every little while to clean off that stringy stuff that collects on there, put it back together, and do that goodness knows how many times, and then you still have to clean everything up when you get done.
Yep. Definitely better just to go the old-fashioned way and chop until your hand falls off.
So, to get on with the story, I cut pig fat all day long...hours and hours and hours. My hand hurt. I was beginning to doubt my sanity.
Even after chopping for so long, I hadn't even cut enough to really fill the roaster pan up! So, finally, I asked Dave to pull out the grinder after supper. I couldn't physically cut any more, with the blisters I'd gotten. I set up the grinder, made all the parts fit together right (that's a real job!) and got started. I cut chunks of fat to get started and within 30 minutes, I had as much fat ground as I had cut all day. :( That grinder should've been brought out a lot earlier!
My box of fat had been frozen and was thawing enough while I was working so that I could pull off chunks of fat. But by the time I got to the middle of the box, it was still frozen pretty good. I wanted to go ahead and grind everything so I wouldn't have to get the grinder out again tomorrow. So, I was pulling off what would come off and then cutting away at what wanted to hang on. And I gave myself the mandatory cut, which made everything so much easier.
I finally got everything ground and some rendered. I've poured off 5 quarts already, and will continue through the night and tomorrow. That's probably rendering less than a third of what I have total, but I'm not sure...it's hard to tell when it's ground.
And now I'm going to bed...playing in pig fat for almost 12 hours is enough to make me want a break!