Cooking and Baking

Cleaning/washing/rendering fat for making lard or suet?

For two different purposes, hubby and I both wish to try working with fats at home. I need suet for mincemeat, and he wants to make his own lard using backfat thanks to a Rick Bayless suggestion. Getting these items is not a problem, since we have one of the best grocery stores in the world about a mile from us. Suet AND fatback (backfat) are both at the ready and CHEAP! Do we just heat low and slow and strain through cheesecloth? Do the above with water to clean it since it will separate out when it resolidifies?

I've checked all of my culinary school textbooks, La Rousse Gastronomique, both of my Bittman's and my Nigella's (mincemeat being a love of Brit's). The only reason I've seen or heard about washing the fats is from soapmaking sites I'd seen in the past. Anyone do this stuff? Should I just experiment since it IS so cheap? $1.19/lb is right up my alley. :)

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