While we're on the subject, this article, like most things I've seen, suggests rendering fat by cooking over a very slow fire. Some do it in an oven, some in a cast-iron pot, whatever. Then you save the cracklings.
In Chinese cooking, however, you usually steam the fat. You cut it as fine as you can, put it in a heatproof bowl, cover tightly, and set in a steamer for a long time. Then you strain it and refrigerate. Some water remains at the bottom, and you pour that off. Everything else is a very pure white rendered fat.
Now the thing is, these taste different. Steamed fat has almost no taste whatever: it's like a neutral oil. Pan-rendered fat, which is usually at least pale gold-color, has a distinctive pork flavor. If I had both available and wanted to make sweet pie crust or something, I'd use steamed, and I'd use the golden kind for savories.
My question: does anyone know if there are differences in properties between these two lards? Has anyone used both and might compare them directly?