Lard

Never Ignore Your Pig Lard

Here we find a report from your colleague in good eating:

“I just finished up rendering the five bags of pig fat I got at the open farm and ended up making just over 60 fluid ounces of fresh lard! White as milk. 
Also made a batch of delicious spiced cracklings from the remainder, which were just amazing. Whole family loved them. (turmeric, garlic, salt, and black pepper). Thank you again!”
— Michael Dale

Speaking of Real Food

My two boys live in Brooklyn (they are writers among other things if you are wondering how my 2 Texans ended up in New York). They pass on this report from afar. “Ron Silver, the owner of Bubby's restaurant in Brooklyn, recently put a word on his menu you don't often see anymore: lard. The white, creamy, processed fat from a pig. And he didn't use the word just once.

For a one-night-only "Lard Exoneration Dinner", Silver served up lard fried potatoes. And root vegetables, baked in lard. Fried chicken, fried in lard. Roasted fennel glazed with lard sugar and sea salt. Pies, with lard inside and out. All from lard he made himself in the kitchen. “It seems funny,” Silver says, “but for thousands of years this was the thing that people cooked with.”

A century ago, lard was in every American pantry and fryer. These days, lard is an insult. How did this delicious, all-natural fat from a pig become an insult? Who killed lard? Lard didn't just fall out of favor. It was pushed. It was a casualty of a battle between giant business and corporate interests.”

Now that lard has been officially exonerated, be proud! Render that good pork fat from your cooler with a knowing smile on your face.

Good Lard!

Pastured pork fat is the mother’s milk of the fats - literally. No known fat on the face of the earth is so similar to mothers’ milk as is pork fat. The only real difference is that the saturated fats in pastured pork is lower than the human version, arguably making pork fat superior to mothers’ milk, at least for us older folks. So use it when it comes as lagniappe in your cooler.

How do you make it and how do you use it?

Make it by taking the chunks of fat we send (some will be ground, some not) and put it in a slow cooker on the higher heat setting in the morning. By the afternoon, you will have a warm liquid. Strain out the remaining solids, pour the lard into glass, lidded jars, and stick it in your freezer for later thawing and frying, sauteeing, adding to beans, whatever you use oil or other fats for.

Or get out on the edge of cooking and use it as a confit. Instead of jarring it up from the slow cooker, skim the solids off, drop in a chunk of beef, pork, chicken or duck and allow the process to continue until the meat is cooked in the confit.  You can store it in the fridge for a long time - and should - completely surround the lard. When you are ready to re-heat and eat, pull the meat out, warm it and use some of the lard to fry potatoes in. Just add a few greens and a fruit and you have a complete meal.