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Lucious Lard

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
In order to eat healthier, more flavorful meals, I have decided to embrace lard as another fat of choice. Some time ago I went back to using butter, and while not using it all the time for every dish (I still like Earth Balance margarine in my breakfast porridge and on toast) it's ajoy to use with scrambled and otherwise cooked eggs and in sauces, and I now use real cream in my coffee instead of lesser liquids like half-and-halk and, ugh, low fat milk. In fact, I took my coffee black because the lesser liquids added nothing to the drink and actually detracted from it. So, when I want something other than black java, a little bit of real good cream adds another dimension to the coffee.

Today the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story about lard and pigs. Loving Lard
"Few food terms have become as loaded as lard, weighed
down by the connotation of excess and enlisted as a prefix
in the harshest obesity put-downs. But after a century of
slander, the four-letter pork product is undergoing a
reputation renaissance."
Lard, and old fashioned pork, is making its way back into the mainstream, and I for one am happy to embrace the idea. More and more butchers here in the S.F.Bay Area are carrying old-fashioned pork products, including quality lard, and some restaurants are even offering lard in addition to butter on their tables.

For me, the more we move back in time to food that hasn't been messed with, the more we eat FOOD instead of meals comprised of, and thought of in terms of, nutritional elements, the healthier and happier we'll be. I'll certainly be happier :smiles:
post #2 of 12
I render my own lard when I buy a pig. Stash it in the freezer and it will keep for a year or more. And I never waste bacon fat, it goes in the fridge for frying, popcorn, biscuits, etc.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
There is a technique in the article that describes a method for rendering lard. I may give it a try some time. Of course, butchering a pig here in Berkeley may be a little more difficult - I certainly don't have the skills for it.
post #4 of 12
I have butchered pigs, not fun. Now I let the pro's do it :lol: easier on my shoulders too when all I have to do is stick it in the freezer and render the lard(they coarse grind all the fat). Add a little water to the bottom of a big pot, add the ground fat, put on low heat and stir every so often. I do it outside on my big propane burner to keep the mess out of the house.
post #5 of 12
Dare I say it but I use lard for roux when making gumbo. I also have to have it in tamales. No frigging gourmet tamales for me.
post #6 of 12
Nice. I've been a proponent of lard and butter over hydrogenated, trans-fat manufactured food-like products for a while. I will admit, however, that there is a tub of, uh, Smart Balance margerine in my fridge, it may be Nature's Balance, I'm too lazy to run to the kitchen and check. Based on minimal research, it seems to be one of the healthier "manufactured" fats on the market.

Food that hasn't been 'messed with' - that's the ticket!

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
It's probably Smart Balance which is similar to the Earth Balance that is in my fridge. At one point their web sites linked, but no longer, and Earth Balance has new packaging. In the past even the packaging was the same except for the brand identification. Perhaps the companies split off from one another <shrug>

Both Smart Balance and Earth Balance are non-hydrogenated, trans-fat free, and neither glows in the dark or whistles Dixie. Even my cat likes the stuff :lol:

Earth Balance Natural Spreads
post #8 of 12
I always have lard in the fridge - it's an essential part of making Scottish oatcakes (the savoury type) and a couple of other things I make regularly.
post #9 of 12
Re lard - its been used for generations. Think of our grandparents (or great grandparents depending on your age). Health wise - how long did they live? Probably longer than a lot of us may hope to live, by using basic materials for eating that were available. I love the stuff - just gotta use it in moderation, kilojoule(calorie) wise. There's some recipes that just can't do without it.

Or even the simple enjoyment of dark rye break spread with lard and sprinkled with salt.

I sometimes think that the more we stress about what we are eating the more it affects our health in a bad way rather than eating what we like (ok there are limits). Look at the French. Duck fat, comfit, wine - and a lot of them just enjoy the food and live longer on average.

If you gain pleasure from the food you are eating - that is half the battle. It gives pleasure. It's like having a really good lap sitting cat you can stroke for hours, it does you good.

Comfort cat/ comfort food - is good :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #10 of 12
I buy whole and half hogs on a regular basis.....preferably 300+ pounds live weight. It comes directly from the pig farmer.....mainly blends of tammworth, berkshire, duroq......freshly killed in a USDA inspected site. Comes with the head in a bag, liver/heart in a bag, two halves cut down the back bone.
It takes me (alone) about 45 minutes to cut down a half, 1.5 hours a whole.
The pig is already scalded ready to use.


Pretty easy to do, it's very very important to have a bone saw....costs $40 retail. I've got a boning knife and a inexpensive saber type knife.....neither as important as the bone saw.

Normally cut down is: feet 1/2 way up the shanks, ham, shoulder, belly then cutting out the loin from the ribcage. Leaf lard comes off fairly easy and can be rendered on low heat for white non-pig tasting lard......this is pie lard.

I cook the shoulder and ham with skin/fat on......long and med/low heat.

Heirloom Pork currently is running 75 cents a pound, $30 kill/scald fee/$7 gas fee.....last one was about $189. Obviously the bigger the pig the less it costs because the kill fee/gas is the same. One of my buddies gets his piece mealed and pays $1.35 #

One of the big secrets is to be ready to break it down when it's delivered.
Oh yeah, kidneys come attached to the inner ribcage with a slit in them.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #11 of 12
I don't buy a lot of pigs - even though my Missouri farmer forbears did their own raising, slaughtering, and curing - because it's not very convenient in the condo.

I've started looking for some lard, but can only find hydrogenated in any of the stores around here.

What's a likely source, aside from rendering my own pig? :o

Mike
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #12 of 12
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