Do you bake or cook with lard?

pattypeterson2208December 4, 2012

Is there anything that you still have to use lard to make. I come from the old school that we raised are own livestock to eat and sell. We knew want they ate and how they were raised. I always helped Mom render the lard when we butchered a hog and thankfully the head alway went to my grand parents. There are several butcher shops near me as many farmers still raise their own. So is there anything you still rather use lard for instead of shorting or oil? Someone gave me 2 lbs. of lard. I need to make a trip over to the locker plant and buy a few things that are hard to find in the store. I am hungary for Ox tail Caribbean style with spinners. Thanks for your input Patty.

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Patty, yes I still use a bit of lard. I use it for Mexican cuisine. IMO, it makes a taste difference that I can't duplicate with another type fat. I also use 1/2 lard and 1/2 butter for my pastry crusts for holiday pies.

Enjoy your bounty!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Although I don't make a habit of it, lard makes the best pie crusts.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 3:48PM
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I rather use lard for most things. I save any kind of animal fat leftover in my slow cooker. It makes better fried foods and I will saut� onions in fat mixed with butter for soup or a lot of dishes. It also makes good crust for pot pies and good biscuits.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 3:49PM
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As already said, leaf lard makes great pie crust. Nothing else gives that melt in the mouth texture. I also have a cookie recipe that uses lard, for the same reason.

I keep all rendered pork fat handy for stir frying. It adds wonderful flavor.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 3:52PM
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I would use lard for pie crusts if I still made them from scratch but I usually use a pre made Pillsbury crust...I do use it to make my special recipe bird suet though!!!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 3:55PM
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You really need to use lard when making tamales in order to get the right flavor and texture. They are a bit labor intensive, however, and so I do not make them often, especially since I can go to a tamale shop to buy them. DB won't eat lard, and so it's really not worthwhile for me to make them just for myself. I would use lard in pie crusts if DB would eat them. I get lard for free from a Cuban carniceria that considers it a waste product. They give it to me in a styrofoam cup when I buy the fresh masa and pork for making the tamales.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 4:38PM
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beachlily z9a

I value my cholesterol rating over the taste of food. No lard in this kitchen. Ever.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 5:02PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

From what I have read, only fresh lard is preferred, so I don't go out of my way for the 6 pies I make each year.
Beachlily, it's all about moderation!
And, there are plenty of people, including many scientists/doctors, who support lard and not carbs.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 5:33PM
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Here's an 'if by whiskey' speech:

If by lard you mean the hydrogenated stuff on the supermarket shelf, no, I don't use lard.

If by lard you mean some unctuous wonderful stuff from well raised pigs and carefully rendered, then yes I do use lard.

A friend of mine raised some pigs as naturally as possible; when he slaughtered them he rendered a bunch of lard and gave me a quart mason jar full of it. It's great. I don't use a lot of it, but man it sure is good.

I have another friend who's raising a few pigs right now--one of the pigs is for me--and I'm looking forward to some good stuff from that.

By the way, an 'if by whiskey' speech is an example of political equivocating. The 1952 speech by a Mississippi legislator is the epitome of weaselly rhetoric.

Here is a link that might be useful: if by whiskey

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 6:49PM
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I posted pics here 2 weeks ago of my lard rendering. I got 11# of pork fat from my DS's butcher and brought it home . We got 10 pints of beautiful lard. we have been using it to make Italian cookies. They require lard in order to be authentic. It is called strutto and gives the proper texture and flavor. I grew up on a farm in OH and my grandfather raised hogs. Everyone used lard for all their baking and frying. People knew how to cook and work and ate well and healthily. The "fake" stuff that many pass off as food is much more harmful than real honest ingredients.

Lucky you Patty! Have fun making cookies, and pie crust and fry some chicken !! ! c

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:06PM
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Absolutely, I use it if I can get it fresh, but I don't bother to buy most of the boxed stuff I see at the grocery store, like Armour. I get fresher lard at the local Hispanic grocery stores if I want it and I figure it's got to be better for me than Crisco or whatever that stuff is that they put in the commercially prepared pie crusts. I pretty much only use it for pie crust, although I do plead guilty to brushing my cast iron pan with bacon grease before I cook eggs...

My nephew is raising pigs next year and I'll definitely get fat and render some of my own, trailrunner reminded me how easy that actually is to do. Mother has already claimed a jar, LOL.

Enjoy your lard, Patty!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:20PM
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I only use lard in pie pastry. Lately I've been using it in biscuits as well. I also have a couple of sweets recipes that I intend to make for Christmas, as long as I don't have to eat ALL of them myself (I couldn't help it, they were just sitting there on the counter....) I use supermarket lard, but it is pure and non-hydrogenated (Tenderflake brand).

Here is a recipe I got from my aunt years ago:

Welsh Current Cakes

* 3/4 c lard
* 3 cups of flour
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 2 teaspoons of nutmeg
* 1 cup of currents
* 2/3 cup milk
* 2 eggs

1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Using a pastry blender cut the lard to the dry ingredients. The dough should be a bit crumbly after the lard is fully incorporated.

3. Lightly beat together eggs and milk, then add to the dough, a bit at a time because depending on the lard, the flour, the temperature, and humidity of the room, you may need more or less. Finally, add the currents and gave the bowl a big stir. The dough should be quite stiff. Cover ad chill for 1-2 hours.

4. Divide the dough up into two smaller balls, sprinkled a generous portion of flour on the counter top and drop one of the balls on the surface.

5. Roll out the dough to about a quarter of an inch thick - it really should be thicker rather than too thin. Using a water glass or biscuit cutter with a good cookie circumference, cut out simple circles and place them onto greased cookie sheets and bake in a 400F oven for about 10-12 minutes. OR, cook them on an ungreased griddle until raised, and nicely browned on both sides. (I've always griddled them.)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:01PM
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Fori is not pleased

No, but I gotta agree--if you're going through the effort of tamales, you don't mess around with faux lard!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:05PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Lard has less saturated fat and more monounsaturated fat than butter.

Now you could even argue that lard is good for you. As Jennifer McLagan points out in her celebrated book Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes, lard's fat is also mostly monounsaturated, which is healthier than saturated fat. And even the saturated fat in lard has a neutral effect on blood cholesterol. Not to mention that lard has a higher smoking point than other fats, allowing foods like chicken to absorb less grease when fried in it. And, of course, fat in general has its upsides. The body converts it to fuel, and it helps absorb nutrients, particularly calcium and vitamins.
...Regina Schrambling, author of LARD

And certainly it is better for you than transfats. So if it's cholesterol you're worried about, think again about ruling lard out....

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 8:38AM
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Well put AnnieDeighnaugh. I often wonder what people substitute when they absolutely prohibit some little thing for purported health reasons. Often, the substitutes can be worse. And for that matter, I doubt you'll find one doctor who says that, for instance, one piece of pie made with lard rather than a substitute will make any difference in one's cholesterol.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 3:21PM
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Just rendered about 8 jars a few weeks ago. I don't bake, but use it for frying taters, eggs, chicken, some things just *have* to be fried in lard (or bacon grease).

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 3:40PM
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My Mom always used lard for her pie crusts. Wouldn't use anything else. She said it made THE best pie crusts. Also she use to fry chicken, fish, fritters and donuts in it. I have never used it myself but her fried food, and especially her pies, were the best.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 4:55PM
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I use it for home made flour tortillas.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 8:23PM
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Angelaid, now that you mention it, Grandma always used lard for fried potatoes, and I think the "animal fat" that McDonald's used to use made better French fries (which are not exactly a diet food anyway).

My Mother told me how they used to take lard and sugar sandwiches to school, on Grandma's homemade bread. Grandpa died when Mother was 11 or 12 and Grandma was left with three children to care for. Grandma had no education and never even learned to drive a car, she supported herself and her children doing laundry and cooking for other families. Mother said the kids at school would argue over who "got to" trade their bologna or ham sandwiches for her lard and sugar, all the other kids loved it.

Mother is now 77 years old, still weighs about 90 pounds and has laid claim to a jar of that lard so she can make a sandwich. At 77 I'm not going to tell her any different!


    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 10:26PM
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Definitely for piecrust and I use it and Bacon grease together to fry chicken. I don't go overboard in using lard, but think hard physical labor has a lot to do with the body making cholesterol.All my relatives lived to be in their 90's and 100's, and they all worked hard on the farm.It was a fascinating place to me as a child. They had a smokehouse, icehouse,Milk house, that had a cold stream of water running thru it to keep the milk cold. Also a cistern. In the cellar of the house, I could find a large crock of the most delicious dill pickles, and one of sauerkraut, plus all the homecanned food.sorry I got carried away here.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 1:38PM
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The reason lard works so well for pastry is the size of the fat crystal in lard is larger than in shortening or butter, so besides the flavor, there is some science to it. And definitely find fresh lard, not the boxed hydrogenated stuff at the grocery store.

Cholesterol is essential for all animal life, and people tend to forget that now that the medical world has made billions of dollars off of it. In a test using lard, olive oil, corn oil and safflower oil, the life span of test animals fed diets containing these different fats had the highest survival rate with lard, and the shortest survival rate with safflower. Go figure.... From what I've studied on the subject, hydrogenated fats is where the problem is.

I can get frozen fresh lard this time of the year at a local meat packing plant and I use it for a couple old family recipes for the holidays that aren't the same without it. If there is any lard left, I'll have good old fried chicken in a cast iron skillet. I think you had to be raised on lard to appreciate the flavor.

A friend of ours has been a sales rep. for a paper goods distributor for 48-years. He was telling us the cardboard boxes for lard were his #1 seller for years, and now they don't even carry them. Times they are a changing....


    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:01AM
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If you have a farmers market that has a vendor selling pasture raised hogs, ask him/her if they sell lard or fatback, leaf lard, or belly fat. I was unsure about rendering my own lard but it was really quite easy and so tasty. It keeps forever in the refrigerator. I use it in my pie crusts (commercial refrigerated pie dough says "new better taste" or something like that and the ingredients include lard as the fat).

My mom said that during the depression they spread a little lard on bread instead of butter. I tried it and it was superb, the mouth feel is very satisfying. It only takes a little teeny layer. I don't like (home grown) green beans but for dinner I use a half teaspoon of it for great flavor. Any oven roasted vegetables get a little bit on them instead of olive oil. I heat it to liquid state for easier application.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 7:30AM
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I always use it for my Aunt's hamburger bun recipe. They don't come out tasting right if anything else is used. I made pie crust for the first time in years and used half butter and half lard. I get it from a local market.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 11:51AM
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When we make corn muffins,we preheat the cast iron muffin pan in a 500 degree oven, then drop a match head sized piece of lard in each cup, then fill with the cornbread batter. Nothing else produces the perfect muffin crust texture and taste.....

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 12:23PM
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Definitely makes the best roast potatoes (shoogle them after par-boiling to scarify the surface), and Yorkshire pud!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 1:44PM
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Grainlady: I'm with you on the health aspect. 90% of the cholesterol circulating in your blood stream is made by your liver. Has almost NOTHING to do with what you eat. The cholesterol-is-bad-for-you meme is a fairy tale based on junk science. It doesn't take but a little bit of investigation and using one's own common sense to figure that out. And Grainlady is correct: E.V.E.R.Y. cell in your body uses cholesterol in it's cell wall. All your hormones have cholesterol as a main component, the lining of your nerves is made with cholesterol. It's a travesty how such an essential and wonderful creation as been demonized just so big pharma can continue it's hideous profit driven 'march to the sea'.

Crisco and the like is basically plastic, people. Not food.

Polyunsaturated oils go rancid as you digest them... causing free radical damage to your cells.

Lard is excellent to be used in anything, both for the taste and for your long as what you buy is not hydrogenated. Make your own as noted above...even better!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 3:34AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I have this wisp of memory, hardly even that is was so long ago, of the most perfect corn stick ever made. I can't even describe it but it was the best ever. I bought a cast iron corn stick pan and tried indifferently over the years to recreate that corn stick but I never did so I gave up.
Seeing your post srjohn, makes me think now that it was lard. I never did use that. I need to go dig up that pan now.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 9:27AM
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