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cooking adventures: lard

 
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 07:24 pm
I suppose this will gross people out, but I've learned that rendered lard is one of the better (no, not best) fats to cook with, but not the lard that comes boxed in packages in some markets, as those are heavily hydrogenated, in contrast to the rendered lard. It is less saturated than butter.

I have a plan to fool with making tamales again, this time using rendered lard - so I had to make some. It turns out it is easy, if you have a local market or butcher that actually supplies pork fat, fat back, leaf fat (or a phrase like that), chicharones makings, leaf fat being the best for things like pie crust lard, not so porky in redolence.

I tossed the chicharones fat into my crock pot, set it on low, and so far so good; it's about six hours now and almost done.


Is there anyone left reading this who cooks with lard?
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 07:50 pm
My mother and grandmother talked about lard making the best pie crust. Mom used hydrogenated vegetable fat and her crusts were white in color and tasted like baking soda to me although she never put baking soda into them.

I am a pie baker. I have a knack for it but I use butter. I made a lard crust once but we threw it away. The flavor was awful. I have since learned that it is "leaf lard" that is to be used. I think that leaf lard comes from the fat that coats an organ but which one I can not remember.

I recently read that properly used, lard creates a light, crispy fry.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 07:54 pm
@ossobuco,
Quote:
Is there anyone left reading this who cooks with lard?


No, but then I never did, osso.

I'll be interested to hear what others say here about, it though.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 07:54 pm
@ossobuco,
Dyslexia
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 07:57 pm
@plainoldme,
Leaf lard, that's what I meant. I've never seen it in a market or butcher shop, will have to explore, as there may be other words for it. I can't remember when I last used something like crisco, maybe the sixties. I've used butter too, but remember some things work better with lard, re texture (I saw something about that recently, but forget the specifics).
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 07:58 pm
I would never take lard for baking - butter is so much better, you'll taste it
right away. We (Germans) use crackling fat at times, it's especially good on
fresh bread with a bit of salt and a good beer.
http://www.thecookbookchronicles.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/gr.jpg


ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 07:59 pm
@roger,
Right, he used to render his own lard, back in the day.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 08:05 pm
@CalamityJane,
Like cracklin's? which are, if I understand right, the same as chicharones?
My crock pot is getting to the cracklin' part right about now. I gather from small research that people finalize the cracklin' in a fry pan, but I'll avoid that.

I'll peruse my last few week's of saved recipes/reviews to see if I can recall where they say lard is better - I remember it was for flexability.

I gather those who are after pie-lard are very particular about the fat source, as plainoldme suggested. The browner things get with cracklin' type fat, still attached to the skin, the more porky, I take it.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 08:11 pm
@ossobuco,
I suppose cracklin's shouldn't have an apostrophe..
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 08:18 pm
good lard is rendered from what's called hog fatback. lard rendered from the belly, usually salted is best used in cooking such as a pot of beans. This sowbelly is what is usually sold in the market as lard.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 08:24 pm
Last time I checked, you still could buy lard around here. I used it occasionally, until my wife rebelled.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 08:25 pm
@dyslexia,
Yes, fat back, but could you explain? Is that with the skin? with other past-the- skin-barrier globs of fat like I'm using? (I figure I bought miscellaneous hog fat-for-chicharones, dunno). Something particular to the hog's back? (I thought the back meant the skin). I think the pie lard - leaf lard - is more specific. I've seen photos and descriptions but would have to chase a link.

Oops, didn't read that about the belly.


I figure the lard I'm retrieving will be fine for tamales.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 08:26 pm
@edgarblythe,
Yes, but that packaged stuff is all saturated fat. Unless you are buying rendered fat from some special butcher. (Our butcher, Keller's, doesn't do it).
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 08:28 pm
@ossobuco,
You dont gross me out lady. We havent raised any pigs for about 3 years and we still have to get lard fro a local amishman when he does hog butchering every year. LArd is the Greatest fat there is. Its like bacon and its the BEST fat for making stuff like thinly fried potatoes or fried codfish or trout.
We also eat something called "scrapple" which is a mixture of nasty hog bits , cornmeal, spices and held togethre with LARD.

PS my cholesterol is under 170 and we do this kind of cooking in moderation.
QWe also use Lard for waffles and fruit pie crusts(use butter for punkin and cream pies).A waffle made with extra butter and with the iron just lightly brushed with lard , makes the taste of an old fashioned waffle that makes ya happy.

PS OH YEH, I make some of the best sopaipillas (after a recipe I was given from somebody on abuzz in 2000). Sopaipillas fried in a lard lava are so good. They are tender yet crispy on the surface. The perfect accompaniment to really hot Mexican or Szechaun food
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 08:30 pm
@farmerman,
Yes.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 08:34 pm
@farmerman,
You're very convincing, fm.
But ... do you make any distinction re from what parts of hoggy your fat for rendering comes from? Belly? Near skin? leaf lard, I'm trying to remember where that is, but I think POM explained. Is my packaged chicharrone fat from the belly, or likely not?

Pretty soon we'll start to talk about cheeks..
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 08:49 pm
@ossobuco,
we dont have too many choices in lard. The one we get is in a big pan and has a ham like smell. I recall chitterlings and chicharones as the same thing, except the chicharones are saltier (or was it the chitterlings?) . Anyway, one is saltier than the other.

OH yeh, frying eggs in lard gives the eggs a tastier and fluffier white part. And vinegar brined chicken legs , dredged in egg, milk and cracker crumbs and cooked in LARD----- DAYUMM
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 08:53 pm
NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I use a combo of butter and vegetable shortening. Lard is too heavy for me. So there. I would, however, use lard if I made bird food. If I had any birds here, that is.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 09:02 pm
@farmerman,
What I figure is that if the fat has meat or skin attached, its rendering is more porky. Not that I know, or if true, care. Pork belly and lardo (and where is that from) are popular in restaurants now as you probably know.

So, on my effort, I captured x amount of lard before things started sizzling down to cracklings. And stopped. Maybe I will fry those cracklings, and treat that fat separately.

On the word fatback - from my research it seems to mean fat attached to skin. But I'm not sure of that.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 09:37 pm
@ossobuco,
Sure, ignore me. Fine.
 

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