Has this lard gone bad, or is it just different?
November 24, 2004 11:05 PM   Subscribe

Lard: is it different in different places? In the store yesterday, I was looking for lard, which I have always understood to be odourless, flavourless (basically) rendered animal fat, essential for good pie crust. But when I got home with the box labelled "lard", I found it had a strong odour (and taste) of chicken fat. It didn't taste rancid, just totally different (and not what I was looking for). I'm from Toronto, but now live in Connecticut and shop at a store that caters to Hispanic cooking. Is it possible that lard is just something different here?
posted by jb to Food & Drink (9 answers total)
The stuff you get in plastic containers in your normal grocery stores in the states is pretty nasty stuff. Good lard (I forget what it is called, leaf? flake? something like that, I'm sorry I'm on a really painful dialup right now and can't go a-googling) is a totally different beast then the mass produced chemically separated stuff you probably got.
posted by aspo at 11:20 PM on November 24, 2004

Response by poster: Tenderflake is what I would buy in Toronto. This looked similar (cardboard box, wrapped in wax paper, white fat), but smelled and tasted completely different. It was labelled "Snow white lard" in English; also labelled prominantly in Spanish.
posted by jb at 11:26 PM on November 24, 2004

Aspo is absolutely correct. According to the current news stand issue of Cook's Illustrated it's leaf lard. Typical supermarket lard is rendered from miscellaneous parts of the pig. Leaf lard, or kidney lard, is rendered from the fat that lines the abdominal cavity. CI also noted the sour smell of standard supermarket lard while leaf lard "smelled sweat and pleasant". They tested leaf lard in a pie crust and judged it to be excellent. They mention a source in Pennsylvania, Dietrich's, but I imagine it's available almost anywhere if you look hard enough.
posted by stuart_s at 1:37 AM on November 25, 2004

I've had good pie crust without lard.
posted by pissfactory at 2:53 AM on November 25, 2004

Nothing beats lard crust, it may be good, but it's just not perfect!

Googling found this source fairly close to you: Flying Pigs Farm

Lard is at the bottom of the order page.
posted by kamylyon at 4:41 AM on November 25, 2004

Mmmmmm.....lard. When my wife makes tamales from one of the Rick Bayless books she goes whole hog (sorry) and even makes her own lard. Tamales at our house is an all day affair, but definitely worth it.

I was under the impression that were different types of lard based on cultural differences and how it's made .
posted by HifiToaster at 5:32 AM on November 25, 2004

Response by poster: But it can't just be low quality lard - because it smelled like chicken, not pork. It's made from something different.
posted by jb at 9:30 AM on November 25, 2004

Leaf lard is peri-renal fat, excluding (I think)the adrenal glands. Just ask the dude in the white apron to score you some.

The pig from which your lard was rendered may have been fed on chicken parts or guano. Apparently chickens don't make 100% nutritive use of their feed, so once they're done with it, it's sterilized and made into a meal for other animals.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:16 AM on November 25, 2004

Second try:
    Canadian Living's Perfect Processor Pastry
  • 3c flour
  • 1t salt
  • 1/2c cubed cold butter
  • 1/2c cubed cold lard
  • 1 egg
  • 2t white vinegar
  • ice-cold water

    With cutting blade, combine flour+salt. Pulse-cut batter+lard into mix until resembling fine crumbs with a few larger pieces. In measuring cup, beat egg foamy, add vinegar, top up to 2/3c with ice water.

    [My technique] With motor running, add just enough mixture to clump the dough together. The less liquid, the more flakey. The trick is to get it just right; too little and it doesn't hold together; too much and it's not flakey. Add quickly, evenly, and conservatively, but don't take too long.

    Divide into three, wrap, refrigerate 30m, the roll it out. Makes three 9" single shells.

    It's quick, easy, and makes superb pastry.

  • posted by five fresh fish at 12:53 PM on November 25, 2004

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