Not having much else to do one day in one of my writing classes, I brought up the controversial subject of lard. Always being of an ironic frame of mind, I told the following anecdote.
Me: “I can tell you from family experience how dangerous lard is. My Grandfather had a bucket of lard under his sink, and probably never ate anything that wasn’t cooked in it, and he barely made it into his late nineties before it killed him.”
The students who understood irony laughed at that, and I had a very polite young woman who grew up in Brazil in the class, and she raised her hand to say something. I told her to go ahead, and she said:
Brazilian: “In Brazil, we keep it under the stove.”
Lard. Worldwide for a good reason. Healthier, apparently, than butter, and you can make it yourself without a churn, or a cow.
The key to good lard is to render it yourself, and at a very low temperature. Commercial lard is yet another industrial product to avoid, as it’s bad rap comes from it being cooked at too high a temp. So here’s what you should do.
Slab of Pork Fat (My local butcher sells it by the pound)
That’s it. Cut the fat into small chunks, and throw them into a cast iron skillet on the smallest eye of your stove. Let it render down at the lowest possible setting. This is another gem of slow food methods. When you have a big skillet of liquid lard, and nothing left but some cracklings, you’re done. I store mine in mason jars. It will keep a year in the fridge, three in the freezer.
May the Lard always be with you.