Sunday, November 7, 2010
One of the benefits to butchering your own animals is you get all the hard to find secondary bye products from the animals. One such product is the fat from the pig or the lard(which is rendered pork fat). Rendering is the slow heating of pork fat and allowing that fat to go into a liquid state, separating itself from any muscle tissue and skin.
Porky pig is not made up of a single type of fat. Oh no! In fact, those little rascals have several very different types of fat. First and foremost is the leaf lard fat. This is the most sought after of all the pork fats. Leaf lard is found on the inside of the body cavity, surrounding the pigs kidney's. Leaf lard is a very brittle type of fat, when compared to the more common back fat, which is a solid smoother type of fat. Leaf lard is used in every kind of baking and it is the single most important ingredient to achieving perfect pie crust. Then there is the caul fat, also found on the inside of the hog, surrounding the intestins. This fat looks like the fine lace on a wedding dress and is almost transparent. Caul fat is used to wrap very lean cuts of meat, such as venison for added flavor enhancement and moisture improvement.
While butchering my two hogs, I was careful in collecting all the leaf lard and caul fat. I also had two five gallon buckets of back fat. The caul fat is not rendered but the leaf lard and back fat are. To render those two types of fat(which should be rendered separately), I took an out door burner, one which is often used in Cajun boils. I use my burner for Italian tomato sauce making events. The burner was placed outside, away from any type of object. I then put a large pot on the burner and poured a half cup of water in the pot and lit the flame. The water is there to prevent the fat from burning as it renders down. It is best to cut the fat into small pieces before dropping it into the pot. Also, be very careful as you drop cold fat into a pot of rendering fat. The rendered liquid will "climb" up the sides of the pot and make a huge mess not to mention be quite dangerous around an open flame. Once the fat has melted into a liquid, set up another pot with cheese cloth strung over it and carefully pour the rendered pork fat into and through the cheese cloth. Once done, place the new pot into a bucket of iced water, bringing the temperature of the lard down as quickly as possible, which improves the final color of the lard. You now have rendered pork fat. If you are not exhausted by this point, you might as well make some crackling's. Crackling's are slow deep fried pork skin, that has been allowed to cook in rendering pork fat, until it gains a deep brown color. The cooked "skin" is then put in a lard press and squeezed to extract as much of the fat liquid as possible . Many people within the south loveeee thems crackling's and put them in their corn bread!
I love all bakery products with a good douse of leaf lard. Which is why I do what I do. What is the use of killing all these animals, if I can't use everything the animal has to offer. So today I made southern style buttermilk biscuits, using my leaf lard. Take a look at them and you be the judge. Hot out of the oven with a dollop of sour cherry or strawberry jam! Now that is living! Fat rules!!!!! Below I have provided a great book on country cured ham, which has the biscuit recipe in it, along with the recipe itself. Enjoy!
The title of the premier country ham book is,"The Utimate Guide to Country Ham An American Delicacy", by Dr. Norman G. Marriott and Dr. Herbert W. Ockerman.
2.5 cups all purpose flour
quarter teaspoon baking soda
half teaspoon salt
2.5 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 cups leaf lard
1.5 cups buttermilk
1. Mix all dry ingredient's.
2. Scoop lard into dry mixture. Lard should be cold and mixed to the point of looking like small peas.
3. Pour in buttermilk and mix just until sticky
4. Scoop out dough onto a floured surface and cut with biscuit cutter.
5. Place into a oven preheat to 425 and cook until brown 10-12 minutes.