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The skinny on fat



We sell a few different fat products that Americans today aren’t always familiar with. There are also a lot of misunderstandings about these products. So let’s learn about what the terms mean and how to use them in our kitchens.

 

Definitions:

Lard: fat from a pig or boar

Lard back fat: usually harvested from the back and intramuscularly

Leaf lard: fat trimmed from around the organs only

Tallow: fat from ruminants like cows, lamb, deer, bison, etc., usually harvested from around internal organs but not always

Rendering: the process of heating the fat in order to separate it from connective tissue and muscle tissue and to remove all water. This makes the product extremely shelf stable because of the lack of water and oxygen.

 

Fat Facts:

  • Leaf lard is the most expensive because there is less of it per animal. This is traditionally reserved for use in pies and pastries because of its consistency and mild flavor. 

  • Lard is softer and more spreadable at room temperature than tallow.

  • Tallow’s smoke point is about 400 degrees, and lard’s is a bit cooler, at 374 degrees. 

  • Tallow and lard have different nutrient profiles which reflect the different digestive processes in the animals. 

  • As manufacturers began selling products like Crisco and seed oils, their marketing implied that their products were healthier than animal fats. Today, we know better. Animal fats are healthier than trans fats, seed oils and hydrogenated oils, especially when the animals were raised on pasture with plenty of sun and a natural diet.

  • Pork back fat and tallow are both used in all types of cooking and in making skin care products. 

  • Both lard and tallow can be used to fry, sauté, deep fry, season cast iron and lubricate.

  • Lard and tallow are ingredients in making candles, soaps, skincare products, and supplements 

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