Ok, I finally made my first jar of lard last night from a sheep we butcher. I melted the fat from the ribs because I heard that was "better." I know nothing about good lard recipes though my father in law told me yesterday that his mother made laundry soap with it yrs ago. He can't remember how she did it though. I am ashamed that I have butchered many animals and never gleaned the fat off them. However, it is never to late to start.
So my questions are many. 1. Is anyone willing to share how they use lard and their recipes?
2. Is venison lard used in the same way as other lards?
3. Is there a difference between the finished lards of beef, sheep, pig, and venison?
4. I have a two more bags of fat to render, but they are not from the ribs. Is is still worth my time to boil them down?
5. Do you use lard from certain parts for certain things?
I probably have a million more questions. lol I can teach you how to weave, spin, sew, and many other things but this is a new area for me.
Thanks for helping me grow my knowledge. I am also open to good books on it too if anyone knows of any.
Hope I posted this in the right place.
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I would call fat from sheep tallow rather than lard. I save the word "lard" for pig fat. Tallow is more saturated than lard, which means it is firmer or harder. Lard is partially unsaturated, which makes it softer. Both are good for cooking, although of course the flavor varies. Soap is a great use for fat that doesn't taste good.
The finest fat for baking, in my opinion, is "leaf lard" from around the kidneys of a pig. This can make a bright white fat without much porky flavor. The best fat for cooking, again of course in my opinion, is regular lard from a pig, like from rendered back fat. I tend to render lard in my oven. I will run the fat through the meat grinder, removing meat bits, and then spread it out in a wide pan. I cook it at a low temp and collect the fat multiple times. The first few pours are the whitest, and towards the end the fat has more brown color and more pork flavor. For many uses, that's just fine! The crunchy brown bits left at the end are cracklings, and great to salt and sprinkle on something, like a casserole or corn bread.
Beef tallow is also great for cooking, especially for cooking onions. French onion soup, anyone? (That's traditional - onions cooked in beef fat and then in beef broth.) More saturated fat is less likely to go rancid. Beef tallow is famous for making the best french fries, and there are stories of restaurants who never throw away their oil, just strain out the bits and keep re-using it. That's not going to work with canola oil!
I haven't had enough experience with sheep fat to comment.
Sheep tallow/fat makes the best tasting popcorn. Add a generous amount of salt and the flavor really comes out. My mother used to have neighbors stop by to pick some fat up solely for this purpose. Enjoy
Also great for making biscuits because of its harder consistency.
"may your experience be fruit for all those who follow"
You can put lard up in canning jars and it keeps well if stored in a cool dark place. I just opened a jar a few weeks ago that I canned about 5 or 6 years ago and it is still good. I like to use it in refried beans and for the dough for tamales. if you have nice thick slabs of back fat from hogs you can dry cure it with herbs and make an Italian favorite called Lardo. you slice it very thinly and put it on bread. Amazing.
I did some beef fat and used it as I would cooking oil, knowing it was flavored. The only problem I found was while pregnant I had issues with it making my tummy upset, like a soft cheese might. I had the same problem then with unrefrigerated butter, so perhaps I'm just sensitive. It took me about 6 months to finish one large jar because it had such a high temperature burn point. I kept it in the fridge for convenience. I had a friend in college though who kept used cooking oil in an old jar by the stove and just strained and reused it continuously. He learned it from his parents. I have a clean up crew here that never seem to leave a greased pan unlicked, and yes- they are 2-legged, so no oil really could be reused.
We butcher 2 sheep a year. I have never rendered the fat, but the popcorn idea may move me toward tryng it. Thanks for the tip.
The melting temp of sheep is so much higher than pig. If you eat a pork chop and eat a lambchop, you will likely notice the difference. With lamb, i end up with a thin coating of fat on the roof of my mouth. Having been raised in a pork/chicken/beef lifestyle, it was a shock initially to make the change. Setting hot meat on a cutting board shows it also. With lamb , the fat resolidifies very fast. You can dump bacon fat into a bowl and it stays semi melted for hours. I think it has to go in the fridge to solidify . At least in my climate.
Does rendering into lard change the melting temperature?
I hope you try it and report back the results from a cooking/eating standpoint.
Sometimes the answer is nothing
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