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Lard and Suet

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I've been mostly using butter for cooking in these last couple of months, because it doesn't seem like there's much in the way of drippings to cook in. Of course, if you do have drippings, it's cheaper to cook in them because they're free. The sausage drippings, for example, are good for cooking just about anything in.

One thing that I have access to that you may not is fresh lard. Not the hydrogenized kind that you get in the grocery store. Stay away from that! But fresh from the farmer's market and from pastured, mostly organic pigs. The last time I noticed it was $2 per pound, which is about what butter costs. The lard is much better for you. I had forgotten about the lard, both for this blog and for my own cooking. I'll have to look for some at the FM this weekend.

Suet is similar to lard, except it's beef instead of pork. Lard is rendered pork fat. Suet is rendered beef fat. The big difference is that I can buy lard but not suet. I can, however, get tallow (chunks of beef fat), and render it myself. It's not hard and there's little hands on time or effort. Suet doesn't have as much flavor as lard, but there is a local farmer who is willing to give it to me for free so I take it. His beef is not certified organic, but it's 100% grass fed on land that he has farmed for years with no pesticides, herbicides, etc., and he doesn't give his cattle antibiotics or hormones, so it's mighty durn close. He just hasn't gone to the expense of getting certified.

Anyway, my point is that if you have a chance to get fresh lard or suet or tallow from good, healthy sources, you might want to consider it. It works for frying or cooking just about anything, and I've even used lard in MIMs. Butter is better as a spread, though.
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