On cooking with lard
January 15, 2011, 5:09 pm
Filed under: Nibbles, Technique

People hear “lard” and go into panic mode. “OMG!!! CHOLESTEROL! FAT! DEATH!” but truth is, a biscuit made with lard instead of vegetable shortening (which is hydrogenated and bad for you is soft, fluffy and amazing. Use buttermilk as well and it’s like…perfection. Fry something in lard (chicken, okra,pickles…whatever you like to fry) and with it’s higher flash point it gets hotter than shortening or oil before smoking, and the food soaks up less of it so you end up with a crisp crust and surprisingly less grease to drain off. Plus it tastes good.

I figure, since I very rarely fry stuff or make biscuits (not out of laziness but because we are all…shall we say…hm…y’know…not in need of extra poundage,in fact we probably have some to share if you’re wanting any), and lard really makes a superior product in every way, why not use it? Yes, it’s really old school cooking…but fried chicken happens MAYBE once every 3 or 4 months,same with biscuits. So if you’re going to do it, might as well do it right.
Now, if you are worried about it, because you’ve never used it, the proportions are exactly the same as if you’re using oil or shortening. It makes a good roux as well. What you’ll wind up with in a quickbread is a slightly softer result. A biscuit won’t quite hold up to cold butter (and yes,I use realbutter not, partially hydrogenated margarine), but if you soften it to room temp, the biscuit will thank you.

One observation I’ve made about frying with it…and my chemist husband who knows pretty much everything hasn’t been able to tell me why this is so…stuff fried in lard seems to stay hot longer. I can cook chicken and 20 minutes after pulling it out of shortening, it’s room temperature, but after cooking it with lard it’s still hot. Can anyone tell me why? Am I just lucky?

Here’s a quick recipe, it’s my 19 yr old son CJ’s method for fried pickles and they are…oh SO good.

1 jar hamburger dill slices, drained but not dried. You want them still wet
Bisquick biscuit mix
a deep fryer
Put the lard in the deep fryer so it’s about 1/2 full and heat to 400 degrees
Toss a handful of the pickle chips in bisquick so they’re well coated and let sit for a few minutes before putting them in the fryer. Fry a handful at a time until they’re crispy and golden brown. You don’t want to cook more than a handful at a time because you don’t want them crowded, and you don’t want to put so many in that they drop the temperature of the oil. That would make them greasy.


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