Oh, Lard.

A five-pound container of rendered pig fat is intimidating, let’s be honest.

Ours is not a generation raised to look kindly upon animal fat of any kind. No, we were taught to prefer fats of the vegetable persuasion, hydrogenated with a dash of yellow 5 if you have any.

Now that we’re older and wiser, we cook with olive or coconut oil. We are so enlightened as to even have accepted some animal fats back into the pantry, namely butter and bacon grease. But some lobbyist somewhere decades ago did a very good job, and to this day lard has a tarnished reputation.

As happy meat enthusiasts, it’s a great thing to be able to use as much of an animal that gives its life for our sustenance as we can. Using the fat from a pig is one way to create less waste, to eat or use as much of the animal as we can, and in turn support the system of small farms giving animals healthy, natural lives.

What’s even greater is that lard is not the disgusting artery-clogging death material that we’ve been led to believe it is. It has less saturated fat and more monounsaturated fat than butter. It has one-third the cholesterol of butter. It even stands up nicely to coconut and olive oil. Check out this comparison from Tendergrass Farms:

Comparison of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats in olive oil, lard, butter and coconut oil. https://tendergrass.com/lard-vs-coconut-oil/

Comparison of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats in olive oil, lard, butter and coconut oil. https://tendergrass.com/lard-vs-coconut-oil/

It also apparently does a better job than any other cooking fat out there. Crispier fried chicken and roasted vegetables. Flakier pie crusts. Superior biscuits. Over the next several weeks I will be exploring the validity of these claims and reporting back here. Fried chicken? Pie crust? Biscuits? Life is good.