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Where to find pork fat?


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19 replies to this topic

#1 mrsadm

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 03:27 AM

Has anyone received a strange look from their local butcher if you ask for pork fat?

I would like to make my own lard for Mexican dishes. The stuff in the box is hydrogenated.

However, it seems like every time I ask the meat counter guy (at Wegman's) for something, they say no one buys that stuff and we don't carry it. They don't even carry pork shoulder for stews.

Then I read an article somewhere recently where someone wanted to make their own lard and they had to order the fat from Flying Pigs' farm. That sounds a bit expensive to me!

What are your sources?
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#2 Shalmanese

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 04:34 AM

Try ethnic butchers. Wegmans is likely getting the meat pre-cut and cryovaced from the plant wheras ethnic butchers are probably getting whole carcasses and disassembling themselves which means they have lots of funny stuff they'll give away practically free. Alternatively, what I like to do is to buy a nice fatty roast and then trim off all the surface fat and render it myself.
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#3 Mallet

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 06:02 AM

I get mine at the farmer's market. Anyone who raises their own pigs should have a plentiful supply of fat.
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#4 Abra

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 06:50 AM

I can get it from either store in town, including Safeway. They do trim up the meat a little, even though they get it in boxes. I just ask them to save the trimmings until they get 5 pounds and then give me a call. No one has ever charged me for this.

#5 bobmac

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 08:10 AM

A butcher can order it for you or you can go to the wholesaler yourself.
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#6 jsolomon

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 08:29 AM

I've done what Abra has done. Heck, the first time I asked for it, I got 12 pounds, free!

Trimmings are also nice in that you have less fabrication to do before you render it.
I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

#7 rancho_gordo

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 08:45 AM

I ordered a pork belly to make my own bacon. I was given a 10 pound piece so I made braised "fresh" bacon with 5 pounds of it. The extra liquid ent into the fridge over night and no I must have A year's worth of lard that came floating to the top. It's gorgeous and flavorful.

Edited by rancho_gordo, 19 December 2005 - 08:46 AM.

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#8 BarbaraY

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 09:07 AM

The butcher in a Mexican Market might be a good source. I doubt that a "butcher" in a modern supermarket would ever have the right answer unless he had learned his trade in a real meat market.

#9 Ruth

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 11:32 AM

You might be able to find it at a farmers' market. There is a stand in New York city that cells leaf lard (which makes the very best pork fat) at both Union Square in Manhattan and Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. I use it all the time for pastry and biscuits. If you have a Chinese market nearby, and can make yourself understood, that would also be a good source
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#10 mikeycook

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 11:40 AM

It was probably my post that you read about Flying Pigs Farm. I have ordered their leaf lard and rendered it myself, but I would only concern myself with leaf lard if I wanted to make a high-quality pie crust.

In general, when I want lard, I can either pick it up from a butcher or I buy some pieces of pork fatback (not salted), cut it into small cubes and render it myself. I have done this when I needed some to seal jars of duck confit or just wanted a little for cooking.

I would NOT recommend getting a commercially packaged lard as sometimes it is very strong or has off flavors. Large grocery stores sometimes have it but you usually have to ask someone in the back. If not, they should at least be able to get you some fatback (be sure to specify that you do not want salted fatback or salt pork because, even though you can blanch it, it is hard to get all of the salt out.)
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#11 kgaddis

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 11:41 AM

I am looking for a source for thick back fat for lardo. All my sources are telling me that pigs these days aren't fattened enough to creat thick fat for that purpose, even in small organic farms. Any one know where to find good thick fat out on the west coast?

#12 mikeycook

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 11:41 AM

You might be able to find it at a farmers' market. There is a stand in New York city that cells leaf lard (which makes the very best pork fat) at both Union Square in Manhattan and Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. I use it all the time for pastry and biscuits. If you have a Chinese market nearby, and can make yourself understood, that would also be a good source

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Flying Pigs Farm sells at both the Union Square and Grand Army Plaza markets, so that is probably them. As I recall, it's like $3.75 per package of leaf lard and I was able to get over a quart of rendered lard from a package.

Edited by mikeycook, 19 December 2005 - 11:43 AM.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."
~ Fernand Point

#13 kgaddis

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 11:43 AM

Ask your butcher for leaf fat. And your butcher should not be one at a national chain grocer. Go to a free standing shop and you should have no problems.

#14 mikeycook

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 11:52 AM

I am looking for a source for thick back fat for lardo. All my sources are telling me that pigs these days aren't fattened enough to creat thick fat for that purpose, even in small organic farms. Any one know where to find good thick fat out on the west coast?

View Post


I am sorry I can't remember the name, but I know there is someone in San Francisco who is trying to make parma-style raw-cured hams. I would think these pigs would be ideal, assuming they are being raised as "baconers" to ensure they have enough weight and fat. You might look into places that make their own charcuterie and see if you can find their sources.
"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."
~ Fernand Point

#15 mikeycook

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 11:58 AM

If you want to check out the NYC farmer's markets, Flying Pigs Farms says you can call on Thursday nights before 8pm to make sure they are going to be in the city on Friday and Saturday.
"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."
~ Fernand Point

#16 fifi

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 12:08 PM

Down my way, it is getting hard to find good fat. When it gets to be deer hunting season, fat becomes a valuable commodity. (Sausage making.) There is no free fat. Lately, I have had a terrible time finding good hard back and belly fat with no meat trimmings in it. You can make decent tan lard out of that but it is no good for the pure white, non-porky type that is good for pastries (first method here). An ethnic market with a real butcher is the best bet.
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#17 kgaddis

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 03:11 PM

Thanks Mikey, I appreciate the help, however, it is none. I have a giant list of organic pork suppliers here in Seattle, including a couple of Batali's, and am coming up dry. Still looking.

#18 Bill Miller

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 04:03 PM

Down my way, it is getting hard to find good fat. When it gets to be deer hunting season, fat becomes a valuable commodity. (Sausage making.) There is no free fat. Lately, I have had a terrible time finding good hard back and belly fat with no meat trimmings in it. You can make decent tan lard out of that but it is no good for the pure white, non-porky type that is good for pastries (first method here). An ethnic market with a real butcher is the best bet.

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We haven't found good salt pork (my South Carolina wife calls it fat back) in years. I believe it went away when the fat pigs and lard did. Jowls are not a good substitute.
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#19 Margaran

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 11:47 AM

Hi,

Here is a southern source of leaf and other fats for lard from Mangalitsa pigs. http://www.pasturepr...u.com/visit.php Really nice folks. Farm is beautiful and no "pig farm" stench- al is clean and dry. You can also get chicken feet.

Maggie

#20 patrickamory

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:31 PM

For Mexican dishes you don't want want beautifully rendered white leaf lard.

You want the brown stuff with the cracklings and bits in it.

Go to any Mexican grocer and ask for manteca. If they don't have it, go to the next one. You'll find it eventually.