Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Barding/larding does it make a difference?


Recommended Posts

We know that tenderness and juiciness is a function of time and temp in cooking a meat. Get too hot and muscle fibers contract, toughen and lose moisture.

 

So why would throwing caul fat or bacon atop a piece of meat change anything?  Surely the melting fat goes into the pan and not the dense meat.  Is the fat really acting as a cooling blanket to lower meat temp?  And how effective can that really be?  Its not a wet bulb thing because the fat is fatty, not watery.

 

I cannot find anything saying that larding has been shown to matter in a head to head test.

 

Is this more nonsense like  "bone-in adds flavor"  or "searing locks in the juices"?

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Somewhere in one of my hunting blogs @andiesenjitalked a lot about larding venison and I've always meant to delve more into that.  I'm still trying to find where she posted but in the mean time I ran across this topic where she also posted.  

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no proof either way but I suppose it's possible that covering a piece of meat with a layer of fat can interfere with evaporation to the extent that it might prevent moisture loss to some degree.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like rigorous experimentation is in order. Who's up for it?

  • Like 2

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Shelby said:

I truly have always wanted to try it...and I have venison.  I just need to buy a larding needle and figure out where to get lard around here.

 

And perhaps a tough cut could be 1/2 covered with bacon and roasted?

 

Perhaps both halves weighed before and after?

Edited by gfweb (log)
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Shelby said:

I truly have always wanted to try it...and I have venison.  I just need to buy a larding needle and figure out where to get lard around here.

 

Can't help you with regard to the lard, but here are a couple of larding needles that seem similar to what @andiesenji linked to earlier.  I hope she chimes in here with up-to-date recommendations.

 

This larding needle (eG-friendly Amazon.com link) from Metaltex is 20 cm long.

 

This larding needle (eG-friendly Amazon.com link) from Siltox is vague about precise dimensions but costs a few dollars less.

 

Both appear to have plungers - I think - that she talked about. I'm not sure how the others are supposed to work!

  • Thanks 1

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/23/2021 at 5:56 AM, gfweb said:

We know that tenderness and juiciness is a function of time and temp in cooking a meat. Get too hot and muscle fibers contract, toughen and lose moisture.

 

So why would throwing caul fat or bacon atop a piece of meat change anything?  Surely the melting fat goes into the pan and not the dense meat...

Whoa. Stop right there.

Yes, some rendered fat drips down to the pan but a lot of it goes into the fibrous meat. It helps to tenderize the meat.

In the case of venison, it isn't well marbled like a beef roast, so by larding it or using caul fat, you are adding extra moisture to help make it tender as it roasts.

When you roast meat, you always roast it with the fat cap on top to gain the benefit of this natural tenderization.

My asshat older brother (whom I've mentioned in previous posts in other discussions) decided to smoke a brisket for me one Christmas. It was his first time doing so and he removed absolutely every last piece of fat off the top of the brisket ("because fat's bad for you") before smoking it. You could have used slices from that smoked brisket to repair every sole on every pair of shoes you own, it was so tough and dry.

He learned his lesson that day (too late to save that brisket) and I also learned the valuable lesson of why we keep that layer of fat on our roasting meats.

 

  • Like 3

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to post
Share on other sites

I always figured that the layer of fat or caulfat acted as insulation to keep moisture from evaporating out of the surface of the meat. I'm thinking about the diagram in Modernist Cuisine talking about dry heat cooking of meats. I don't have it in front of me, but from memory, there was a desiccation zone (that's what would get browned) on the surface of the meat. Using a layer of fat inhibits the production of the desiccation zone I'd assume more through insulation and the creation of a moisture barrier, keeping the meat underneath cooler than it would have been without it.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in no position to prove/debunk the value of barding one way or another. I can attest that larding at the very least creates the perception of juiciness in lean meats, as long as it reaches a high enough temperature to melt, because of the liquefied fat.

 

Many flavor molecules are more soluble in fat than in water, so I expect there's an impact on seasoning as well. As many of us here have said over the years, fat equals flavor.

  • Like 3

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

methinks the whole situation is a whole lot simpler than the issues presented.

 

cook any protein to a too high finish temperature and you get tough/dry/stringy/chewy/inedible/(whatever)

this is true for beef, chicken, fish, pork, eggs, etc etc etc.

 

sous vide a usda prime steak to 190'F and it won't be all to juicy, tender, tasty or edible.....

not the method, it's the temp.....

 

larding is similar to basting - keep the meat moist by flooding it with liquid fat.....

 

for 'not basting today'....

the trick is to use a temperature that melts the larding but doesn't kill the meat.

poultry - larding aside, I slow roast poultry at 145'F because it takes about 135'F to render out chicken fat....

for beef - I use 155'F because it takes about 145-150'F to render out the beef fat.

 

for those who get home at 6:30 and pop a roast in the oven at 475'F so it's ready to eat sometime 'today' . . . .

nothing applies.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/23/2021 at 2:13 PM, Shelby said:

I truly have always wanted to try it...and I have venison.  I just need to buy a larding needle and figure out where to get lard around here.

 

Only place I've found lard in a container is Walmart (gasp...). 

 

But it's wonderful stuff.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, chromedome said:

I'm in no position to prove/debunk the value of barding one way or another.

Me neither but it bothers me that I am unable to find any opinion that I respect recommending either barding or larding. Can’t find anyone who is dissing the idea either!

  • Like 2

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Me neither but it bothers me that I am unable to find any opinion that I respect recommending either barding or larding. Can’t find anyone who is dissing the idea either!

 

I suspect its one of those things that has evaded critical thought. Has Modernist Cuisine addressed it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you will forgive me for bringing this topic possibly down to a lower state...

 

It's common in the BBQing/Smoking communities to use bacon strips over other meats. Turkeys, meatloaf, even other pork products. I've always seen it as a "self basting" of fats and flavors to the end results. Does it go from exterior to interior? Probably not.

 

That said, more than a few years ago I had a New Years Eve meal at the Stillwater in CT. Pork Bellies Confit was one of the courses. Oh my.....

 

Oh my....

 

Mouth still waters.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, CentralMA said:

It's common in the BBQing/Smoking communities to use bacon strips over other meats.

Thanks. Of course. But does it change in any way the protein it is draped over except to add some (external) flavour? I think you answered my question when you note that it probably doesn’t change the interior at all.
What about larding? I would love to see some evidence that larding an eye of round would turn it into an edible piece of beef. 

  • Like 2

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Me neither but it bothers me that I am unable to find any opinion that I respect recommending either barding or larding. Can’t find anyone who is dissing the idea either!

 

 

it's an adjunct technique to the main bit of "roasting"

used with proper "technique" it works - has benefits - yadda-yadda

 

as a magic procedure for anything going into the oven as some unspecified temp . . .

not so much

Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, CentralMA said:

If you will forgive me for bringing this topic possibly down to a lower state...

 

It's common in the BBQing/Smoking communities to use bacon strips over other meats. Turkeys, meatloaf, even other pork products. I've always seen it as a "self basting" of fats and flavors to the end results. Does it go from exterior to interior? Probably not.

 

 

I could imagine external fat penetrating ground meat.  I have a hard time seeing external fat penetrating the (hydrophilic) intact muscle in a piece of meat that isn't ground.

Edited by gfweb (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, gfweb said:

I could imagine external fat penetrating ground meat.  I have a hard time seeing external fat penetrating the (hydrophilic) intact muscle in a piece meat that isn't ground.

And yet a marinade penetrates easily. Hmm...

Muscle may be intact but it's still fibrous meaning not solid. Liquid fat can penetrate that.

 

Speaking of ground meat, my mom always topped her ground beef meatloaf with strips of bacon (slathered with ketchup) before roasting it. Yet, it didn't taste like bacon meatloaf. It was tender (a panade in the ingredients also helped with that). 

  • Like 1

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm very suspicious of the notion that applying fat to the outside of meat will somehow "go into the fibrous meat" or otherwise penetrate the interior. This does not accord with my experience or knowledge of food science. It's also not true that marinades "penetrate easily." Salt penetrates deeply due to its ionic properties, but marinades don't go beyond a couple of millimeters into the interior of the meat, even after 18 hours.

 

56 minutes ago, Anna N said:

What about larding? I would love to see some evidence that larding an eye of round would turn it into an edible piece of beef. 

 

As much as I dislike the Sous Vide Everything guys and Guga, this video attempts to provide some evidence one way or the other. Unfortunately, the guys conducting the experiment have somewhat limited capacities for description and expression. However, the verdict "this is trash" seems to sum up the verdict. Though admittedly comparing larded eye of round to wagyu is an unfair comparison. 

 

 

Edited by btbyrd (log)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, btbyrd said:

However, the verdict "this is trash" seems to sum up the verdict

Thanks. Interesting. Then as you are aware, hardly a valid experiment. But a lot of fun. My suspicion is that if larding were transformational we would be hearing a lot more about it and larding needles (injectors?) would be the next great kitchen toy for those of us who were/are toy collectors. 

  • Like 1

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to post
Share on other sites

A cure with nitrate penetrates about a cm per day. The meat and the cure are aqueous and it only gets in that far per day.  I fooled around with this a few years ago. The cured meat is red after cooking and the uncured is brown, so you get a 1 cm red halo around brown meat after a day.

 

It seems to me that larding would penetrate even less over the hour of cooking, not even taking into account the immiscibility of fat and water.

 

Maybe  the fat is a cooling blanket to keep temps lower.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

While it seems logical that introducing fat into a lean chunk of meat so that it resembles wagyu.   But at what cost of kitchen time?    It's hardly a procedure that most modern cooks would subscribe to.  

eGullet member #80.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...