The Fresh Loaf

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NPR - Who Killed Lard?

Wild-Yeast's picture

NPR - Who Killed Lard?

Leaf Lard has unnecessarily been given a bad reputation by food manufacturers in their efforts to build market share for monopoly branding. The following piece from NPR traces the story and a Brooklyn restaurateur attempting to restore Leaf Lard to its proper place in America's food pantheon...,


gavinc's picture

I remember when I was young, my mother kept a basin in the kitchen into which she poured the fat from the Sunday roast (mostly lamb). It would solidify at room temperature and get used to roast potatoes and other veggies, the best roast spuds I ever ate. She told us stories of using the lard on bread instead of butter during the depression.

We can still buy lard at the grocery store here in Australia, but it's only one small area on a shelf amongst other shortenings.

Wild-Yeast's picture

In the U.S. a product named "Manteca" is pork fat that has been purified and is sold in Spanish food stores. It is preferred for making crispy crusts by pie makers and can substitute for butter in many recipes. 


gavinc's picture

Ok. I wasn't sure what Leaf Lard was as it's a term I've not heard before.  We can buy various prepared animal fats here. Goose fat is particularly popular. Thanks for your extra info and clarification.


algebread's picture

Any idea why goose fat is popular compared to the other fats?

I am just curious because it's one that I have never used, despite having used fats from most of the other standard food-animals.

gavinc's picture

Some celebrity chefs showcase it in their Christmas specials. It is very good.

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

goose fat is really lovely, For those who dont eat pork it makes a wonderful substitute for lard

Justanoldguy's picture

Don't forget tamales. You need manteca, aka lard, to make the dough for tamales.

BethJ's picture

Leaf lard is my go to for pie-crust.  For the fat:  80% butter, 20% leaf lard.  Flaky!

deblacksmith's picture

Lard – an interesting “fat”.  I think it is one of the better fats along with butter but was killed off by the manufactures of things like Crisco.  Research shows that it was the common persons fat in Italian cooking vs. olive oil.  Why? Because you sold your olive oil for cash and used your lard to cook with.

Around here, mountains of western North Carolina, the best fat for pie crusts is consider bear leaf lard.  Not something you can get unless you hunt bear – not something I do but it is what the locals (I am a transplant) say makes the very best pie crust.

semolina_man's picture

Lard is alive and well in the United States.  The article strikes as fake news.  


Tortilla makers use lard.  I use lard frequently for savory pastry crusts.   

The Roadside Pie King's picture
The Roadside Pi...


David R's picture
David R

Mentioned at the link, but not emphasized much in this thread - the lard that's normally sold now has been hydrogenated. Obviously, this will make some difference in the results. Any comments from those who have experienced the differences between the "standard-issue modern store-bought" and the more traditional and/or home-rendered type?

gary.turner's picture

Leaf lard is not the common lard you usually see in the grocery store. It is rendered from the visceral fat surrounding and in various internal organs. It has a taste superior to any common lard or cooking oil. If I recall correctly, it has a slightly higher melting point than common lard which, ignoring the better taste, makes a flakier pie crust.


AnnaZ's picture

I get my lard directly from a butcher shop.  That stuff in bricks on the grocery store shelf is crap.    Half butter/half lard makes a gorgeous pie crust.  If you toss in a glob of cream cheese with the butter and lard, so much the better!  I make some of my cookies with half butter half lard.