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Food for Thought: Lard and Tallow, Healthy Fats?

I’m all about the healthy baby steps! Let’s baby step our way into healthier fats by using lard and tallow. Learn the health benefits of tallow and lard and where to buy them. 

What you need to know about lard and tallow?

I used to spend a LOT of time cutting off every single little tiny bit of fat from every cut of meat I brought home from the grocery store. I tried to buy “lean” whenever the budget would allow it. I skimmed every drop of fat from the top of my homemade chicken broth recipe.

I’m still not going to eat gristle or leave the fat on my chicken for stir fry, because I think the texture is nasty. But I’ve purchased lard, I leave the fat in when I drink chicken broth (because that’s where the immunities are!), and I used the fat from my beef stock to fry french fries. (Oh. My. Can you say “Heaven?”)  I’m coming around to the value of animal fats. Our ancestors ate them, even prized them, and there are some surprising components in them as well.

What Is Tallow?

If you asked me a decade ago what “tallow” was, I probably would have given you an answer worthy of Balderdash (I ROCK out that game!). Like:  “A build-up of ear wax in the inner ear canal that results in partial hearing loss in the elderly.”  Oh yeah. Two points for that one for sure.

what is tallow, beef fat

Tallow is actually from beef. It’s cow fat!

What Is Lard?

Lard is fat rendered from pork.

what is lard

If you asked me what “lard” was, I bet I would have cringed first! I still cringe a little when I think about it in pie crusts…yet I might have to buy some good stuff this winter and try my hand at it!

I’ve learned to relax about animal fats in the last decade! 

Health Benefits of Lard and Tallow

Ever heard someone say, “So-and-so ate bacon and eggs every morning and lived in good health until s/he was 90+….”  That might be because the pork fat in bacon is not an unhealthy fat.

Not only is saturated fat, like animal fats, actually helpful to your body’s systems, but lard is flying under the radar with 51% monounsaturated fat. You’ve seen those words before: mono- fats are the primary fat in olive oil, peanut butter, and avocados, some of the healthiest billed fatty foods in the land. So there. You can have your bacon and eat it too! (There is a catch. I’m so sorry. Keep reading.)

(Before you go on, be sure to read the Health Benefits of Saturated Fat post if you missed it. It’s the keystone to accepting animal fats as less than garbage. Start with the Fat Full Fall series if you’ve missed a lot!)

Is Lard Good for You? Yes! 

  • High in monounsaturated fat
  • High in Vitamin D (good for strong bones and immunity)
  • Good for skin – moisturizes from the inside (or on the outside, actually)1

Is Tallow Good for You? Yes!

  • Almost 50% monounsaturated fat
  • May have a positive impact on reducing cancer growth
  • Grassfed beef fat has a high concentration of  “conjugated linoleic acid,” or CLA, which is good for cholesterol levels.2, 3
what is lard, pork fat

Where to Buy Lard and Tallow: How to Find “Good Meat”

Finding tallow in your supermarket is probably as difficult as chasing down the cow and starting from scratch, and lard only slightly easier. Once you’ve found some, it’s time to ask questions.

The quality of the fat is determined by the quality of what the animal ate.

Unfortunately, most supermarket meat is factory-grown, where the animals don’t get exercise and have diets meant to make them fatter quicker. They are treated with antibiotics to prevent the spread of disease in crowded areas and hormones to speed up the process even more. (Not always, but you won’t know unless you ask.)  Toxins like these plus any chemicals on the animals’ feed will concentrate in the fat, so more than any other time, we must know about the life of our food when we’re buying animal fats.

Most supermarket lard is also hydrogenated to ensure shelf life and treated with preservatives like BHT and BHA, which have their own health issues.

I found lard at a local Sav-a-Lot that caters to the Hispanic community, and I called the company before I purchased it. I was assured that the lard was rendered pork fat, nothing added, not hydrogenated. The package, of course, states that BHA and BHT are added, so with that as a starting point for accuracy, I’m questioning the depth of knowledge of the customer service rep I spoke with! I’m about halfway through the tub…and I’m thinking maybe I should cut my losses and pitch it anyway.

RELATED: What is side pork? And how to make it taste like bacon.

This is “the catch” I spoke of: you only want to eat lard or tallow from good sources. Real lard needs refrigeration. You will probably have to go to a local butcher (or even a farm) to find a good source. (I can get it at Van Ball’s on Plainfield here in GR.)

Here are (some) questions you should ask:

  • What did the pigs eat? (Organic feed? Corn and soy? On pasture?)
  • Were they able to roam freely to a certain extent?
  • How is the lard processed? (Wet or dry? Hydrogenation? Preservatives?)
  • Were the pigs treated with antibiotics or hormones?
  • Best answers = pastured pigs, no soy, traditionally rendered lard with no additives or meds

Source of Tallow

Tallow has a similar list. The cows should be grass-fed, entirely if possible, with no meds. I don’t have a source that I’ve tried for tallow, but I trust Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s advice. Her source is U.S. Wellness Meats. Tallow does not need to be refrigerated at all if it’s used often enough and in an airtight container.

How to Make Lard and Tallow Yourself!

The easy way:

The fat on the top of your homemade beef stock is tallow, as is, I believe, any liquid beef fat you come across. Scoop it off and save it for frying.

Bacon grease is a form of lard. If you have some local, pastured bacon, save that grease. It makes some recipes simply divine. I heard through the grapevine of a chef who said, “Put bacon grease in anything and all the customers love it!”

bacon fat for lard

The not-so-hard but longer way:

Cheeseslave has an excellent post on how to render lard and tallow. I’ll refer you to her! The Wikipedia article on the subject is actually quite good and lists a lot of the traditional ways lard can be used in cooking and baking.

To render simply means “to extract by melting”. You render fat by making it liquid, separating it from anything else, then allowing it to solidify. Rendered fat has an advantage over raw meat; it has a shelf life. Our ancestors used to leave a cup of fat on the counter and use it until it was gone. In fact, my grandmother used to. This isn’t new information.

They are both solid at room temperature and have a very high smoke point, so they’re great for frying. They’re also quite healthy.

How Did Lard and Tallow Get So Misrepresented?

Advertising. Marketing. Media. Even back at the turn of the century, companies realized that if they could process and market something, they’d make more money than if they just helped farmers sell their whole food products. The shortening industry mounted an effective attack on lard that has turned the tongues of Americans for 100 years.

pie made with lard
How will you add lard and tallow to your healthy diet?


  1. Wells, P. (2017). Lard: The New Health Food? Retrieved August 04, 2020, from
  2. Robinson, J. (2019). Grass-Fed Basics. Retrieved August 04, 2020, from
  3. Hubbard, N. E., Lim, D., & Erickson, K. L. (2006). Beef Tallow Increases the Potency of Conjugated Linoleic Acid in the Reduction of Mouse Mammary Tumor Metastasis. The Journal of Nutrition, 136(1), 88-93. doi:10.1093/jn/136.1.88
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

63 thoughts on “Food for Thought: Lard and Tallow, Healthy Fats?”

  1. Pingback: Calgary - Basil (Vietnamese Restaurant - "Best Satay Pho") | Follow Me Foodie

  2. minnieminchu

    I recently obtained some deer meat from a friend. The last time he got deer for me it was great. His butcher added a little fat and it was fine. This time, as per my request, he added “organic” fat instead. I am all for organic and free range beef, so this was what I thought I was getting. Unfortunately, the fat seems to solidify and stick to the roof of our mouths, which we all find unappetizing. Can anyone explain why this is occurring? Does this mean the fat is unhealthful?

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      Hmm, that sounds yucky – but I have no idea what it could be! I’d talk to the butcher and see what kind of animal it came from for starters…?
      🙂 Katie

      1. Deer fat has a higher melting point than either beef fat or lard. So does sheep fat. That is why it coats the roof of the mouth. This is the tallow that they historically made tallow candles from because it is hard and is solid enough to stand up as a candle at room temperatures. I’m almost sure the butcher would add either pork fat or beef fat to the ground meat. I ask by butcher not to add extra fat and skim any accumulated fat off deer stews etcetera (or use a paper towel to blot it off the surface)

    2. That is typical of venison fat and lamb/mutton fat. That is why most people, when adding fat to ground venison, add pork fat. I can pretty much guarantee a butcher can’t get organic pork fat for you, so he used some other type, possibly lamb or even venison fat from an older animal. I’ve even had some fat from grass-fed beef do that a little bit, but not to the extent that venison and lamb do, so perhaps it’s simply something about how they are raised. But it does NOT mean that anything is bad, or bad for you. HTH I agree that it can be unappetizing, though!

  3. Kris via Facebook

    When I think on what Jesus’ sacrifice, it was not an exclusive one. God did not send his son to save those who looked a certain way, or ate a certain way, or had a certain form of dress. The Mosaic law was one that created an exclusive people – a holy people, from which God sent his Son. Out of that exclusiveness came mankind’s salvation – one that is inclusive. One can be a Catholic or a Pentecostal, one can have short hair or long, one can be black or white, one can eat pork or not, and His saving grace never changes. That is something to rejoice in! The Mosaic dietary laws created an us/them clean/unclean paradigm, and one we as Christians should be very wary of touting. Personally, I think that the super yumminess of bacon is proof that God loves me and wants me to be happy. =)

    1. Go Kris!! God had wonderful way of calling to Himself a separate people in the old testament..the Jews, and calling ALL to Himself in the new. It’s a HEART matter not a food matter.

    1. I think it’s important to be clear between moral and physical reasons for doing things. If you decide that you have moral grounds for doing or not doing something, then it doesn’t matter if there would or would not be adverse physical consequences. Some people, however, do not have a moral stance on pork, so are seeking to make the decision based on physical effects alone.
      My husband can eat very little pork without adverse effects. I, on the other hand, can eat it regularly in rotation with other meats without any noticeable ill effects.
      I make many food choices for my family based on how I notice the food affects us. We have many allergies and intolerances, so have moved to a strict grain-free diet in order to heal some issues and (I hope) prevent future ones. I find using a wide variety of meats and vegetables to be highly advantageous.:-)

  4. Christy via Facebook

    Snottiness not so effective in swaying people, Craig! Don’t give Christians a bad name!

  5. Craig via Facebook

    um no he didn’t. all of the so called verses in the New testament about clean/unclean have to do with the Gentiles, not actual food. The health laws of the Old testament still apply as do the Ten Commandments. And people wonder why they are so sick, and why the world is filled with evil.

  6. Emily via Facebook

    Something to think about…..

  7. Melissa via Facebook

    Here is a site that shows you how to render your own lard:

  8. Christy via Facebook

    The Old Testament says no to certain foods either because there was a greater risk considering the sanitary conditions of the time or because they genuinely are unhealthier than the kosher foods. There are different schools of thought about which of these categories pork falls into. HOWEVER, in the New Testament (in Jesus’ words in Mark 7:19, though it was reinforced elsewhere through the NT) all foods are declared clean from a spiritual perspective. Basically, while no one will deny that some foods are healthier than others, there is no spiritual consequence to eating one food over another. So does God say “no” to pork? I say no. Does that make it as healthy as other meats? Not necessarily.

  9. Lindsey via Facebook

    We are Jewish and used to not eat it – we started to again recently and it really doesn’t agree with me…thinking of not eating it anymore. There has just got to be something to all of those old laws – I just wish the kosher food chain wasn’t so based on industrialized food – ethical kosher groups are trying to make changes to this!

  10. Gidget via Facebook

    My husband’s lack of gall bladder makes it very difficult to digest pork. He occasionally has trouble with some beef too. We have to stick with coconut oil for our fat of choice. He has no trouble with that.

  11. What about Acts 11:4-12 when Peter is commanded by the Lord to eat the unclean animals, and GOd says “Do not call something unclean if I have made or clean”? I always thought that was an explicit doing away with the old dietary laws, akin to what is talked about with circumcision in the NT and how the need for it as a way to distinguish the Jews had changed after Jesus had come. Praise God that Jesus came!!

    1. @Sarah- That is the way I remember hearing it too (about Acts, and the clean/unclean).
      Also I have recently read to eat your pork either soaked/marinated or cured. Lard is safe. I just looked this article up
      I’ve been getting leaf lard from Creswick Farms through the West Michigan Co-Op and I render it myself. I remember your presentation at Nourishing Ways of West Michigan on fats and my surprise when you talked about lard’s monounsaturated make up. I also have done tallow and have a jar of bacon grease and chicken fat.

    2. I’m with you, Sarah. When God is talking to Noah in Genesis 9, He says that every animal is permissible to eat. And in the NT, believers are told only to abstain from meat that was offered to idols. The health effects of any food can be researched, and decisions made accordingly, but there is no Biblical basis for avoiding pork because the Israelites were told to under the Mosaic law. Knowing the nature of pigs, one would be wise to eat only healthy pastured pigs, but I certainly do not believe there is any Christian reason to avoid them completely.:-)

    3. Actually, if you keep reading in Acts it explains what his dream was about. in verse 18 the men listened and then praised God and said “Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” Unfortunately, they didnt’ follow that up with “Now let’s go get some bacon, always been wanting to try me some of that!” 😉 and upon closer inspection. The places (such as in 1 Timothy 4) where “food” is addressed. The greek word “Broma” is used. Which can simply mean food that is eaten. But, in “Strong’s” it says: “Food = Strong’s #1033, broma, bro’-mah; food (lit. or fig.), espec. certain allowed or forbidden by the Jewish law.” Remembering that Paul is an observant hebrew and that while his ministry was to the gentiles, he’s speaking to Timothy at this point who was also Hebrew. Pig just wasn’t food to them. Any more than spider is food to us. It wouldn’t have even been considered. God is a gentleman and allows us our freedoms, but sometimes I do the same thing with my own children. It’s called love and logic. I let them make their own decisions knowing my love for them will never change BUT I also let them reap the consequences of their actions which are often simple cause and effect. After all, spiritual implications aside. If God told us “Don’t eat this because it’s bad for you” (much like we say to our kids “Don’t eat too much candy because it’s bad for you”) and a pig is still a pig after all this time…. Pastured or not, even Sally Fallon acknowledges that after eating properly raised organic pork…blood chemistry reflected a negative change. In fact one study was done that monitored peoples blood chemisty after eating pork every day for a short time…the goal was to have another “long term” study with these same participants…however after the initial study was completed everybody quit because of the results of what was happening to their bodies. This is of course anecdotal because I don’t have a link to that study, the info about it that I read was part of a larger article and it was in PDF form, if i find it I’ll post a link to it here. Be informed and pray about it. I don’t want to drag this on ::sorry Katie:: but as I was reading in Ezekiel today and pondering over the connections to our own country and ancient Israel I happened upon Ezekiel 22:23-29 It sounded so familiar I wanted to cry. God has done so much in my family in the last few years, it truly has changed our outlook on so many things and my heart is burdended for others who might not know or see some of this. If anyone wants to know more, your’e welcome to contact me through my BLOG, if I don’t get back to you right away, be patient. I’ve got 4 little ones and one on the way and we homeschool, I WILL get back to you eventually 😉 Thanks Katie for letting us talk about it. Keep up the good work here!

    4. I am with you Sarah.

      We must rightly divide the word of truth and the covenants. No gentile, born again into the kingdom of God, was to become a Jew. (The Jews are still the apple of God’s eye, don’t get me wrong). We are not called to obey their laws, dietary or otherwise. We are saved by Grace and Grace alone. God commanded Noah to eat meat, and of course pointed out to Peter not to call unclean that which God had Himself, called clean. I don’t believe the “lowered blanket” synopsis was just “symbolic”. Remember also, that apart from proclaiming God’s blessing on all of our food, that today’s pork supplied to most of the population, isn’t from pigs that scavenge, but from raised pigs, offered much better food than that of pigs shot in the wild. Be that as it may, we can choose to maintain ideal natural health,through our own efforts and study; and that is all good;but limited to the realms of nature (which is cursed under the fall) or step into Divine health, purchased by Christ, at the Cross, all the better. Most of us are in a mix of the two as we learn to walk from one to the other.

  12. Anna via Facebook

    We simply found that we do not feel well when we eat it. But I also made the connection that God told us to do things for our own good in the OT and those thoughts shouldn’t just be discarded. I would never tell someone else not to eat pork, but we don’t feel it is desirable to serve in our house.

  13. I know a lot of you love the Lord like I do , so I had to share this thought. I’ve often wondered…If God tells his people, in the Bible, not to eat Pork…he probably said not to because it was bad for us (or for some who hold a slightly different view) bad for the Israelites (Romans 11 affects my view on this) Actually there’s a lot of science to suggest that it wasn’t just a test thing to see if we were paying attention. This stinks because pigs are a cheap and quick meat to raise, BUT I’d rather not take any chances…we use butter and coconut oil…soon we’ll have a steer to butcher..might have to try my hand at rendering tallow. Thanks for the info and links!

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I go back and forth in my mind on that one, but it comes down to Old Testament/New Testament for me. There are plenty of laws in the OT that Jesus said don’t really matter anymore when He set in the New Covenant. If the food was still that important, I think He would have included it in His teaching. I always thought that it had a place in OT times because pork meat really could make you sick…

      🙂 Katie

      1. Katie I see it a little differently. In Matthew 5:18 Jesus clearly says that until heaven and earth pass, not the smallest mark of the Law will change. and later he tells us that to love the Lord our God and to love our Neighbor as ourself are the two things on which hang all the law and the prophets…Not “some” but “all”. Clearly we are not working for our salvation, because Jesus already paid that price, but He also tells us…that if we love Him, we will obey His commands…several times in fact. Like a child showing his/her love for Mommy/Daddy, by obeying them. Faith equals Salvation, and Obedience equals blessings. I’m not advocating that we abstain from Pork for salvation, but simply because…well it’s pork, and He said it was an abomination. Even John’s Hopkins university did a study and found that strangely enough, the foods that God said to abstain from in His Word, were toxic to the human body. Which makes sense because it appears that God designed them to be nature’s trash men. As a final note: An important thing to remember when examing scripture is that the old and the new should match. He declared the end from the beginning, and when Paul tells Timothy that all scriptures is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness”…the only scripture they had and what he was referring to, was the Old Testament. The New Testament wouldn’t be compiled for many many years. And in 2 Tim 3:15, Paul tells Timothy that the Holy Scriptures would make him wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. My point simply being that I don’t recall any scripture when Jesus says that His Law doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t see God changing his mind…that’s why Jesus had to die, because God doesn’t change and couldn’t accept anything less in payment. Sorry for the deluge, just my humble opinion.

        1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

          No apology necessary; a well-put and detailed response. As a Catholic, I know I should look into what the Church teaches on this subject (we haven’t changed in 2000 years, either). 😉 You’ve got me thinking….

          thank you! 🙂 katie

          1. I’m currently reading The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin and he makes both a biblical case as well as a scientific case for NOT eating pork. Unfortunately this girl looves her bacon, pork chops as well as lard in cooking so I’m super super bummed. However, there’s a reason God said to not even touch the pig let alone eat it. They’re the garbage collectors of their species with a digestive system that isn’t complicated enough to properly filter their intake, thus making their meat unsafe for consumption. So, after reading that book…no more pork for my family. Sad, but I get it.

            1. thank you all so much for your discussion. I really appreciated your thoughts and Bible references. Thank you Suzy O, I appreciated your input. Blessings!

          2. Read Colossians 2:16-23…as well as Acts 11:4-12. There are so many issues discussed in the Bible, from so many different viewpoints…some of the historical, some of them allegory…there are parts of the Sermon on the Mount that will have you reeling! But, it’s most important to realize that not every single verse is a commandment to govern our morality…or a set of rules to follow. That was then…and while God is the same yesterday, today and forever…the means for getting to be with Him changed completely when He sent Jesus for us. Those things were necessary before they had the covering of the Savior. I am ever more grateful that I was born under the covenant of Christ, instead of that which was in the Old Testament!

  14. Pingback: How To Make Your Own Tallow - American Preppers Network

  15. is the lard from soaper’s choice food grade?
    would you or have you ever ordered that from them?

    1. Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship

      I’ve never ordered the lard…but I think I would stick to only small local farmers for that one, since “food grade” is only one of many requirements for healthy lard…

      So sorry it took me so long to respond…I got absolutely behind on comments when I released the second edition of the snacks book and truly have never caught up.

      🙂 Katie

  16. Pingback: Monday Mission: Refocus on Healthy Fats | Kitchen Stewardship

  17. Christine Overdick

    I found a great source here in Washington State. Thunderinghoves, they are in Walla Walla, however have many delivery spots in our area. You can buy grass fed lard & tallow. Remdering it in my crock-pot is easiest. found info on “daily apple” web site. I have since bought 1/2 a cow & 1/2 pig, much cheaper way to go. I ask for all fat so I can render myself. Really like this web site:)

    1. Awesome, Christine! I was happily surprised about how simple rendering my own tallow was. 🙂 Katie

  18. Thursday's Child

    I wanted to make fries tonight with coconut oil but didn’t have enough left. I thought about bacon grease but haven’t collected enough yet. But could I use bacon grease in place of lard in most recipes, such as fries? Does it have to be rendered?

    1. T’s Child: Bacon grease is already rendered! 😉 As long as the flavor would not get in the way of your recipe, yes, well-raised bacon makes grease that would work instead of lard almost anywhere. I keep meaning to make mayo with it, and someone I know just made crackers that way. Mmmmm. 🙂 Katie

  19. Pingback: Lard Butt and Proud of It « Kitchen Kung Fu: Return to the Old Ways

  20. AmandaonMaui

    My dad has always kept a cup of bacon grease on the back of the stove. The other night I cooked up 2 pounds of bacon for a “breakfast for dinner” get together with friends and I decided to save the grease. I have it in the cupboard. Does it really need to be refrigerated? My dad never refrigerated his.
    .-= AmandaonMaui´s last blog ..First Food I Ever Cooked =-.

    1. if you’re really on Maui, I’d say yes, put it in the fridge. Warm temps will make it go bad/rancid really quick.

      1. AmandaonMaui

        LOL I really am on Maui, and often my coconut oil is liquid as we don’t have air conditioning (most people don’t on the mountainside).

        The fat is now in the fridge!
        .-= AmandaonMaui´s last blog ..First Food I Ever Cooked =-.

  21. Pingback: All About Beans « Nourishing Food Diary

  22. this link has a lot of good info & references on organic vs. conventional
    .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: #seahawks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =-.

  23. just noticed this too…”Unfortunately, most supermarket meat is factory-grown, where the animals don’t get exercise and have diets meant to make them fatter quicker.”

    NOT TRUE. farms don’t want their animals to be fat. fat doesn’t pay. muscle does. fat & muscle are indirectly proportional. muscle quantity & quality are what farm’s are selling.

    as an animal gets fatter it has less muscle. thus, too much fat = bad. as i mentioned in my first post, fat is the last component laid down in the finishing process. “fattening” truly is the finishing part of finishing. actually, fat is also called finish when describing livestock.
    .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: Renton peeps #ff for @terriblebeauty_ =-.

    1. Isn’t the “grade A” meat called so because of its marbling though? I talked to a local meat market and they said they don’t stock grassfed animals because the marbling isn’t there. ?? I was under the impression that, ironically as much as we value “low-fat” foods as a society, we value higher-fat meat for the flavor.

      M. Pollan says in In Defense of Food “animals grow faster on a high energy diet of grain.” Can I say accurately then that factory-farmed animals (meaning anything other than green grass, really) eat diets designed to make them grow faster to be ready for slaughter more quickly?

      I don’t think I’d use tallow from supermarket beef myself. Is it true that toxins/chemicals will concentrate in the animal fat (like pesticides from their feed)?

      Thank you,

      1. quality grade is determined by marbling & carcass age.

        more info here: actually learned to do this in class at MSU.)

        livestock diets are designed to be efficient. it’s a balance of input cost, time on feed, & output.
        .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: Whoa. Really slept in today. Oops. =-.

      2. My husband and I recenlty bought 13 head of grassfed cattle with Pharo Cattle Company genetics. Here’s what little I think I’ve learned through this process: Grassfed animals marble very nicely and end up with a higher finished weight (more meat) than corn fed. On top of that, something to look into, is that When a ruminant is fed grain even permanently changes their body on a cellular level. (I wonder then what it does to us when we consume them?) We found this out too late for our steer that we were raising to butcher. It does however take approximately 6 months longer to grass finish cattle. And in order to keep it from developing a grassy/gamey taste, it needs to never reach a point when it is not gaining. It’s defnitely a science!

  24. this post brings back fond memories of rendering lard with my maternal grandma as a little girl. we fed the cracklings to the chickens. if you’re a laura ingalls wilder fan, you may recall they rendered lard once & ma allowed mary & laura to each have one cracklin’ because they were so rich.

    it may be easiest to find fat in your butcher’s case this time of year in michigan, since deer hunters usually mix pork fat in their venison sausage & burger in order to have enough fat content to hold patties together. also, beef fat is aka suet (like what birds eat…but don’t eat the bird stuff!). it may be easier to find now because of the season. my mom was usually able to find it around christmas time to make a vintage family recipe, plum pudding.

    both pork & beef fat mostly comes off the animal’s back & is called “back fat”. back fat is the last fat & last component (muscle first) that is accumulated in the growing (finishing) process. genetic advancement keeps today’s animals leaner. an animal that has a TON of back fat is probably OLD & thus meat quality is probably pretty poor.
    .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: Boobie trapped the trash can with a foil pan. Hopefully it scares cd when it falls. =-.

      1. i should share the plum pudding recipe with you. it’s a holiday kitchen adventure!

        something i forgot to add, since i saw antibiotic free mentioned. milk & meat in the food supply DO NOT have antibiotics in them, however, unless noted, they MAY be from animals treated with antibiotics.

        antibiotics have a “withdrawl” time. once the antibiotic is no longer being administered, the prescribed withdrawl time is observed & the animal’s products (milk or meat) are antibiotic free.

        farms are moving to “all in, all out” operations, so that all the animals arrive together & are sent to market together & no antibiotics are used. employees have to shower to enter & wear clothes from the farm (unmentionables included) in order to be as biosecure as possible. the MSU swine farm is run this way. as a visitor, if you don’t “shower-in” you can only observe from a small room with a large window.

        & finally, a question. I’ve heard you talk about organ meats. What’s your take on liver…since it’s a giant filter, aren’t you leery?
        .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: Renton peeps #ff for @terriblebeauty_ =-.

        1. Tonya,
          Is the “withdrawal” time the reason some beef is marketed as “no antibiotics in the 120-day finishing period”?

          re: organ meats. I’ve only used liver once, but I have another in my freezer. I read that it’s so healthy…I would only use organ meats from pastured, organic animals at this point, never supermarket chickens or beef. BUT – I don’t know much about them overall! You?

          🙂 Katie

          1. something being marketed as no antibiotics during finishing means no antibiotics during finishing.

            this makes me wonder, how does your dairy farm treat mastitis?

            i have steered clear from organ meats. not my bag. my family (grandparents, parents) used them as i was growing up. i’ve seen them & dealt with them. given the “filter” properties of the liver though, it’s not one i would go for. now, that is me being anecdotal.

            i’ll look for some evidence of residue in liver meet or fats.
            .-= tonya´s last blog ..rcwant2be: Whoa. Really slept in today. Oops. =-.

            1. Tonya,

              Looking fwd to the info on liver/filtering and toxins left behind (never thought I’d say THAT and mean it!).

              If I remember our tour correctly, our dairy farm pulls the animal’s milk if they have mastitis…but I think they have a really low incidence of mastitis, period, b/c the animals are so healthy (only one vet visit in 4 or 5 years).

              Thanks for all the links – my head is spinning trying to figure out what I’m reading!

              1. are your farm’s cattle pastured 24/7/365? if they are always on grass, i can see a lower mastitis incidence, because it’s “cleaner”. manure, mud & dirt are big culprits where mastitis is concerned. this also makes me wonder if the farm pre & post dips their cattle’s teats & if they do, with what…if they do dip with something, it’d probably be a chemical of some sort. that all being said, i can’t see a zero incidence of mastitis. it’s gotta be treated somehow when it happens.

                mastitis usually doesn’t require a vet visit, unless it’s REALLY nasty (staph).

                i’ve done some looking for pesticide residue info, but it’s been a busy work week for me. still searching.

                1. The cattle are on grass or hay the entire year, but I don’t know how much time they spend outside in the winter. I do believe they dip the teats, in a “sanitizing solution”. Bleach water, I think Not ideal, but you can’t avoid EVERYthing! Like I said, I think they just pull that animal’s milk when the cow has mastitis.

  25. Barb@My Daily Round

    This explanation is really helpful. The lard I found at the Shop Rite that I mentioned before was not refrigerated so I’m glad that I didn’t buy it. We have a butcher near by that I’ll try. If he doesn’t have it, I’ll try a farmers market that has at least one Amish farmer; he’ll probably have it.
    .-= Barb@My Daily Round´s last blog ..Christmas Stockings =-.


    Balderdash! Ha ha ha! I was so bad at this game 🙂

    Does your Friday post have anything to do with the second video clip on this blog post from Kelly the Kitchen Kop?
    .-= CELLULITE ANALYST´s last blog ..Why Is Cellulite a Beauty Issue? =-.

  27. thanks – I’d been meaning to ask someone about “quality” of grocery store lard……….. I’m guessing then the lard sitting on the shelf next to the Crisco, isn’t much better then the Crisco itself?
    But – what would be your thought – “bad” lard better then Crisco or just use butter if you cannot get “good” lard?
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Egg Nog =-.

    1. My thought, although I think I’ve been using “bad lard” and thinking it was “good” is this:
      Hydrogenated oils are the worst fats. Go with butter!
      Great clarification, Jen, thank you!

  28. Lenetta @ Nettacow

    Good morning, Katie! :>) Looking forward to browsing the link you sent me (still looking forward to browsing the Salatin link, too!) though I seem to have a sick little one today that will likely hamper a lot of things. And that’s OK.

    Just wanted to pass along this link on rendering beef fat at Mom’s Frugal.

    And my Grandma Johnson makes the BEST pie crusts with lard.
    .-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..Link Roundup – Harvest Edition =-.

    1. Lenetta @ Nettacow

      PS – linked. Thanks!!
      .-= Lenetta @ Nettacow´s last blog ..Link Roundup, Squeeze Your Toddler Edition =-.

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