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Where to buy natural lard in MoCo?

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I am swearing off commercial lard that is partially hydrogenated or has preservatives. Does anyone know of a good source for natural lard in Montgomery County? Inexpensive would be good, but price is not really an issue. I am also willing to mail-order if necessary. (And, yes, I know I could render lard myself; I just don't want the bother.)

Thank you, in advance, for your suggestions!

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  1. Just a thought - you might want to ask the butcher at the Amish market in Germantown to see if he could get some for you -- if you give him a week's notice, he might be able to help you out.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Terrie H.

      I recently read an article on your problem about hydrogenated lard and the benefits of using leaf lard in Saveur Magazine. They offered one mail order source, D'Angelo Bros. in Philadelphia that offered it for $2.49 (this was all in the article).

      I went on the website, and while the business offers remarkably unique items (ostrich, alligator,etc.) they did not advertise leaf lard. Perhaps you can check the website and call them just to make sure. I doubt Saveur would have put them in the article if they were not a reliable source.

      Best of luck and let me know if this helped!

      Link: http://www.dangelobros.com

    2. There is (used to be) a place called Tuscarora Valley Farms in SS that specialized in natural-type things including fresh pigs, no nitrite dogs, etc. Might be worth a shot.

      Just out of curiosity, what problem are you having with plain old supermarket lard? Is this related to baking performance, frying, taste, health, ......?

      5 Replies
      1. re: johnb

        Thank you for the suggestion -- sounds promising.

        I have no objections to the taste or performance of good old supermarket lard. I have baked terrific biscuits, Cornish pasties, savory pie crusts, etc. using lard that is hydrogenated and has preservatives -- Armour brand, I think, that Wal-Mart sells in huge tubs. I don't mind the preservatives, really, since so much of what I eat contains preservatives. It's the trans-fats I am concerned about. I am not fanatic about cutting our trans-fats from my diet; I just would feel better if I reduced the amount of trans-fats in my family's diet. And I do bake biscuits often enough that it would make a difference if I used a natural lard, even if the difference is just psychological, for my peace of mind.

        1. re: Browniebaker

          I hadn't heard that trans-fats are a big issue for lard--what is your source for this concern, and how much is there in there?

          1. re: johnb

            On the side of my Armour "Manteca" tub o' lard is a list of ingrerdients: lard, hydrogenated lard, BHA, propyl gallate, and citric acid. The last three are stated to be "to preserve flavor." I don't know what percentage of the lard by weight is hydrogenated, although I can safely say that it is less than 50 percent because hydrogenated lard is listed second.

            I use lard in my Southern cooking and in my Chinese cooking whenever any recipe calls for it, not all the time but frequently enough that I just think I better look for a natural lard. Believe me, if you used as much lard as I do, you might be worried, too! I have been meaning to switch to natural lard for a while now, and finding this Chowhound site a couple of months ago has given me a wealth of knowledgeable people to whom to direct these food-related questions that I have been pondering for a long time.

            1. re: Browniebaker

              I just checked my own stash, a tub of Smithfield (by Luter) commercial lard, and while it has BHA and BHT as preservatives, it seems to be innocent of hydrogenation. Seems like I've seen this brand at Giant, and it also seems to be the brand most often carried by the tiendas around here (Logan Circle/14th St NW), which is where I get it. I suppose if I asked the local Whole Foods to carry lard, I'd be stun-gunned and ejected by their security.

              1. re: Blair

                That's a good one!

                You should also be able to get "fresh" lard (manteca--mahn-tay-kah) from the butcher counters at the latin markets. I know I've seen it at Panamerica (further up 14th, near Otis). Todito (on Columbia near Mintwood) probably also has it.

      2. If you come to the Dupont Circle farmers' market on Sunday morning, there are two natural meat purveyors who usually have lard for sale, packed in canning jars. Polyface from Virginia has incredible pork, so I'm sure their lard will also be pure and good. The Keswick cheese folks also sell pork and veal, which they feed with whey from their cheesemaking process. They also have lard for sale.

        The lard is made by a kettle method (the fat is rendered in boiling water). This method makes very mild, white lare, which is great for baking. When I make lard, I usually render in the oven, which gives the lard a rich, roast-porky flavor that is great for Mexican food, which is my primary use for lard.