storing pork fat
I made some delicious pork chops last night for dinner. Before cooking, I sliced some of the wonderful fat off the chop and rendered it in a pan for braised red cabbage.
Afterwards, I wished I had saved some of the pork fat for future cooking.
Assuming that I am trimming pork fat off a chop or similar, can I slice it off and freeze it? Do I have to render it first and then store it? What's best?
By the way, the red cabbage was great. Thrown in a pan with rendered pork fat, a bay leaf, chicken stock, and a little red wine vinegar. So good with pork chops!
You can freeze it for later use. It will last for awhile before it gets rancid. If you render it, it will last for awile in the fridge.
This is nothing but plain old lard. Manteca.
When country people butchered a hog, they could not afford to throw away anything. My grandmother used lard for cooking and to make lye soap. Before the days of commonly available vegetable oils (olive oil was an expensive import), this was used for cooking and was my father's choice until the day he drew his last breath. A source of constant friction with my mother.
Many Southerners still use bacon drippings as their cooking fat of choice for many dishes.
Some consider pie crust or biscuits made with lard to be infinitely better than those made without - if your cholesterol can bear it.
Lard gets such a bad rap health wise, when in fact it has less saturated fat and less cholesterol than butter. Most vegetable shortenings are hydrogenated, which is apparently more dangerous than any other kind of fat with respect to raising risk of heart disease.
I love to use lard for pie crusts but for sweet pies, it's best to render the "leaf" lard to avoid having too much porky flavor. I use the fatback for tortillas or savory pie crusts (quiche, meat pies, etc). It is SO good, in moderation, of course.
count me in as someone who thinks pie crust is infinitely better made with lard.
last year i kept a giant hunk of leaf lard in the fridge for a week before i rendered it, and it came out fine! so i imagine you could keep some pork chop fat around for a while!
after i rendered the lard, i strained it through double paper towels and put it in plastic tupperwares. the lard kept in the fridge for a year. i just used up the last bit in a pie this week.
I keep pork fat on hand and use it for stir-frying vegetables and meats. It gives a flavor nothing else can. I usually render fatback and pour it into cans which I freeze. If you have a small amount, it will keep for a week or more in the fridge, assuming it is relatively pure, i.e. not mixed in with meat juices or other liquids which don't have as long a shelf life.