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where to find Rendered leaf lard in LA area?

This was a conversation that started 2 years ago when the NY Times article about how amazing leaf lard is for making pie crust came out. Everyone was looking for leaf lard. Now here we are, 2 years later, and to this day I still don't know where in the world to find it in the LA area that is rendered. I bought the unrendered version at Surfas, and attempted to render it myself today. Whoever decided that is was an okay thing to do in a small kitchen...at best has more talent, a better kitchen vent, and stronger stomach than I do, and is at worst a filthy liar! Serioiusly...that was disgusting. Despite having all windows open and fans going, my whole apartment still smells like pig guts, not to mention my hair and clothes. AND, to add insult to injury, I let it cook for a minute too long and now it's burnt. All that for something that I maybe could use for beans, but certainly not pie crust. I'm so discouraged. Is the anywhere anyone has found in LA where I can buy it pre-rendered? Or am I just going to have to give in and order it online from some East coast farm?

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  1. I am not aware of any source in L.A. for rendered leaf lard. It's usually sold in its natural state because it's easier to put the burden of rendering on the customer, and most consumers seeking leaf lard want to see it in its natural state so that they know what they're dealing with.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Joe Blowe

      So, does anybody know what the stuff is in the red box at stores all over town that says "lard" / "manteca?" All I know from what I've read over the years is that nobody uses it.

      1. re: Hungry4Good

        'Manteca' is simply the Spanish word for lard.

        The packaged manteca you see in grocery stores is pig fat (trimmings obtained during butchering, *not* leaf lard). It is rendered and then hydrogenated for stability.

        Avoid it for cooking, but feel free to use it for seasoning cast iron pans.

        1. re: Joe Blowe

          Thanks, Joe. Wouldn't it be great if quality lard were that convenient!

          1. re: Hungry4Good

            you can get (presumably, haven't tried it yet) quality lard or tallow by the quart at rawsome.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          I just called Maloney's, and they told me that they did not carry it. When did you find it there?

          1. re: french roast

            According to the link I posted immediately above, Maloney's hasn't carried leaf lard for at least two years.

            I'll reiterate what I said earlier: You'll have a very hard time finding *rendered* leaf lard (as in ready-to-use) in Los Angeles. I'd be ecstatic if anyone can prove me wrong...

            1. re: Joe Blowe

              Ah well. I love to eat local, but it looks like I'm going give in to mail order. Either that, or start a sideline business selling rendered leaf lard to Angelinos!

            2. re: french roast

              french roast,

              I haven't been in the market for leaf lard since I left the baking business many years ago.

          2. Please pardon my ignorance if I ask a stupid question, but would rendered leaf lard be the same thing as "suet"? In case it is, I saw some at Surfas last week. If not, apologies.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bad nono

              Suet is cow fat; lard is pig fat.

              We failed with the leaf lard too, but I have since rendered lard from other cuts. It is very, very easy and doesn't do anything other than make the kitchen smell like pork. You can do it on the oven or stove--just put pork on low heat with some water and let it do its thing.

            2. I have definitely seen it in the fridges near the frozen meats at Surfas, unrendered.

              1. Bristol Farms in Pasadena had it a couple of weeks ago and Surfas has it. Bon appetit.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Tim77

                  Surfas does NOT have RENDERED leaf lard -- they sell leaf lard that you have to render yourself. Please read the original post, and the following conversation.

                  As I said above, I'd be ecstatic if anyone can prove me wrong that you can buy *rendered* leaf lard in L.A. If Bristol Farms actually carries it (and that's a BIG IF), then I'll be damned...

                  1. re: Joe Blowe

                    The reason farms don't render leaf lard is because it will require them to get a completely different licence since they will be "cooking" a food and selling to consumers.

                    1. re: rootbeer16

                      Yeah, I'm aware of that. If you didn't already know, Bristol Farms is a chain of grocery stores -- it's not an actual farm.

                      1. re: Joe Blowe

                        Bristol Farms = owned by Albertson's

                    2. re: Tim77

                      Bristol Farms? I'm assuming you mean the South Pasadena one. I just called and spoke to the butcher, and he told me that he does not have, nor has he ever had, leaf lard, rendered or not. Are you maybe thinking of a different place? Or is it a grocery item?

                    3. Just to give this one closure, I finally gave up and ordered a few pounds from Deidrich's in PA. I'm waiting patiently for its arrival. I guess LA is just not a lard lovin' place. Anyone what to go into this as a side business? We could make some serious cash during pie making season!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: french roast

                        Just to unclose this topic., for anyone wondering what leaf lard is as opposed to some other kind of lard:

                        "The highest grade of lard, known as leaf lard, is obtained from the "flare" visceral fat deposit surrounding the kidneys and inside the loin. Leaf lard has little pork flavor, making it ideal for use in baked goods, where it is treasured for its ability to produce flaky, moist pie crusts."
                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lard

                      2. Just saw leaf lard in the freezer section of Surfas, Culver City.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: filone

                          they carry it pretty regularly. As a word of warning though, around the holidays pastry chefs and some ambitious home cooks start clearing them out. So get your early!

                        2. A couple of the ferry plaza vendors in SF carry it. I just throw it in my suitcase as a carry on.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: JudiAU

                            I have to ask -- only because so few seem to "get it" -- but this is *rendered* leaf lard? As in ready-to-use?

                            Are they rendering it themselves? Are they obtaining it from an outside source? Websites?

                            1. re: Joe Blowe

                              Prather Ranch, Boccalone, and Fatted Calf have all carried rendered leaf lard for around $10 lb. Better to just buy and ship it from Dietrich's in PA. I usually buy 10 lbs at a time and it's about $45 with shipping to CA.

                              1. re: Joe Blowe

                                Yes, rendered and pastry-ready. Rendered in house/

                                And as an update, both MaCalls and Lindy and Grundy usually have it to.

                            2. Organic rendered leaf lard available at Lindy & Grundy Butcher
                              801 North Fairfax Avenue, LA
                              (323) 951-0804

                              1. Hi! I think you bought your lard from an unreliable place. I have had many problems with Surfas and their food quality...not being certified vendors and getting their products from second distributors. Real leaf fat (lard- after it has been rendered) should not have an overwhelming odor. And should be pure snow white after rendering process. I am looking for organic leaf lard in the state of California but have yet to find it. I do however know of Tendergrass Farms in Vermont that ships. Pricey, but the best I have found in the USA thus far. If you are not worried about it being organic, try McCalls Meats on Hillhurst (Los Feliz)...and stop buying at Surfas...it's a true shit hole... do not know how they stay in business. Hope this helps... :)