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Nov 16, 2009 07:53 AM

lard in Houston?

Looking for some lard for pie crust in Houston. I 'd love leaf lard if I could find it. I don't care for the stuff at the regular grocery store because it has crisco in it. Any ideas?

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  1. Well, my first thought is to get some pork fat and render it yourself.

    1. look for Manteca, pure pork lard. at your favorite gorcer...100% crisco free

      5 Replies
      1. re: SAguy

        Those boxes of Manteca can be pretty nasty. But you're right that the Mexicans use a lot of lard and that one good place to look for it is at Fiesta or other Mexican grocer. However, the boxes of Manteca that sit on the shelves and don't even require refrigeration are unappealing, to me anyway. I'd suggest you call Pete's Fine Meats, or other butcher, and discuss it with them. They might be willing to give you some nice snowy white pork fat free of charge and you could render it yourself.

        Or they might even sell freshly-rendered lard, too.

        1. re: SAguy

          didnt know other folks didnt use pork fat...mantenca is in all grocery sotres HEB, Kroger's and Randels have Armour Lard/manteca...Whats nasty about it? pork fat is pork fat, it dont have to be snowflake fluffy white to work well.

          And if you believe it does, what did all those old timers use?

          Whats the difference between manteca and lard, the box. Do you think Armour makes a special blend for mexicans?

          1. re: SAguy

            Well, I'll repeat what I said: "the boxes of Manteca that sit on the shelves and don't even require refrigeration are unappealing TO ME ANYWAY." They often sit there for a very long time, and I've bought some that definitely tastes old. And, to me, nasty.

            My advice would always be to try to get some fresh stuff. Particularly as the OP wants it for pastry, and not to drop into a pan of carnitas or a pot of charro beans or to flavor a skillet full of collard greens.

            And no, I don't think Armour makes a special blend for Mexicans (even though, obviously "manteca" is the Spanish word for lard so it's clear they're marketing that particular product to someone that speaks Spanish), but I'll repeat that Mexicans do use a lot of lard in their cooking (do you disagree with that?) and, as I'm giving somebody advice as to where to find some, once again, I'll strongly suggest that they try a Mexican market or carniceria to see if they're selling any fresh lard.

            I've reread my post several times and don't see where I said that "other folks didn't use pork fat." As you indicated that I did, perhaps you could point out to me exactly where that was.

            As for my opinion as to "what did all those old-timers use?" - all of the "old-timers" I am personally aware of rendered their own. Or bought it fresh from their local butcher shop. My mother and grandmother (non-Hispanic southern women), who definitely qualify as "old-timers" used a lot of lard. And they definitely did not ever buy a box of it that might have been sitting on a market shelf for months and months.

            And neither did my former husband's abuelita.

            I have no wish to argue with you - especially not over something so stupid and obvious as to whether or not "other folks use pork fat." The OP asked for advice. I'm simply trying to give my best.

            She, and you, are free to take it or leave it.

            1. re: Jaymes

              fyi...mexicans also bake apple pies and make biscuits...i dont eat carnitas every day. My statement is that manteca is not for frying gorditas and lard is for pie crust. To me...a non-fussy Texan, pork fat is pork fat...My Grandmother and mother won blue ribbons in bakeing in Wilson and Karnes county fairs, and they also made flour tortillas and Bunuellos with Lard/manteca.

              If you need your Lard to be Fluffy snow be it. I'll stick to the old Texas ways.

              ps as I recall I to gave my advice to use were the one that shot that down...remember

              1. re: SAguy

                Um... you do get, do you not, that, as I said several times (ie: "Those boxes of Manteca [capital M]..."), I was indeed specifically referring to that one product, those boxes labled "Manteca" that sit, unrefrigerated, on store shelves for months?

                And not just 'manteca/lard' in general?

                Oh, and PS - I think I did know that "Mexicans also bake apple pies..." as I recently spent some time visiting a delightful hacienda in Guerrero, Chihuahua, in the heart of one of Mexico's most important apple-producing regions.

                A great many wonderful meals. Including apple soup.

                And biscuits.

                And even pie.

          1. re: slewfoot

            Ok, let me clarify some things. The shelf stable lard/Manteca is partially hydroginated and is AWFUL for you and does NOT work like freshly rendered lard. Also not all rendered lard is created equal. If you want to bake with lard you need nice, clean leaf lard, from around the kidneys and abdominal organs. It is basically tasteless when rendered. Unsalted fatback can be used as well. All other pork fat will taste like pork, which for some applications will be fine.

            I have been hunting for fresh LEAF FAT for a while......grocers, butchers, Mexican luck yet. Most farm raised pigs are too lean to get enough fat off of and what the butchers get is already trimmed. I am wanting to BAKE with lard so I want the top end stuff with no taste. With any luck I will eventually find it.

            1. re: DancingCat

              I guess this means you've spoken with Pete's Meats and Central Market, etc., about getting some kidney fat and rendering it yourself and that's not practical.

              So you can order it from these folks:

              It's 2.50 a pound. They'll happily ship to Houston. Depending upon how much you get, it'll cost about $12 or so to ship a package. It will keep 8-12 mos frozen or in the fridge, so you'll have a nice supply.

              You might talk with a friend and see if you can find someone else that wants some and that way you'd split the shipping costs.

              1. re: DancingCat

                While I was at Mi Tienda today I noticed the containers of rendered pork fat for sale, about 2 cups worth, the result of the in store production of chicharrons. Containers ranged in color all the way up to almost golden brown.

                I've seen similar containers at some Fiesta stores too in the meat section. They tend to be larger containers, about 4 cups worth.

                This is not bleached or hydrogenated so needs to be kept refrigerated or frozen to preserve it and is NOT leaf lard but will be good for other purposes, better than the shelf-stable, hydrogenated and bleached stuff.

                The color of the stuff at Fiesta tends to be a pretty uniform light beige.

                1. re: dexmat

                  I have used the lard myself in making roux. Fantastic fresh product, and cheap, generally a few dollars. Always at the Hispanic markets meat counters.

            2. Anyone who replied to this post with: "Just go to the local bodega/ mercado" to get the store lard or even the rendered lard from the chicharrones, don't realized that they are getting chemically processed lard.

              To get an excellent review of the use of different lards, and the pros & cons, read this classic article in the NY Times:

              1. Don't know if you're still looking, but I was in the new Revival Market last week and saw some beautiful, white, pure lard.

                You might give it a try.