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Feb 2, 2010 09:57 AM

How can I tell if it's lard or just plain old fat?

I went to the butcher today to get lard for making tamale dough. I live in Amsterdam, so I'm not sure if the chunk-o-stuff I got today is really lard (I made sure to look up the correct term in Dutch, so there wasn't a language mistake). It's a white chunk of fatty substance with a porky smell and pink bands mixed in. Is there a way to tell if this is lard? If it's not lard, what's the best way to turn it into lard?

Many thanks in advance! I'm having a dinner party tomorrow and really need to get my animal fat in order before 12 people come in search of artery-clogging deliciousness.

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  1. If you bought reuzel and it has a consistency and appearance similar to vegetable shortening, you should be in Lard Land.

    1. Lard is a rendered fat from hogs. Anything else is just fat.

      1. Thanks for the replies. I went and pocked around in it, and it has the texture of very solid vegetable shortening, so I'm definitely in Lard Land. Yum!

        1. IF its rendered... which Lard should be.. it should have the consistency of vegetable shortening. There is also beef suet... which unfortunately is not sold in pre-rendered form. I render my own suet for pie crust, spotted 'Richard' / Clootie Dumpling.

          1. Really hard to tell, but I'd guess you have leaf lard, which isn't as fully rendered as the stuff you buy commercially. For tamales, I think it'd be very delicious.