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My Leaf Lard Pie Crust Has Sinew in it.

chowchau Feb 19, 2012 06:59 PM

I just decided to hop on the lardwagon after hearing so much about it on Planet Money.
I bought frozen leaf lard from Heritage Meats here in NYC. What a thrill having them cut off a piece with the bandsaw!
I cut up tiny pieces of the frozen lard and made my pie crust in the food processor. The berry tart I made was good, but had unmistakeable bits of porky sinew in the crust. They were unchewable so not really acceptable in a flaky crust.
What should I do? First thaw my lard and then run my fingers through it looking for the sinew to pull out? Rendering the lard is out of the question. I don't have that kind of time.
Any help would be appreciated!

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  1. emily RE: chowchau Feb 19, 2012 07:08 PM

    You should be able to melt it over low heat and then strain it. Pour it into a container and then re-freeze it.

    5 Replies
    1. re: emily
      biondanonima RE: emily Feb 19, 2012 07:11 PM

      This is rendering - which the OP states he/she doesn't want to do. However, it's the only way to really remove the sinew.

      1. re: biondanonima
        emily RE: biondanonima Feb 19, 2012 09:44 PM

        Huh, I guess I misunderstood. I assumed it was already rendered if it was used in a pie crust (and somehow ended up with some residue), but I see the OP mentions cutting off a piece of fat with a bandsaw.

        1. re: biondanonima
          jcattles RE: biondanonima Feb 21, 2012 07:42 AM

          Actually that is not rendering. If it was already rendered, you could easily melt it & strain. Which is what the OP thought he/she had. What the OP had was a piece of leaf "fat" that was cut off with a bandsaw. It needed to be rendered into lard.

          Rendering is much different. You must cut it up into small pieces, add some water & keep it on the heat until the fat is melted, the water is cooked off, & the pork pieces have turned crispy & golden brown. Then you strain it & refrigerate or freeze, where it will become white & solid. It does take some time, but if you do it right you only have to pay close attention once the water cooks off.

          1. re: jcattles
            paulj RE: jcattles Feb 21, 2012 08:51 AM

            I may have done the same thing with suet. I bought 'ground suet' from the butcher (basically little pellets) and used it in a christmas pudding. The pudding had plenty of texture components (dried fruit) so I didn't notice whether the suet still had any fibers.

            And there was the time I bought pancetta from the deli counter, and ate it like ordinary deli meat :)

            1. re: paulj
              buttertart RE: paulj Feb 21, 2012 10:09 AM

              Proper Christmas pudding has ground suet in it. It should be very fine, sort of like slightly moist breadcrumbs.

      2. a
        AAQjr RE: chowchau Feb 19, 2012 08:14 PM

        Buy crisco if you don't want to do it properly. I requires very little effort to render lard.

        1 Reply
        1. re: AAQjr
          chefj RE: AAQjr Feb 20, 2012 11:29 AM

          or buy already rendered lard.
          Freshly rendered should be available at a good Mexican market or butcher shop that produces Charcuterie.

        2. paulj RE: chowchau Feb 19, 2012 09:31 PM

          You just found out why most people used prepared lard

          The history of Atora brand of prepared suet.
          "Hugon, who had an engraving business, was one day watching his wife tediously chopping a large piece of suet and had the idea that it would be so much easier if you were able to buy suet already chopped. He subsequently sold his engraving business and in 1893 founded the Atora suet making factory in Openshaw, Manchester, manufacturing ready shredded suet - one of the first 'convenience' food products available."

          1. buttertart RE: chowchau Feb 20, 2012 09:08 AM

            Sorry but you can't make proper pie crust with unrendered lard. You wouldn't take a big hunk of other raw animal fat and put it in other baked goods, would you?

            1 Reply
            1. re: buttertart
              caseyjo RE: buttertart Feb 20, 2012 10:18 AM


              Rendering lard is not difficult. It's certainly easier than making butter at home (which is also not difficult). Add fat to a pan. Add some water. Render. Snack on the cracklings. That's it.

            2. r
              rasputina RE: chowchau Feb 20, 2012 11:16 AM

              Leaf lard comes from around the kidneys, I'm not getting how they cut leaf lard off with a band saw?

              Having said that, it needs to be rendered to be used for pie crust.

              3 Replies
              1. re: rasputina
                lilgi RE: rasputina Feb 20, 2012 12:12 PM

                Thanks, I was confused as well.

                1. re: rasputina
                  paulj RE: rasputina Feb 20, 2012 01:13 PM

                  A pictorial essay on leaf lard
                  Notice that it talks about rendering it, even after taking the pieces of the membrane.

                  I can imagine a butcher having the lard in a large frozen block. When I've bought tripe from a Mexican butcher it clearly has been cut from a frozen block, even though the tripe itself is a membrane.

                  1. re: paulj
                    rasputina RE: paulj Feb 20, 2012 07:27 PM

                    Yes, but on their website it says this about their leaf lard

                    Please allow 7-14 days for delivery because this will be cut fresh.


                    In fact you have to check a box acknowledging that you will be getting a fresh product.

                2. lyndak RE: chowchau Feb 20, 2012 02:16 PM

                  It seems to me that if you can run your fingers through it it must already be rendered?? But you did mention that you watched the butcher cut off a piece so it must not be rendered??

                  If it is already rendered, I would melt it again and filter out any undesirables. If it truly is a piece of un-rendered lard, I would suggest, like others have, that you're going to have to render it for it to work properly. Time consuming as it is, it is worth the effort.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: lyndak
                    chowchau RE: lyndak Feb 20, 2012 08:13 PM

                    Thanks for all the help everybody. Growing up with crisco did not prepare me for this.
                    My confusion with the recipes was that they did not specify that the lard must be rendered. So naturally I just cut a hunk off of it (while fresh, frozen and still pink) and used it like I would use frozen butter. Now that I'm seeing these posts and googling it further, it turns out that rendering is absolutely required. I thought it seemed strange to be putting raw meat product in my crust. What a rookie!

                    I think I will look for fresh rendered lard at the store. I want to stay away from the super processed products. And last night's unrendered pie crust left a porky aroma in my apartment that lasted into the wee hours.

                    1. re: chowchau
                      Chris VR RE: chowchau Feb 21, 2012 06:57 AM

                      Ah yes, rendering your own lard is pretty easy but t will leave your place smelling very porky.

                      1. re: chowchau
                        wyogal RE: chowchau Feb 21, 2012 08:56 AM

                        Here's an interesting website when googling lard. It talks briefly about artisnal lard vs. processed lard. Meaning, yes, you go get some of that stuff again, and spend a day rendering it. Then you will have a thing of beauty....

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