Got a bag of pig fat the other day. About six different types of fat on a pig, to judge from my bagâ€”I’ve written here before about the fat of different animals having different uses, well, I suppose hairs can probably be split indefinitely. I chopped it all up pretty fine for rendering on the stove, a batch of this kind of fat and a batch of that. Just to see what happens. If the skies part I’ll tell you about it.
Got sore hands, nearly a couple blisters, sore shoulders, sore feet, just cutting up that eight pounds fat. Gave me a little new respect I may have lacked for professional cooks, and for people who take down whole animals. I’ve sometimes ambitions to raise a couple pigs. And this is good to know: I can’t just throw them on a table and cut them up, not by myself and not just with a little help. Takes brains.
Next wad of fat I process, I’ll take the fatback and just salt it in steaks. Call that salt pork, people. Call that a huge saving in labor and energy: rendering takes all day on the stove. It’s a process should really be done in late fall, which is really when pigs ought to be killed anywayâ€”then you want the heat, anyway, and the fat might taste better; older animals, finished on the mast crop, if you know where to buy them. But I needed my fat right away, and pig sellers need inventory all year round, so.
I cannot abide by a lack of animal fat. In my house we insist on good things, like in olive oil we must have extra virgin and it must be organic; even by the five-gallon bag-in-a-box pouring the stuff on feels profligate. Our commercial options, frankly, are awful. Like in many things food, there are shades here of be rich or die. Yet, the lard this year is a buck a pound, and everything I could ask for. And I’m a snot.
Sorry I’m writing so funny. Lately I have to take what I can get.