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July 23, 2010

Adventures in lard procurement

Plebes and lardTurns out scaling a greasy obelisk, as plebes sometimes do in Annapolis, isn't the most difficult thing you can do with lard. Just finding lard can be a challenge in itself. Barbara Stratton, budding soap-and-tamale maker, shared this account with the Google group Baltimore Food Makers. I post it here with her permission. Here's Barbara. LV

Some of you old timers may recall that I orginally joined FM looking for natural lard for soap making and for trying my hand at homemade tamales.  Well, I'm still looking!  Here is the summary of my lard findings for anyone who is interested:

-if you want leaf lard (which is not rendered and so no good for soap making but supposedly the best for pastry) then you can get it at Truck Patch Farm's booth at the Sunday Farmer's Market.  I think they said $2.50/lb but don't quote me on that.  Order ahead if you want a significant quantity

-I tried walking into a Hispanic store in Fell's Point but the clerk looked at me like I was nuts and said they don't carry it

-I've tried calling the meat seller at the Amish Market in Shrewsbury but no go

-I tried the meat seller at the Amish Market in Laurel (seems to be the same company) but no go unless maybe they could try to special order it 

-Flying Pigs Farm in NY apparently could ship it to you but it is $4/ lb which is way too expensive for a soapmaking oil

-Springfield Farm in Sparks doesn't sell lard and didn't know where I could get some

-I called Dangerously Delicious Pies because there were references online to the fact that they use lard for pie crusts but they said they no longer do - they now use shortening

-I called Hatfields Meats and theirs is typical grocery store stuff (In case you didn't know, the stuff in the grocery store refrigerator  section, like Esskay brand, contains BHT and other goodies. The stuff that is shelf stable at Walmart is hydrogenated)

-Laurel Meat Market resells Esskay but can sell me fat back for $2.29/ lb in 10 lb increments to render my own (I've done it once)

-Mt. Airy Meatlocker re-sells Hatfields, they can sell me fat back for .80/lb with advance notice

-Dorsey Meats in Woodsboro, MD will make an order of lard for me in 30 lb pail increments for approx. $1.30/lb, pigs are not grassfed ...  No additives but I either have to pick it up there or meet their driver on the day he's in Fell's Point or order $150 worth and he will deliver it to my house.

The Dorsey guy says he needs a couple of weeks' notice.  Any folks interested in getting a lard order together?

Sun photo by Kim Hairston

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:25 AM | | Comments (6)


I bought lard (called "manteca") in the hispanic store on eastern ave and ann st. for tamales about 5 months ago.

Thanks, any idea if it was made fresh or had preservatives?

Baltimore Soaps and More

It looked like it was commercially made so maybe not fresh. I can take a look when i get home.

I haven't tried in a while, but I bet u could get it at Treuth's butcher shop in Oella. U owe yourself a trip there anyway - it's a very traditional butcher shop. But not for the faint of heart.

Thanks for the suggestion - I forgot to add them to the list of places I've called that didn't have lard!

I pay $9 for an 8 pound bucket of LARD at my local grocery store (H.E.B.). My local Wally-You-Know-What sells it for less, but I don't have to deal with parking or someone accusing me of stealing and asking for proof as I walk out the door. Look online for an HEB grocery store.
I've made 200 tamales so far and only about 300 to go for Christmas!
Good LUCK!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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