Who you calling Lard Ass? Rose’s Lard Caramel

Lard Caramel

LARD!!!! There are not many words I can think of that evoke such a negative connotation. It has been ingrained in our heads as the foul, sloppy, mess when speaking in culinary terms and in describing our fellow man. When someone is looking to go for the jugular when arguing with our weight challenged friends, “lard-ass” is normally the go to insult. The urban dictionary defines lard-ass as “a person not only of immense weight, but laziness to match, one who’s exercise consist of darts and bowling” ouch, and that was the nice definition.

Lard or rendered pig fat, has been used for thousands of years as staple in cooking and baking but its not hard to find out how the rails came off the track to cause a PR nightmare for good ole lard. At the turn of the 20th century two shmoes named Proctor and Gamble were looking for something to do with their stock piles of cottonseed oil. Mix a laboratory, German scientist, some cottonseed oil and Poof! We have CRISCO. To carve out a market for itself Crisco would have to take out the widely used and versatile Lard by getting us to ignore the fact that Crisco was something made in a lab and besmirch Lard’s good name. Like Kryptonite to Superman or a camera phone to Anthony Wiener, lard fell prey to a fantastic campaign to paint Crisco as something used by loving mother’s who run a healthy family and lard as the poor mans fat. The knock out blow came when cardiologists began linking lard to heart disease.

I was raised in a New England but the kitchen at 109 Parade Hill Road was definitely far south of the Mason-Dixon Line. My Georgia born grandmother didn’t much care for what some guy in a white lab coat had to say about lard. She leaned pretty heavy on it in her cooking. I remember thinking the stuff looked kind of foul sitting there all white and lumpy, I never saw lard in my friends kitchens. With that said, there was never any complaint from me when she melted a big glob of it in a cast iron skillet and made fries or fried pork chops better than the ones I had at my friend’s house.

Caramel Tins

It’s 2013 and lard is slowly creeping its way back into kitchens (although it never left some). Like a death row inmate vindicated by new DNA testing, lard’s return has been aided by evidence that its synthetic counterpart is worse for you, in part due to containing the new bad boy on the block, trans fats. People who understand and work with food everyday are introducing it to the public again and have also helped hasten its return. Chefs are touting its qualities in making great flaky biscuits and pie crusts or frying chicken. You can see an example of this when you walk over to Katie Meddis’ pastry corner at Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop. Katie is using lard instead of butter to make her wildly popular caramels. And she is not hiding lard behind the other ingredients, the big jar they are shoved into says “Caramel’s Made with Lard”. When talking about the jar Katie explains, “A lot of people laugh at it, but then they try it and like it”. She started making them about a year ago and used lard as a way to incorporate meat into sweets flowing with their theme of a meat and sweet shop.

Rose's Lard

Rose’s Lard Caramel

2 cups cream

2 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 cup corn syrup

4 Tbs lard

½ teaspoon salt

Use a spray bottle to lightly spray the bottom of 6 by 6 tin tray and line with parchment paper.

Steep the vanilla in the cream. Then set aside.

*To steep -Place the vanilla bean in the cream and bring to just about steaming for an hour

Boil sugar and syrup to 305 degrees.

Add butter and salt then stir. Slowly add the vanilla cream. Be sure not to lose the boil and bring to a temperature of 240 degrees.

Let stand for 5 minutes then pour into tins. If it is too hard, melt down and add more cream. If it is too soft, boil to 240 degrees. Let sit for 3 hours then cut into desired size and wrap in parchment paper.

Lard Caramel Pour

Roses Meat Market and Sweet Shop on Urbanspoon

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Categories: Recipes


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2 Comments on “Who you calling Lard Ass? Rose’s Lard Caramel”

  1. September 22, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    Great post! I’ve just recently tried these caramels. Thank you and thank Katie for sharing this lovely recipe 🙂

  2. December 19, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    Ive had some home made lard just sitting for a use, So today after I found this, I made popcorn balls and peanut brittle substituting lard and dash of salt for the butter, They turned out great.

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