The Naked Pig Rendered Leaf Fat Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What inspired you to create a “lard” product for the modern kitchen?
A: With our family history in farming, we were taught early in life "not to throw anything away". This frugal approach informs a philosophy of minimizing waste and our success is based on our ability to "use everything". Now apply this practice to raising hogs. We can sell every part of the hog except the squeal but "most" consumers only like the pork cuts they are most familiar with like hams, butts, chops and bacon. The "leftovers" or less familiar parts must be creatively marketed or we must find the "right fit" with culinary traditions that value the rest of the pig. Fat and more specifically leaf fat are two parts of the pig that were a main ingredient in our culinary past. Fast forward through the years of "shortening and margarine" and we've circled back to animal fats being a key ingredient in modern food. With a supply of fat sourced from pasture raised hogs that are all Animal Welfare Approved and NonGMO compliant we are able to offer a cooking oil that for many is a missing ingredient on their pantry shelves. It is important for lard to be "naked". The Naked Pig Meat Co. is our platform for being able to serve other families a traditional cooking oil with ingredients they trust.
Q: How do you like to use it in your own kitchen?
A: We use rendered leaf fat (aka: leaf lard) as a 1:1 substitute for all recipes listing oil as an ingredient. We are biased but we also know the value of making moist cakes, pastries, delicious biscuits and pie crusts with leaf lard. We have eliminated the use of vegetable oils from our pantry and instead stock lard and a limited supply of olive oil. If we are low on bacon fat, we certainly use the lard for sauteing veggies and all general cooking (greasing pans, seasoning skillets and searing steaks and roasts). We once fried homemade chocolate chip cookie dough dipped in homemade pancake batter in the lard. Topped with powdered sugar, we had instant front row seats at the July 4th fair!
Q: What are the benefits of cooking with lard?
A: Naked Pig Leaf Fat is a No mystery, single ingredient cooking oil grown locally. A key part of sustainability is creating a resilient farm and food system locally vs importing tropical oils from thousands of miles away. For our farm and the group of farmers in the NC Natural Hog Growers Association this means we market the whole animal to meet culinary goals of modern families. Naked Pig Leaf Lard offers technical benefits being a good source of monounsaturated fat (like butter), high in fat soluble Vitamin D and has a high smoke point good cooking. The list goes on for why we choose Naked Pig Rendered Leaf Fat as our primary cooking oil!
Q: I like to render my own. Can I buy fat from you and render it myself?
A: Sure! Be sure to clarify if you want back fat or leaf fat!
Q: Why do you label it “Rendered Leaf Fat” vs “Leaf Lard”?
A: Technical Speak! USDA and FSIS specifically define any product labeled “Lard” in Section: § 319.702 Lard, leaf lard.
[copied text from CFR-2012-title9-vol2-part319]
(a) Lard is the fat rendered from clean and sound edible tissues from swine. The tissues may be fresh, frozen, cooked, or prepared by other processes approved by the Administrator in specific cases, upon his determination that the use of such processes will not result in the adulteration or misbranding of the lard. The tissues shall be reasonably free from blood, and shall not include stomachs, livers, spleens, kidneys, and brains, or settlings and skimmings. “Leaf Lard” is lard prepared from fresh leaf (abdominal) fat.
(b) Lard (when properly labeled) may be hardened by the use of lard stearin or hydrogenated lard or both and may contain refined lard and deodorized lard, but the labels of such lard shall state such facts, as applicable.
(c) Products labeled “Lard” or “Leaf Lard” must have the following identity and quality characteristics to insure good color, odor, and taste of finished product:
(1) Color - White when solid, Maximum 3.0 red units in a 5 1/4 inch cell on the Lovibond scale.
(2) Odor and taste - Characteristic and free from foreign odors and flavors.
(3) Free fatty acid - Maximum 0.5 percent (as oleic) or 1.0 acid value, as milligrams KOH per gram of sample.
(4) Peroxide value - Maximum 5.0 (as milliequivalents of peroxide per kilogram fat).
(5) Moisture and volatile - matter Maximum 0.2 percent.
(6) Insoluble impurities - By appearance of liquid, fat or maximum 0.05 percent.
(d) Product found upon inspection not to have the characteristics specified in paragraph (c) of this section but found to be otherwise sound and in compliance with paragraph (a) of this section may be further processed for the purpose of achieving such characteristics.
[end copied text]
Although we meet the criteria defined in “(a)” above, The Naked Pig Meat Co. does not harden our product (by the use of added lard stearin or hydrogenated lard or both) nor does Naked Pig Rendered Leaf Fat contain refined lard or deodorized lard as listed in “(b)”.
Q: How is your rendering process different from my home canning process?
A: Naked Pig Rendered Leaf Fat is produced and packaged under Federal Inspection and meets inspection and labeling guidelines administered by USDA FSIS. Strict compliance with food safety GMPs is integral to delivering a food safe product. Process times, process temperatures, procedures for filling, sealing along with raw material specifications are all part of how we create this jar of goodness. The bulk of the credit goes to the hogs raised and our team of professionals.
Q: How do I store it once you ship it to me?
A: On the shelf or in a cabinet is fine until you open it. Once you open the jar, store in your refrigerator or freezer.
Q: I’m looking for a Paleo, Whole30 and Keto “friendly” cooking oil. Can I use this in my cooking?
A: Most certainly!
Q: I grew up eating margarine and shortening. Is eating “lard” another fad?
A: Admittedly there is nothing “fancy” about our rendered leaf fat. It is as pure and unchanged as our grandparents memory and culinary traditions. No fad, just good old fashioned rendered leaf fat for your modern pantry.
Q: The fact that the lard comes from pasture-raised, non-GMO fed pigs raised without chemicals, antibiotics or growth hormones is a huge selling point - I'm curious why the labeling on the jar makes no mention of any those facts?
A: There are three key steps in adding claims to jars governed by USDA FSIS.
Simple phrases like "pasture raised", "nonGMO", "no antibiotics" "animal welfare approved" or "Paleo" are all phrases where the burden of proof is on the manufacturer (that's us!).
So, our pigs are all Animal Welfare Approved certified and compliant. All are also non-GMO project and/or AWA Non-GMO compliant and certified. Pasture raised is no problem and if we pay the Paleo certification folks +$1,000 we can also make that claim.
In order to make the claims legitimately and print labels saying so, our processing partners also have to be certified. Here is the delay.
We launched our jars last November 2017 and needed a simple, honest, transparent label to showcase our leaf fat.
We continue to work through mounds of paperwork to get the same certifications that exist on our pigs to also exist on our jars (that contain the fat from our pigs).
By August 2018 we should have our label claims on our jars.
I hope this helps explain where we are.