In the last few decades, lard has gotten a bad wrap in the U.S. From playground name-calling to the low-fat (and high chemical) diet of the 90s, we became scared of pig fat. We imagined it as a heart attack in a tub, a spoonful of which will immediately clog every artery in your body and you might as well just give up right then and there.
But here's the thing - first off, fresh, naturally rendered pork fat is a completely different product than the whipped, hydrogenated stuff you find in the supermarket. And lard actually contains about half the cholesterol and one-third of the saturated fat of butter. Really.
So, cooking with it once in while will not kill you. What it will do is make all your food taste a lot, a lot better. And
Hopefully, at some point, every man is gonna break down a whole fish. Ideally, you'd catch it yourself, but perhaps a friend or neighbor may drop one off for you to enjoy. But, really, you're gonna catch one at some point, or be on a camping trip when someone else does, and you get to be the guy that says, "oh yeah, I know what to do with that."
If you're the type of guy who pays attention to food or restaurant type things, you know "America's most celebrated butcher," Pat LaFrieda. His story, philosophy, and technique don't take meat for granted, but instead honor the fact that 1) it's not a commodity product 2) meat is expensive, and deserves to be treated well.
Everyone knows that a properly cooked steak from the rib and loin - the porterhouse, the strip, the T-bone, the ribeye, the tenderloin - is something worth savoring. And everybody also knows that these cuts can be expensive, especially the overpriced & flavor-lacking filet.
But for years, butchers have known of "secret" tastier cuts hidden inside the legs of the animal - the chuck and the round - that have much more beefy flavor, but are