Son of a Biscuit

A Southern food guru's secret ingredient

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Most biscuit recipes lack the very ingredient that makes the pastry perfectly moist and flaky: lard. Luckily, this flavorless fat hasn't fallen out of favor south of the Mason-Dixon, where biscuits are gospel. Southern-food scribe James Villas understands that lard–and only lard–is the secret to sublime biscuit texture. In this savory version from his new cookbook, Pig: King of the Southern Table, Villas enhances his fluffy biscuits with a generous amount of bacon and cheddar cheese. When you're cooking with lard, you might as well go whole hog.

Recipe adapted from Pig: King of the Southern Table (Wiley)

Bacon-Cheddar Biscuits
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A Southern food guru's secret to better biscuits
Servings
18
biscuits
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • ⅓ cup chilled lard, cut into small cubes, plus more for greasing baking sheet
  • ½ pound sliced applewood-smoked bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
  • ½ pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup milk
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne. Add the lard by cutting it into the flour with a pastry blender (or two knives) until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the bacon, cheese and milk and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 4 to 5 times--no more or the biscuits will become tough. Gently pat the dough into a round about ½ inch thick, and cut out rounds with a 2-inch-round biscuit cutter. Pat the scraps together and repeat.
  4. Arrange the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet about ½ inch apart and bake in the upper third of the oven until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm, or let cool and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
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