Though beef might seem like the quintessential American meat, when it comes to fat, pork is where it's at. When European settlers came to these shores, they brought along both animals, but unlike the latter, the lard was prized almost as highly as the meat due to its versatility as a baking and frying agent, temperature stability, high caloric value and all-around excellent taste. Later on in the South, enslaved and poor people used lard (and every last scrap of the hog) to add flavor and extend often meager rations, eventually evolving into an essential part of the cuisine that was distinct to the region and beloved beyond it.
Should you not care to render your own lard, a trusted local butcher or online purveyor can help you pig out on this classic fat.
Make James Villas's lard-packed Bacon-Cheddar Biscuits.