A delicacy from Italy, an easy lardo recipe!
Lardo is easier to make than it is to eat. Perhaps that’s not true but asking people to eat cured pork fat raises eyebrows in our fat-fearing culture.
Yet, it is one of the most decadent pleasures of life.
For this reason I’m sharing how to make lardo.
Make it. Eat it. Love it.
What is Lardo?
Putting it simply, lardo is cured fat from the back of the pig.
It’s a thick layer directly below the skin of a pig and takes some care to remove correctly but it’s rarely seen in North America.
Lardo is cured with a salt box method just like pancetta, which is cured pork belly, and mixed with salt, and fresh herbs.
The salt box method draws the moisture and creates a surface that prevents it from spoiling. Most lardo is aged for at least six months.
Making lardo is an art, one that we were so enthralled with that I made the pilgrimage north to Colonnata in Tuscany just to try the lardo di colonnata.
In Colonnata it is cured in white marble boxes and considered the best in the world.
After trying it I would agree.
Why Do People Eat Lardo?
Like most of Italy’s great food it came out of necessity.
Italians famously use every part of the animal, and pork fat was a great source of calories for the lower classes.
Curing it kept the fat from going rancid, but Italians took it one step further and added herbs to make it delicious.
Don’t confuse lardo with lard, which is rendered pig fat.
How to Eat Cured Pig Fat?
Lardo is really versatile. In Modena it’s most commonly combined with garlic and more herbs to create the pesto modenese recipe.
It’s also amazing just warmed on bread or whipped like a pork butter.
At my old restaurant we often served it on its own, thinly sliced with aged balsamic and hazelnuts.
It’s also fantastic with strawberries or raspberries.
How to Make Lardo
Lardo is a commitment because you need to store it for six months, but it’s actually quite an easy cure.
However, the bag you store it in must be black NOT ziploc – it is pork fat and will go rancid when exposed to light.
This is why it’s stored in marble boxes in Colonnata as there is no light.
How to Make Lardo
A delicacy from Italy, learn how to make lardo - cured pork fat.
- 5 lbs fresh skinless pork back fat
- 2 lbs Kosher salt
- 12 cloves garlic minced
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 2 tablespoons black pepper crushed
- 1 tablespoon juniper berries crushed
- 1 star anise crushed
- Mix all ingredients (except pork) together to create the cure mix.
- Place pork in cure mix and distribute evenly.
- Place into a black plastic garbage bag.
- Set in a container to hold in fridge for six months.
- Each month redistribute cure over the pork, ensuring all sides are covered with cure.
- After six months rinse, pat dry.
- Enjoy on its own or on fresh toast.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 50 Serving Size: 1 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 110Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 7058mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 12g
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although BaconisMagic.ca attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
If you love lardo and want to know more about porky delicious foods like this check out my FREE 42-Page Culinary Guide to Modena – one of my favourite cities in Italy.
I can just imagine how delicious that would be with the fattiness and saltiness, YUM. By the way. love the title of your blog.
Thanks for the kind words. It is amazing, and so easy to make!
Wow. That is a lot of time to wait for the perfect meal. I wonder if I could wait that long for something that sounds so delicious!
My mouth is watering!
Your pics and descriptions are fantastic! I also traveled up the mountain and tried the lardo, saw the vats and talked to the ‘maker’ in September. The smells, sights and tastes were like no other! Thx for the post…
I was reading the rescipe and was wondering why you need to place a black plastic garbage bag over the container. Does it have to do with preventing light from getting into the product?
The white fat will turn a yellow-ish colour when exposed to light. So in the marble box it stays pristine white because there is no light or air. A black bag or box will keep it dark and white.
Is it hung? I have read a few recipes for Lardo, and one (an American one) suggests hanging it for 3-4 weeks (still protected from light), so I was wondering….
If you don’t put it in a marble box you can hang it. Light will make it turn yellow so you’ll want to cover it in cheesecloth.
What temperature do you need to keep the lardo at while curing?
Does it need to be in stainless steel , the.n wrapped in a black bag or just in the bag? Or would a Tupperware and a bag work. I just got some fatback from a local farm and future-me is so excited to taste this.
If the tupperware is glass it would work, but not plastic.
I’m thinking that it will start to render some moisture after a few days. If this happens, to you discard the moisture, and add more dry cure mix? Or just keep turning it in the briney liquid every week or so? Thanks.
If you use the marble box there won’t be much moisture. Otherwise just leave it as is. It is similar to pancetta, the salt draws it out, but that’s a normal part of the curing process.
I wonder if you can just place it on a rack in a glass dish and cover the whole thing with a black bag. That way the juices just drop down and not sit on the fat. ??
You could do that but there’s no reason to do so in the initial stages.
I think an used washed tetrapack box (e.g. from milk) could be optimal for the preparation of lardo.
Hello, quick question, can lordo be frozen?
If stored in the fridge how long does it last?
Thank you soo much
As it’s pig fat it will keep in the fridge for a long time as it’s cured which is a preservation method. Keep the light away from it as it will begin to turn yellow. But I wouldn’t freeze it as it will change the texture.
In my father-in-laws house in northern Italy lardo doesn’t last very long, even at Christmas time when he buys it a kilo at a time. When I first saw it in 2000, I was curious about it. After the first paper thin slice I was hooked. He has his own meat slicing machine too. I’m able to eat 2-300 grams at a time. So my question is why in all that is culinarily holy would you want to freeze lardo?!
Thank you for wealth of information, broadening our culinary tastes and culture. I’m born American, but 1/2 Italian and 1/2 Belgian by blood. Raised eating and speaking in a European family was a real treat, now trying to learn to make authentic foods brings great pleasure and wonderful taste. We appreciate your recipes and directions. Much thanks!
Having read this I thought it was very enlightening. I appreciate you spending
some time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments.
But so what, it was still worthwhile!
Very excited to be trying this for the first time. Thanks for the information and tips! I see from one of the pictures there is some dark discoloration. I’m one month into the process and see the same small dark spots showing up. Is this normal, or should I be worried? It is double sealed in a black bag in the bottom of a fridge, so light exposure is not an issue. Thanks for your thoughts!
I’m curious about these marble boxes, what are the dimensions of the marble boxes and do these boxes have lids too?
The boxes are many sizes from the ones that are larger than a coffin in Colonnata to the smaller one I bought that was about 12 inches x 6 inches. They do have lids. Here’s a bit more with photos on Colonnata that may help:
Hi! I love lardo, and have made it several times. The main problem is finding pigs with enough fat on them. That’s probably why it’s not often seen in North America, where most pigs are injected with Ractopamine, so they grow faster, and are too lean for lardo.
You definitely need to have a good relationship with a farmer, and if you’re just interested in making lardo you need to talk to your butcher well in advance so they know you want the fat. Sadly so many people trim the fat and it’s the best part.
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