We visited Kevin Gillespie, Executive Chef of Spokane's Luna restaurant. We gave him some Mangalitsa piglet meat to taste - as we'll be slaughtering a batch of those, and need people to get ready for them.
He compared our hog's fat to that of other hogs. He also showed us products he's made from the hog, but technical difficulties prevent me from uploading the video of it:
He went on to explain that his favorite hog ever was a Red Wattle. The Red Wattle breed is famous for the special flavor of the meat (but it is a lean breed). But he also conceded that our hog's fat was indeed the best he'd ever gotten.
We are very happy with Chef Gillespie's assessment; the hogs with the best fat make the best cured products - and the best cooking fat. Lard is hands down the absolute best cooking fat. If you don't believe me, please read this article in Food & Wine.
And then Chef Gillespie ordered a buch of pork fat - 50lbs - which we'll deliver to him next week - along with more pork. Our pork fat is better suited to some applications than butter - and a lot cheaper. Until very recently, lard was the cooking fat, and pigs were raised for their fat.
We appreciate Chef Gillespie tremendously for being willing to buy our fat!
If you are a consumer and you want to buy lard, don't be surprised if a farmer can't sell you lard from his hogs: almost no USDA processors will make lard for a guy with just a few hogs.
So you'll have to buy fat. But don't be surprised if the farmer wants to deal in big blocks of it. This isn't the farmer's fault: if he asks the slaughterhouse to pack the fat in small packages, they'll refuse, or insist on charging $1/lb for the service - too much work. And legally, the farmer can't just open up his big packages, cut them and repackage them - unless he's a meat processor too.
Don't be afraid about 20 lbs of pork fat. Just render the stuff and keep in a cool, dark place. It keeps a very long time. You can always share it with your foodie friends.
Of course, the fat quality is key - if you use high-PUFA fat from a commodity hog (or a hog raised by a small farmer who doesn't finish the pig properly), expect it to be soft, yellowish and runny. That fat will go rancid quickly, and taste nasty. If you are going to do the work of rendering, why not work with the best fat? Even the best fat doesn't cost much - just $1/lb or so.