What on earth is schmaltz?

Schmaltz is simply rendered chicken fat (although you can utilize goose, duck, and even turkey as well.)


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  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x



1 lb. Chicken Fat and Skin

1 White Onion, diced




  1. Rinse and pound the skin, then chop rough into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Pat dry, then place in a nonstick pan over low heat.
  3. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Turn up heat to medium low and break apart skin.
  5. Add the white onion and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Keep stirring until the fat turns golden brown.
  7. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. The resulting liquid is schmaltz, a yellowish fat.


The strained skin and fat can be used to make chicken skin bacon. Place the cooked skin and one diced onion in a nonstick pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook on medium heat until golden brown. When the skin is caramelized, dump it onto a tray lined with paper towels. These make a great addition to salad.

When stored in the refrigerator, schmaltz will keep for weeks.

Information contained within is an excerpt from The New Charcuterie Cookbook by Jamie Bissonnette. Purchase the book here.

Fatback: Lardo



Lardo, or pork butter, is an awesome alternative to butter. using this basic recipe, you can make any number of flavored versions. The first recipe listed here makes a salty, savory, and sweet version that’s perfect for bread or grilled vegetables. Recipes for black truffle honey butter and pepperoni-pizza lardo follow.


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Fatback: Lardo

  • Author: Jill Baker
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x


Units Scale

5 lbs. Pork Fat; any type, hard or soft, including lard or skin

1 c. Dry White Wine

1c. Water

5 Cloves Garlic

1 Fresh Bay Leaf

2 Sprigs Thyme

Salty/Savory/Sweet Version
1 Tbsp. Green Curry
1 Tbsp. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
1 tsp. Chopped Garlic
2 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
1 tsp. Coarse Sea Salt or Fleur de Sel

Black Truffle Honey Butter
1 Tbsp. Rosemary, chopped
1 Tbsp. Honey
2 Tbsp. Fresh Black Truffles, chopped

Pepperoni Pizza Flavored
1 tsp. Smoked Paprika

1 tsp. Red Chili Flakes
1 tsp. Granulated Garlic
1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Sea Salt


Preparing The Pork Fat
Cut the pork fat into 1-inch pieces. Use a crockpot or a very heavy-bottomed Dutch oven with a lid. Put everything in the pot.
If using a crockpot, cook 2 hours on high followed by 2 hours on low. If using a Dutch oven, cook on low, stirring every 10-15 minutes for 3 to 4 hours.
Once the pork fat is cooked, strain it through a fine-mesh sieve. Place it in a casserole dish, press with a 3-4 lb. weight and cool until it’s firm like butter.

Salty/Savory/Sweet Version
Put 2 cups of the prepared fat in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and add green curry, sugar, line juice, garlic, and fish sauce. Cream until it resembles whipped butter, then transfer it to a dish until ready for serving.
Serve on grilled bread with fleur de sel.
(Reserve the other 2 cups of the prepared pork fat for use in confit or other uses.)

Black Truffle Honey Butter
Once the pork fat is firm, put 2 cups in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and add 1 Tbsp. chopped rosemary, 1 Tbsp. honey, and 2 Tbsp. fresh, chopped black truffles. Cream until it’s the consistency of whipped butter and transfer it to a dish for serving.

Once the pork fat is firm, put 2 cups in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and add 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika, 1 tsp. red chili flakes, 1 tsp. granulated garlic, 1 tsp. ground black pepper, 1 tsp. olive oil, and 1 tsp. sea salt. Cream until it’s the consistency of whipped butter and transfer it to a dish for serving.
This butter can be refrigerated in plastic wrap for up to 6 months.


Information contained within is an excerpt from The New Charcuterie Cookbook by Jamie Bissonnette. Purchase the book here.

Basic Recipes for Sausage


These are basic combinations to use as foundations for any sausage recipe!



Poultry OR Rabbit

3 3/4 pounds Poultry or Rabbit, boneless and skinless
1 1/4 pound Pork Back Fat
2 Tbsp. Fine Sea Salt
5 pounds Basic Poultry or Rabbit Sausage


4 1/2 pounds Pork Picnic, boneless
8 ounces Pork Back Fat


5 pounds Pork Boston Butt, boneless
2 Tbsp. Fine Sea Salt
5 pounds Basic Pork Sausage


3 pounds Lamb Shoulder, boneless
2 pounds Lean Lamb Foreshank or Hind Shank, boneless
2 Tbsp. Sea Salt
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
5 pounds Basic All-Lamb Sausage


2 1/2 pounds Lamb Shoulder, boneless
2 1/2 Pork Picnic, boneless
2 Tbsp. Sea Salt
5 pounds Basic Lamb and Pork Sausage


5 pounds Beef Chuck or Brisket, untrimmed
2 Tbsp. Sea Salt
5 pounds Basic All-Beef Sausage


3 pounds, Beef Chuck or Brisket, untrimmed
2 pounds Pork Boston Butt
2 Tbsp. Sea Salt
5 pounds Basic Beef and Pork Sausage



Don’t forget to use the seasoning chart to create unique sausages!

This information is an excerpt from In the Charcuterie by Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller. To purchase click here.

Basic Sausage Method



The process for making nearly every kind of sausage begins with the same steps. First, you assemble a spice kit and cut the meat. Next, you mix the meat with spices, leave it to marinate for a while, and then grind it. Once it is ground, the meat is mixed by hand. The sausage is now ready to use or ready to case.


Step 1: Assemble the Spice Kit

Your spice kit consists of the ingredients you will be using to flavor your sausage. Many sausage-making supply companies sell ready-made spice kits, but toasting and grinding your own spices makes a difference you can taste.
Begin by measuring the salt. Then measure your spices. If the recipe call for toasted spices, you will want to toast them in a 325° F oven for 3-5 minutes. Allowing them to cool, then grind them together in a spice grinder. For most sausage, unless otherwise indicated, you will want to grind your spices very finely. Mix the ground spices with the salt. If the recipe calls for garlic, mince it finely and then add it to the spice kit along with any whole spices.

Step 2: Cutting

Cut the meat into relatively uniform cubes that are smaller than the opening of your grinder (for most grinders, 1-inch cubes are best). Remove any blood vessels, tendons, or glands. Place the cubed meat in a nonreactive bowl or container large enough to allow room for mixing.

Step 3: Marinating

Evenly distribute half of the contents of the spice kit over the meat. Using your hands, mix the meat will until evenly coated. Add the second half of the kit and mix again. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or for up to 2 days to allow the seasonings to permeate the meat.

Step 4: Chilling

Sausage likes to be kept cold. Chilling both your meat and parts of the grinder helps to avoid grinding issues such as smearing (see note). Keeping the meat cold before and during the process also extends the shelf life of the finished sausage. After cutting and marinating the meat, be sure to refrigerate it for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight, so that it is thoroughly chilled. You can also refrigerate the parts of the grinder. Keep everything refrigerated until you are ready to grind.

Step 5: Grinding

Whichever type of grinder you use, the mechanics and setup are essentially the same. Begin by attaching the feeder tube to the base of the machine. Insert the worm into the tube (refer to your machine’s owners manual to see part names). Attach the blade or knife, flat side out, to the worm. Most grinders come with multiple plates to allow you to very the size of the grind. Choose the plate for the type of grind you are trying to achieve. Attach the plate flush with the openings of the feeder tube. Screw the collar onto the end of the tube securely, but do not overtighten. If your grinder is equipped with a tray, attach it to the top of the feeder tube.
You will need a wide nonreactive bowl or container that fits easily under the grinder to catch the ground meat. Remove the meat from the refrigerator. If you are using an electric grinder turn it on. Feed the meat into the tube, once piece at a time. Let the machine do the work rather than push too much meat through the grinder at once. If you are using an electric grinder, allow the machine to run for a full minute after the last of the meat has been fed through the tube to expel any remnants. Wipe the face of the plate clean while the machine is still running and then turn the machine off. In most cases, you will grind a batch of meat only once. The exceptions are burger meat, beef fat, lamb fat, and sausages with a very smooth consistency, which need to be ground twice.

Step 6: Mixing

Seasoned, ground sausage meat, also known as the farce or forcemeat, needs to be mixed thoroughly by hand for 1 to 2 minutes. This action, similar to kneading bread, helps to develop the proteins that bind the sausage together. It also ensures that the seasoning are evenly distributed throughout. When a more homogenous texture is desired, some sausage meat is mixed further in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a food processor. This process is called emulsifying.

Step 7: Tasting

Scoop up about 2 Tbsp. of well-mixed farce and shape into a small, flat patty. Cook the patty in a small pan over medium heat. Evaluate the taste and texture. If the sausage seems dry and crumbly, incorporate a small amount of ground fat. If the seasoning needs to be more pronounced, add more salt or spices. If the sausage is too highly seasoned for your taste, add a small amount of unseasoned ground meat and ground fat to help to absorb some of the excess.
Remember, it is much easier to add salt and spices than it is to lessen their intensity once the farce is prepared. If you tend to like mildly seasoned sausage, start with about half the amount of salt and spices and add more to taste if needed.

Note on Smearing

If the fat begins to squeeze out of the sides of the grinder in shiny, flat ribbons or through the die in greasy-looking streaks, STOP! You have smearing, a condition that can ruin the texture of your sausage. You need to halt grinding, identify the cause, and remedy the situation.

Here are three primary causes and their solutions:

1. The grinder or the meat is too warm. Check the temperature of the meat and the grinder. Wash the grinder, chill down the grinder parts and any unground meat for 30 minutes, and start over.
2. The knife is inserted backward. Take apart the grinder. Wash and chill the parts and reassemble carefully, making sure the knife is facing flat side out.
3. The knife blade is dull. Knife blades do wear out over time. Keeping a spare blade on hand is always a good idea. Replace the blade and make sure to have the old blade sharpened.


This information is an excerpt from In the Charcuterie by Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller. To purchase click here.

Rendering Fats



Rendering is the process of slowly cooking solid raw fats to evaporate their water and extract a versatile, purified fat for cooking. Rendering them yourself is simple and economical, especially if you are already purchasing large cuts or whole animals.


    1. Grind, Grate, or Chop Your Fat.
      Begin with chilled fat. Grinding fat in a meat grinder will expose more surface area resulting in a higher yield. Ground fat will also render more quickly. Cut the fat into 1/2-inch cubes and freeze for about 45 minutes. Once the fat has a light freeze, follow the instructions for grinding, step five (found here). Alternatively, for small amounts of pork, beef, or lamb fat, grate thoroughly chilled or partially frozen chunks of fat on the large holes of a box grater. For smaller amounts of poultry fat, chop the fat as finely as possible by hand.
    2. Choose the Right Pot.
      Select an appropriate-size, heavy-bottomed, tall-sided pot. For large amounts (5-10 pounds), use a tall stockpot. For smaller amounts (say, the cavity fat from a duck), a deep saucepan or a Windsor pan (flared sided and flat bottom) will be sufficient. The fat should fill the pot at least halfway but not more than three-fourths. Too much fat in the pot risks splattering and too little or using too shallow a pan risks burning. Add about 2 Tbsp. water for every pound of fat to help hasten the melting process and prevent sticking. The added water will cook off quickly after the fat melts.
    3. Simmer the Fat.
      Set the pot over very low heat. Stir the fat every few minutes to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If the fat begins to stick, add a small amount of water to help loosen the fat. Once the fat has melted, turn up the heat to medium and simmer until steam is no longer visible. Cooking times will vary depending on the water content of the fat. Turn off the heat and let the fat cool in the pot for 20-30 minutes. The solids will fall to the bottom of the pot.
    4. Strain the Fat.
      Ladle the fat through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean glass jar or other container to remove any solids. A locking-lid glass jar is ideal. Keep refrigerated. The chilled fat should be quite firm. However, if it seems loose or watery, return it to the pan and simmer for an additional 20 minutes to evaporate any extra moisture. Properly stored, rendered fat will keep for 3 months in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.

A Note About Collecting Pan Drippings

Drippings are the delicious by-products of roasting and searing. They are the fat that literally drips from the meat when you cook a roast, fry bacon, or brown a duck breast. The fat that is rendered this way will not be as unadulterated as traditionally rendered fat, but it is still worth saving for sautéing greens, roasting vegetables, or adding flavor to a pot of beans.
To collect the drippings, pour the accumulated fat and juices through a strainer into a clear glass jar or measuring cup. Allow the drippings to cool until the fat separates from the jus (juices). Ladle off the fat into another container and save the jus for a pan sauce or for enriching soups or braises. Refrigerated, most drippings will keep well for several weeks.



This information is an excerpt from In the Charcuterie by Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller. To purchase click here.


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  • Author: Jill Baker


Health friends like their slices lean, but a real aficionado knows that all the flavour is in the fat. If that’s true, then lardo di Colonnata must be the acme of baconly delight. This Italian salume is pure backfat, at least 1 1/4-inches (3 cm) thick, cured with salt and herbs. Colonnata is a district of Carrara, where the beautiful white marble of which much of Rome is built was quarried. Traditionally the lardo is cured in tanks made of Carrara marble. The sight of a slab of pure backfat, nestling in a tub of blinding white marble, might well have greeted Michelangelo when he nipped into the quarry for a lump to carve his David.
Excerpt taken from Charcuterie from Scratch by Tim Hayward


Units Scale

1 Large Piece of Fat from the Back of the Pig’s Neck; it needs to be a good 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick

1 1/8 lb. (500 g) Salt

Fresh Thyme

3 Juniper Berries, crushed


Trim the fat of any shreds of meat and pare away the skin.

Lay two or three disposable wooden chopsticks in the bottom of a non-reactive dish, then bury them in a layer of salt seasoned with the thyme and juniper berries.

Lay the fat on top of the salt layer and cover it thickly with more of the seasoned salt. The fat will not yield quantities of liquid like meat, so, the chopsticks are usually sufficient to keep the meat in contact with the dry salt and raised out of any pooling moisture.

Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge, turning, pouring off the liquid and re-bury every could of days. After 10-14 days the lardo should be ready to eat – slice it very thinly while still at fridge temperature, then eat it draped on grilled (broiled) bread on which you’ve rubbed a cut clove of garlic – but the Italians leave it much longer. Cured backfat has an excellent shelf life, much extended by modern refrigeration, but I’ve never managed to keep a piece in my fridge for more than a fortnight without eating the lot.


This recipe and information contained within it is an excerpt taken from Charcuterie from Scratch by Tim Hayward
Purchase the book here.


Keywords: Lardo, Pork Fat, Fat, Cured Fat