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larding-msg - 10/6/18


Inserting fat into meat to tenderize it and to add moisture in period and today. How to do it.


NOTE: See also the files: broths-msg, roast-meats-msg, roast-pork-msg, venison-msg, lamb-mutton-msg, goat-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given  by the individual authors.


Please respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear  at this time. If information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

   Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                         Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 07:10:26 -0400

From: Phil & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - A question about larding


>   I'm about to sound real uneducated here for a little while.  I was

> reading through some recipes in a cookbook and I found a reference to a

> larding needle (They told me to use one to insert piece of bacon fat into a

> piece of steak).  Now I like sewing and embroidery, but I've never heard of

> a larding needle, what it looks like or how to use one.

>   Could someone please enlighten me as to the nature of this edible

> embroidery?


> -Sianan


All right, now, there's nothing to fear, I'm not going to do the Ham Talk or anything!


Larded Beef (or larded anything else) is essentially artificially marbled with

fat. Prime beef, for example, as opposed to lesser grades, has little flecks

of visible fat interspersed through it. By taking a larding needle, which can

be nothing more complex than a really big sewing needle in shape, but

sometimes looks almost like  a big hypodermic needle without the syringe part,

and either attaching a strip of pork fat to the back, in the case of the

former, or filling it with a strip of pork fat in the latter case, you can

insert the pork fat into your meat.


If you have a larding needle that has a clip or hole in the back, allowing for

your strip of fat to trail behind it, you pass your needle entirely through

the meat, until only the fat is inside it, at which point you detach the fat

from the needle and repeat the process. If you have the other standard type,

things are a little easier: you stick the needle into your meat, and either

operate a sort of plunger, or you can just use your finger or a knife tip in

some models, to push the fat in and withdraw the needle at the same time.


You either have to cut the strips you're going to use, or in the case of the

hollow-needle-and-plunger type design, you can sometimes use the needle to cut

the strips from a block of fat, the way you would core an apple, by poking the

needle in, twisting it completely around, and pulling it out. Many cooks who

bother to use this technique at all, though, often like to cut the strips by

hand, so they can do cool stuff like marinating the strips in cognac before

inserting them.


Some people often confuse barding with larding. Barding involves wrapping the

meat (usually a bird of some kind) in one or more sheets of fat, which

protects the meat from drying out, but also generally prevents browning. On

the other hand, the fat used in barding can easily be removed after cooking.


Another aspect is the fat intake, and while that is a concern for many, I

should point out that often a big chunk of meat will have some rather tough,

gristly or gelatinous fat on it, which the cook won't want to remove because

the meat will dry out. Bottom round, or what I think the British-speakers call

silverside, is a classic example. Or, sometimes the last bits of fat on a

piece of meat will be left on by the butcher for moistness, or out of laziness

or incompetence, nowadays, but will conceal bands of elastin which make the

diner feel he or she is chewing on a bullet-proof vest. One of the good things

about larding meat is that you can trim off virtually all the fat from the

surface, if you choose, without the piece of meat drying out in cooking.


There are numerous references to larding meats in period sources, and Le

Menagier de Paris bothers to explain the difference between larding with fat

and studding with cloves or other spices, so evidently there was some

confusion among "laymen" even then. Modernly, it has become very chi-chi to

"lard" with non-fat items like truffles, shredded chilis, seaweed, and various

other stuff.


All right, so I gave the Ham Talk after all...sorry!





Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 06:40:29 -0500

From: maddie teller-kook <meadhbh at io.com>

Subject: Re: SC - A question about larding


A larding needle is a hollow tube. It allows you to add fat to the interior of a

roast to keep it moist and juicy.  This was done since most meat (except pork) had little interior fat or marbling like it does now.   You can get larding needles from the catalogue for 'Sur la Table'. They have 2 sizes.  They are not as readily available as before due to the changes in our diet to use less fat.





Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 08:27:24 -0500

From: a14h at zebra.net (William Seibert)

Subject: Re: SC - A question about larding


maddie teller-kook wrote: (snip)

> You can get larding needles from the catalogue for 'Sur la Table'. They have 2

> sizes.  They are not as readily available as before due to the changes in our

> diet to use less fat.

> Meadhbh


Call a large animal vet and get one of those huge syringes used on horses or cattle. Ask for an 8 or 10 gauge needle.  Works like a charm.

WAJDI (whose favorite kitchen knife is a K-Bar)



Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 10:11:18 -0700

From: "Balldrich BallBarian BoulderBain" <msca at c2i2.com>

Subject: Re: SC - A question about larding


For a better price for a larding needle look in hunt shops that cater to

deer hunters.  We usually lard venison for the overly civilized pallette.

I picked up my first at the Ben Pearson Bow Factory in upper Michigan in

the 70's.  It was, of course, borrowed and never returned by deer hunters

here in Atenveldt about ten years ago.  Hmmm, think I will check on some

venison next time I'm in Mons Trinitrus. . .





Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 16:31:59 -0700 (MST)

From: Ben Engelsberg <bengels at chronic.lpl.arizona.edu>

Subject: SC - Larding venison


I just stumbled on a relatively brilliant, though non-period method for

larding venison and other dry meat.


For those who hate using a larding needle, check this out:


Take a couple thick slices of salt pork, bacon, or other fatty meat (about

3/16" thick). Cut it into wedges a couple of inches long, and 3/4" wide at

one end, and tapered to a point at the other.  Put the pieces laid out on

a heavy plate, and put the plate in your freezer.  Freeze the snot out of

the larding, make sure that it is HARD frozen.  Then, make small holes in

your roast with a sharp knife, and shove the larding in like a nail.  Cap

with slivers of garlic, if you are so inclined.  You should use about 1

piece of larding for every 2" square of surface area.


This worked wonderfully for me a couple of nights ago.  I did not find an

original credit for this method, but the recipe it came with looks like it

came from SOAR.



Date: Tue, 2 May 2000 21:56:00 -0400

From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <harper at idt.net>

Subject: Re: Subject: Re: Subject: SC - tongue


And it came to pass on 30 Apr 00,, that Philip & Susan Troy wrote:

[quoting Balthazar of Blackmoor]

> >  Barding is the process of wrapping the meat in bacon or other

> > fat (such as chicken skin or goose skin with the fat layer intact).


> I haven't seen any period references to barding, that I can recall,

> although there's evidence the concept of protecting the food from the fire

> in various ways was used.


> Adamantius


De Nola has several recipes in which roasted birds are covered with

strips of bacon while cooking.  And there's an Italian recipe in _The

Original Mediterranean Cuisine_ for grilled veal in which a piece of salt

pork is placed on top of the veal in order to keep it moist.


Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Settmour Swamp, East (NJ)



Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2003 19:18:38 -0400

From: "Phil Troy/ G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius at verizon.net>

Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] turkey roasters

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>


Also sprach Generys ferch Ednuyed:

> So tell me more about larding turkeys? I usually stuff butter under the

> skin, which I guess works in a similar way, but the skin doesn't look as

> pretty as it could (the bits with the most butter get over done aka burnt) -

> tastes wonderful though, esp. with lots of rosemary mixed into the

> butter...

> Generys


You cut firm fat, like pork fatback or fatty bacon, into matchstick

strips, say, 1/8 inch x 1/8 inch by two or three inches long. Some

cooks like to marinate these in brandy with chopped herbs. (Keeping

them cold is a good idea, though.)


You then use a larding needle, which is any of several tools, ranging

from the simple to the complex to the bizarre, to poke a hole in the

meat and introduce a matchstick strip of the fat. Some needles are

like large sewing needles, and you just tuck the end of a stick of

fat into the hole/eye, and put a stitch in the meat, leaving the fat

behind so it protrudes from both ends of the hole made by the needle

(like a tunnel). Other needles are hollow, and have a clip in the

back end, which you release when the fat is in the meat. The ones I

like are completely hollow, with a groove running along the length;

with these, you slide the fat strip into the needle, poke the needle

into the meat, and use your thumb (or sometimes there's a little

sliding gizmo built into the needle) to detach the fat from the

needle as you slide it out. I've even seen some of this last type

that have an edge along the groove, so you can poke the needle into a

block of fat, give it a twist, like an apple corer, and pull out the

needle already loaded with fat.


The fat does show, and some would say it spoils the pristine look of

the breast skin of a roast bird, with all the little holes, but if

you do it in neat little rows, it can actually be quite attractive,

especially as the fat sticking out of the bird cooks and browns. Lots

of older cookbooks have drawings of larded birds; they look sort of



Yet another foodway from before the days of central heating and the

discovery of the hardened artery...





Date: Fri, 09 Feb 2007 16:47:09 -0500

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] larding needle; when would you use it?

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


> when and/or why ( not sure there is a difference between the two )  

> would one use a larding needle?

> --

> terry l. ridder ><>


Ivan Day has pictures on his website of meat being larded

with a good explanation.






Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2008 18:06:25 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnnae at mac.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Venison

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>


Larding is described in a number of recipes:

from *A Book of Cookrye   *(England, 1591)

The original source can be found at Mark and Jane Waks' website



To Roast Venison. First perboile it, and then make it tender cast it

into cold water, then Lard it and roste it, and for sauce take broth,

Vinagre, Pepper, Cloves and mace, with a little salt and boile these

togither and serve it upon your Venison.


There are several more in the same book that mention larding vension.


There's a description with nice photos at





Moramarsh at aol.com wrote:

<<< Venison question.

Is the stuffing of meat with fats and spices - larder -  a period  cooking

method? This is the only way I know to fix venison.

Make large slits in to meat across the grain and stuff with bacon fat or  

sausage.Also stuff in to the slits peeled whole cloves of garlic and onion  wedges. cover all and roast in a slow oven for many hours.It melts in your mouth- so tender.


Dragonmarsh >>>



From the Facebook Medieval & Renaissance Cooking and Recipes group on 9/21/13.


Ronald Ramos

<<< I have been reading recently about medieval feasts. It was common for a whole deer or other animal to be spit roasted as part of the feast. According to my resources, the animal would be "larded" as part of the process. Does anyone have a recipe/technique for this? >>>



Jessica Page I have found several recipes in both "The Good Housewife's Jewel" and Scappi's "Opera" I have neither of them on hand (ie on the computer) at the moment. But have read much about "larding". I actually learned the technique from my grandmother. It involves taking strips of fat (usually pork) and sewing them into the flesh of the animal to be roasted. You could also use a knife or a skewer and insert the fat that way as well.


Ea Fleming


Peter Brears' new book, "Cooking and Dining in Tudor and Early Stuart England", discusses English customs of roasting meats. He mentions beef being rubbed with salt and left overnight for the blood to drain. Joints of resh pork "could be tenderized and flavoured by half-submerging thm in a mixture of wine vinegar, salt, bruised juniper-berries and garlic, and turning them twice a day for eight to ten days." This isn't really the same as today's dry rubs but does indicate that some exterior flavoring was used. Another flavoring method, again not a dry rub, was to "lard" the meat with thin strips fo fat or other items such as "orange or lemon peel, anchovies, sprigs of herbs, oyster forcemeat, or whole cloves to impart their respective flavours." (p. 336) Other flavoring methods involved dredging or basting with a batter. "For pigs, flour, nutmeg, ginger, pepper and sugar, after a basting with orange or lemon juice beaten into the egg yolks." (p. 339) Brears goes on to list nine sauce combinations that were used with meats. So, no, no period dry rubs, but there definitely were period methods of enhancing meat flavors.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org