Made in the South Awards 2017

The Naked Pig Meat Co.

Food runners-up Shawn and Jenny Hatley bring lard back to the standard Southern pantry

photo: ALISON GOOTEE

The Naked Pig Meat Co.'s kettle-rendered pork leaf fat.

Recognizing the superiority of a lard—lard!—may seem a bit ambitious, but do this: Try cooking with it first. Like an understated set in a Tony-winning play, a good lard quietly
improves whatever you decide to feature center stage—baked goods, omelets, fried chicken. The Naked Pig Meat Co., run by Shawn and Jenny Hatley—members of a fourth- generation North Carolina farming family—follows in the footsteps of earlier generations who got rendered pork leaf fat right. That starts with raising meat “we would want to feed our kids,” Shawn says, “which means no funk, no junk.” Their hogs are allowed to root around in pastures, and are free of chemicals and antibiotics. The lard gets processed in small batches, then triple filtered and hand bottled in glass jars. In its classic form, it imbues a luxurious layer of umami to whatever it touches. And it gives off a bright, clean aroma while positively shimmering in the pan.

>Kettle-rendered pork leaf fat, $9 from thenakedpig.com


MORE MADE IN THE SOUTH:

> Food winner: Milton’s Local
> Food runner-up: The Naked Pig Meat Co.
> Food runner-up: Congaree and Penn
> Food runner-up: ’Chups Craft Condiments

See all winners and runners-up


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