There is some movement (backed with some literature) that using animal fats and oils are nutritionally superior to packaged oil (e.g., vegetable, canola).

What is the expert perspective on using oil rendered from pork fat, say, from the fat cap of a cut of pork shoulder? I think it has some off-taste, however upon simmering in a dish that I used it for, it became unnoticeable.

  • 1
    Please provide citation on nutritionally superior and definition of nutritionally superior,
    – paparazzo
    Nov 15, 2017 at 6:22
  • 3
    @Paparazzi please do not ask for this information, it is off topic and and edit in this direction would have to be removed or could lead to closing of the question. Wearashirt, your question is just on the acceptable side of nutrition related information (it mentions it as a reason but does not go into details about it, and the answer would be the same if it had not been mentioned), please leave it this way at least in this regard. The worst that can happen is if people start discussing whether the claim is correct, then we'd have to remove that part and leave the rest about flavor intact.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 15, 2017 at 8:12
  • 1
    @rumtscho If nutrition is off topic then an unsupported claim of nutritionally superior should be off topic.
    – paparazzo
    Nov 15, 2017 at 11:21
  • 1
    @Paparazzi The claim doesn't matter for the question. It is just a bit of fluff. The OP could have said "I want to use lard because somebody gave me 5 kg for my birthday", and the answers would have been the same. If we start discussing whether the claim is true or not, or people starting to write answers which take into account that claim, it would have to go. Right now, it can be ignored. Deleting it from the question is an option, but not required as long as it doesn't interfere with discussion and answers. Leaving it is an option. Extending it, providing support, etc. is not.
    – rumtscho
    Nov 15, 2017 at 13:19
  • 4
    If the paragraph is extraneous, it should in fact be edited away. (I think it should, because the lead paragraph should be a brief summary of the actual question, not elaboration of context.) But in that case, why ask for clarification that would just add more fluff that’s even more useless? You’re just badgering the OP about a silly tangent several other people had no problem recognizing as insubstantial and that didn’t impede them from answering the question, which is about the flavour of the fat. If anything it’s answers that need to support claims made in them, not questions.
    – millimoose
    Nov 15, 2017 at 14:34

4 Answers 4


I wouldn't describe it as an "off taste", for me it is the tasty flavor of pork fat, commonly known as lard. But yes, it is certainly not taste neutral. It only gives a slight to moderate hint in baking (e.g. in pie crust) and gets really strong when you heat it more, e.g. when you fry in it or baste a roast.

For a comparison of the smell, think bacon.

  • 2
    For sweet baking, I think what’s used is “leaf lard”, fat from deposits around the internal organs, not the muscles, which should be flavorless. That said, I have no idea how one would track that down.
    – millimoose
    Nov 15, 2017 at 15:26
  • 2
    @millimoose in Poland you can buy it at wholesale market as "confectionery lard". Simple as that.
    – Mołot
    Nov 17, 2017 at 14:22
  • Thanks for the hint. Too bad google substitutes “fat” for “lard” in searches so it’s going to take a bit of creative looking still
    – millimoose
    Nov 17, 2017 at 14:30

I do that all the time, I don't do it because it's healthier, I do it because I prefer the taste.

Ultimately, though, the answer of if it is "good" is subjective.


It sounds like to me that you are looking for a neutral tasting fat on the saturated fat side of the spectrum (though maybe you are specific to animal fats). Unfortunately, I don't think there is one (at least to my knowledge) that doesn't impart some flavor.

Animal fats I have personally tried are lard/leaf-lard, tallow, buffalo, chicken fat, and duck (duck is really good!). Though not an animal fat, coconut oil falls into this category of saturated fats (actually more saturated than those above with tallow being next in line). If you get virgin coconut oil (not expeller pressed) the flavor imparted onto the food can be pretty minimal. Oh, and there's also MCT oil which is made from coconut oil which is flavorless but large amounts of this I feel make the food taste like it comes from a health food store ;P

I usually like to cook meats in their corresponding fats. Pork in lard, Beef in tallow, etc.

As for other things, I usually use tallow (from grass-fed cows) and lard (from pasture raised pigs)


I use it for savoury dishes that need high heat because rendered fat is, I think, fairly heat-stable, easier to track down here than peanut oil, and cheaper in the case of pork lard. (The heat stability might have an impact on health, because burned vegetable oils may be detrimental; but that in itself is inconclusive of whether or not it’s healthier in general to consume one over the other.)

Since the supermarket stores both pork, chicken, and duck fat, I usually just use the same source of fat as the meat I’m using, and the match should prevent an off flavour being noticeable. As far as I understand, it’s fat that holds most of the specific flavour of a meat, so the “off” flavour you heard of is probably that pork fat make something taste like pork etc.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.