What does “larding” do for venison, anyway?

That from reader Rose, and it’s a good question. Deer hunters and/or their families know the reason why: because venison is very lean meat. A cut like a tenderloin is particularly so. It doesn’t have much connective tissue in it, so it isn’t tough, but even when it’s properly roasted, it’s dry. So in-the-know venison lovers add fat to a cut like a tenderloin by “larding” it with strips of chilled fat, usually pork fat. This is accomplished with a long, skinny, hollow utensil called a lardoire or “larding needle” that allows a cook to load in a strip of fat, push the needle through the meat, then use a sliding lever to hold the fat in place while the needle is removed. The lard melts in the heat and the tenderloin emerges from the oven both tender and juicy.

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