An important step before cooking on your griddle is to season it, and one of the frequently asked questions asked is whether you can season a Blackstone griddle with lard.
The answer to this question is yes!
Lard can be used to season a Blackstone griddle. It is a type of fat that has been used for seasoning cast iron cookware for centuries and works just as fine on cold-rolled steel griddles.
Is it the best stuff to season your griddle with? Maybe not, but a lot of people swear by it and have had great success with it.
Let’s take a closer look at lard and why it is suitable for griddle seasoning. We’ll also explore some alternatives that you can consider if lard isn’t an option. To gain further insight, keep reading!
Table of Contents
- What Is Lard and How Is It Made?
- How To Season Your Blackstone Griddle with Lard
- Do You Have To Apply Lard Every Time You Are Cooking?
- Will Lard Go Rancid When Used for Seasoning?
- Lard Alternatives for Griddle Seasoning
- Final Thoughts
What Is Lard and How Is It Made?
Lard is a semi-solid fat that is obtained from pig fat. It can be obtained from any part of the pig that has high-fat content. The quality of lard varies based on which part of the body it has been obtained from. Leaf lard is the highest quality lard and it is obtained from fatty tissues located inside the loin and from those surrounding kidneys.
The traditional rendering process involves simmering the fat in a pot with a small amount of water until it has melted and the impurities have separated. This can take several hours.
Lard has a long history of use in cooking and baking, dating back centuries. It was once a common ingredient in many recipes and was used similarly to butter.
In the late 20th century, lard was deemed unhealthy due to its high content of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol. This led to a decline in its popularity and the rise of vegetable oils and shortenings such as Crisco. However, in recent years, lard has been making a comeback thanks to some negative publicity that targeted vegetable oils.
What is the smoke point of lard?
The smoke point of lard is around 374°F (190°C), which is not the highest, nor the lowest when compared to other fats and oils.
Lard has a higher smoke point than butter (around 302°F / 150°C), but a lower smoke point than some other oils, such as olive oil (around 410°F / 210°C) or avocado oil (around 520°F / 270°C). However, lard is still considered a good oil for high-heat cooking.
How To Season Your Blackstone Griddle with Lard
Ready to learn how to use lard for seasoning? It’s a cinch!
Let’s have a look at the process:
- Clean the griddle: Before you start, make sure the griddle is clean. If you’re using a new griddle, it’s easy, but if it’s an older one, you may need to strip the old seasoning if it’s flaking or heavily scratched. This might not be fun, but it’s worth it.
- Turn up the heat: Turn up the heat, but don’t dial it up high right away. Medium heat is fine to start.
- Apply lard: Use a paper towel or lint-free cloth to apply the lard to the griddle surface. Spread it evenly across the entire cooking surface, including the sides of the griddle. The heat will quickly melt the lard, making it easy to spread around. Make sure to apply a thin layer, and if you apply too much and it starts pooling, wipe it off with another paper towel.
- Turn up the heat: Once the lard is applied, turn up the heat to allow it to polymerize and form the non-stick coating.
- Wait and watch: Wait for 10 to 15 minutes while the shortening smokes. During this time, the shiny layer of fat will start to turn black (or possibly brown at first), and that’s exactly what you want.
- Repeat: Turn down the heat and let the griddle cool a bit. Repeat steps 3 to 5 three to four times. By the end, you should have a nice black finish on your griddle top.
For a detailed look at griddle seasoning, take a peek at my comprehensive blog post on griddle seasoning. You won’t regret it – promise!
Do You Have To Apply Lard Every Time You Are Cooking?
No, you don’t have to re-apply lard every time you are cooking. With proper care, seasoned griddles are long-lasting and require only a single seasoning to last you for an extended period.
Each time you cook with oil, the seasoning layer will grow, leaving you with a super non-stick surface. After cooking is complete and before storing it away, be sure to apply a thin layer of oil onto the griddle; this helps protect against any moisture that would cause rusting.
You don’t even have to use lard for cooking if you don’t want to. Any you splash onto your griddle during BBQ parties will build up the seasoning layer too.
If you detect that the non-stick coating is beginning to peel away, it might be time to re-season the griddle.
Will Lard Go Rancid When Used for Seasoning?
You may have come across advice that warns against using lard for seasoning as it may turn rancid over time. This is not correct per se.
Rancidification is the process of oxidation or hydrolysis of fats and oils that occurs when they are exposed to air, light, moisture, or bacteria. This process can cause unpleasant odors and flavors in food and can also reduce the nutritional value of food.
When the lard, or any other fat, is used to season a griddle, it undergoes a chemical transformation due to heat. The heat causes a reaction called polymerization, which results in the formation of long chains of molecules. These chains create a solid layer that bonds to the surface of the griddle.
The repeated application of lard builds up this layer, resulting in a non-stick surface. Once the fat is transformed into a polymer, there is nothing left that can go rancid.
However, when you coat your cookware or griddle with a bit of fat before storage, that fat indeed is vulnerable to oxidation and rancidification.
That includes lard as well. With normal usage and proper storage, however, this should not be an issue. If you use your griddle once or twice a year, then yes, the coat can go rancid but it’s got nothing to do with seasoning.
Lard Alternatives for Griddle Seasoning
- Vegetable Oil: A popular alternative, usually made from soybean oil, for those who want to avoid using animal products, vegetable oil can also be used for griddle seasoning.
- Coconut Oil: Another alternative to lard that has a high smoke point and adds a unique flavor to food. Coconut oil is semi-solid at room temperature just similar to lard or vegetable shortenings like Crisco.
- Canola Oil: A neutral-tasting oil that can be used for griddle seasoning and is relatively affordable compared to other oils. Very high smoke point.
- Olive Oil: While not as high in smoke point as other oils, olive oil can be used for griddle seasoning.
- Avocado Oil: A high-smoke-point oil with a mild, nutty flavor. Popular among griddle enthusiasts.
In conclusion, griddle seasoning with lard is a relatively simple process. Although not as popular as it used to be, lard can still be used to create a durable seasoning layer.
So if you have lard around and need to season your griddle or possibly cast iron cookware, then don’t hesitate to reach for the lard. Vegetable oils or vegetable shortenings are much more popular choices though.
If you wish you can check out some of my other articles involving griddle seasoning here:
Does using lard for griddle seasoning affect the taste of food?
No, seasoning does not affect the taste of food cooked on the griddle. What can affect the taste is when you apply a protective coat of oil or fat on the griddle before storage. Then if you don’t heat the griddle to a high enough temperature, some of the taste may be perceived.
How do I clean and maintain a griddle seasoned with lard?
What you seasoned your griddle with doesn’t matter when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. Avoid using detergents and scrubbers, as this can damage the seasoning layer.
How does lard compare to other oils for griddle seasoning in terms of durability?
Lard provides very durable seasoning. I haven’t seen any reports of problems with the seasoning layer.