Q: Hello Dr. BBQ:
I was given some venison steaks that I want to grill but they are really lean and I’m afraid they will dry out. I’ve heard about a technique called “larding.” Can you explain how that’s done?
–Billy in Birmingham
A: Hi Billy,
Larding is an old butcher technique where strips of fat are pushed into a piece of meat using a “Larding Needle” which is a tool that carries the fat through the meat and can then be extracted leaving the fat in place. It’s not something you see much these days because people are so fat conscious and also because it’s so labor intensive. It is however a good trick to fatten up game. I’m not sure steaks are the best choice but it’s worth a try. You’ll need to get some beef fat from a butcher—if you tell him what you”re doing he will take care of you. The larding needle is self-explanatory if you have one but for steaks I’d try a new technique that I recently learned. Cut the fat into sheets, then cut long thin triangles out of the sheets. Now freeze them. You should be able to stab the meat and then slide the triangle in the gash. Do this as many times as you can in the steaks. You’ll get the hang of it quickly and I assure you it will be easier than using the larding needle. You could even use bacon if you like. You’ll need to refreeze the bacon on a cookie sheet after you cut the triangles.