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What Is Lardon?

Lardon is a small strip or cube of fatty, flavorful pork, often bacon or pork belly, used to infuse richness into dishes. It's a culinary secret weapon, rendering succulent textures and deep flavors into stews, salads, and more. Intrigued by how lardon can elevate your cooking? Let's delve into its transformative power in the kitchen.
Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson

A lardon is a cube of meat which is usually high in fat and used to add flavor to many dishes. Generally, bacon is used to make lardons, but general pork lardons are also common. When cooked, a lardon will reduce in size as a result of the fat melting out of it. The juice that comes out of lardons is used for additional flavor in dishes such as coq au vin and some stews. Originally, lardons were pushed into cuts of meat so that they would flavor the entire cut with their fat.

Either smoked or un-smoked bacon can be chopped up into lardons. Any fatty cube of meat can be classed as a lardon, but generally pork fat is used. The saltiness from the fat and the meat itself is what adds flavor to whatever dishes are created. The French refer to any bacon that has been cut into cubes before being blanched or fried as a lardon. In the wider world, lardons are bought pre-cut, but cubed bacon can be used in their place, in line with the French usage of the term.

Bacon is often used to make lardons.
Bacon is often used to make lardons.

Originally, a lardon was more of a matchstick-shaped strip of meat which was stuffed into a bigger cut of meat to add flavor. This process is referred to as larding, and can be thought of as essentially adding more fat, or “lard,” to a cut of meat. The original concept of lardons is now somewhat secondary to the more modern use of cubes instead of strips. Lardon cubes are ordinarily used as a base flavor for dishes.

Lardons might be made from pork or bacon.
Lardons might be made from pork or bacon.

When fat is heated, it transforms from its original solidified form into a liquid. This liquid bears all of the taste of the original fat, but can be added to sauces much more easily. A lardon adds flavor to a dish because of this reaction. Chefs who cook with lardons will generally shallow-fry them along with onions before adding chopped tomatoes or another sauce base. The fat seeps out and adds a salty, robust flavor to the sauce.

Lardons can be used to add flavor to coq au vin.
Lardons can be used to add flavor to coq au vin.

Many dishes can be improved by using a lardon or several lardons. For example, a sausage and bacon stew can be made which uses lardons as a base flavor. The lardons are fried in olive oil until they have shrunk and turned golden brown, at which point garlic and other flavors are added. Lardons can also be used in dishes such as quiches, salads, and pasta sauces.

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    • Bacon is often used to make lardons.
      By: Kelpfish
      Bacon is often used to make lardons.
    • Lardons might be made from pork or bacon.
      By: claireliz
      Lardons might be made from pork or bacon.
    • Lardons can be used to add flavor to coq au vin.
      By: robynmac
      Lardons can be used to add flavor to coq au vin.