Jason, you ol` salty dog! You asked me this question in October. Don`t rush me!
Hey... I`m thinkin`! I`m thinkin`!
AKA/ I apologize for not giving you an answer sooner.
Lard has taken a bad rap. During the Second World War, everyone used lard like butter, especially in baked goods. Shucks, I remember spreading it on bread and my mother frying everything in the stuff. Everyone used to buy it canned - just as they purchase shortening today. The trend continued long after the war ended and then during the 1970`s and 1980`s, I watched people begin to shy away from lard as scaremongers began telling the world that it was full of something new... called highly saturated fat and some dad-gummed thing they called cholesterol.
Now, here`s the kicker. Lard actually contains more unsaturated fat, less saturated fat, and less cholesterol than butter, ounce for ounce! Surprised? Shucks pard, I`m not done yet! Lard contains no "trans fat". Today, many food professionals have reconsidered and are indeed using lard again having become familiar with the dire picture scientists have painted regarding trans fats in hydrogenated oils of vegetable shortening. Lard is totally efficient as shortening because of its crystalline fat structure. Last, but not least, it tastes better than any other comparable product.
To get straight to your point, you wrote:
What do you think of using rendered lard when making spreadable sausages like n'duja or sobrasada? I know they call for a decent amount of fat, and since the idea is spreadability and creaminess, maybe this would be a good idea. But, maybe there are some other problems that could arise when trying this technique that I am not considering?
I would suggest that you certainly try it. I firmly believe the words of my ol` daddy who said, "the man who doesn`t try... doesn`t do anything at all".
Jason, the reason I`ve taken so long to think this out is because I`d also like you to try one other product then draw your comparison with that of using lard. That other product is "pre-mixed oil emulsion". It can be made easily in your own kitchen using protein isolate (not protein concentrate) and vegetable oil. Soy protein concentrate is 70% protein and will not produce an emulsion. On the other hand, soy protein isolate is 90% protein and when emulsified (with vegetable oil) produces an emulsion resembling cream cheese. This will eliminate much cholesterol while lowering calories. This home-made product looks and tastes just like fat. It is smooth and creamy and may be refrigerated for a week. Hey, commercial producers are using it. Why not home hobbyists? Here`s the formula: First, chill the oil. Use one part soy protein isolate (not soy protein concentrate) mixed with four parts vegetable oil and five parts water. In other words use 10 grams soy protein isolate, 40 grams vegetable oil, and 50 grams of water. Place the 5 parts cold water in a food processor and slowly add the one part soy protein isolate in about a minute or so. The mixture will become shiny. Slowly add the chilled oil and continue to emulsify the mixture for another couple of minutes until it is completely emulsified. Store the emulsion in the refrigerator.
If you`d like to read more about it, pick up a copy of Stan Marianski`s latest book, "Making Healthy Sausages". He explains the process very well and unlike many others, Stan explains the "whys" and "hows" of pre-mixed oil emulsion. Jason, I really believe this is the product you may be looking for.
Now, give it a try and see what you think. If you don`t like the stuff, you can flick boogers on my Harley!