Combine the dry ingredients: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with a fork.
Cut in the lard: Cut the chilled lard into small cubes and add to the dry ingredients.
The mixture is ready when all the lard has been broken down into flour-coated bits and the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add the milk: Make a well in the flour-fat mixture and slowly pour in the milk. Mix with a fork until just combined, then knead gently with your hands until the dough comes together into a sticky ball.
Cut out the biscuits: Smear a 10-inch hoe cake pan or cast-iron skillet with softened butter. Cut out 2-to-3-inch biscuits using a clean empty can, the mouth of a glass or a biscuit cutter. Put the biscuits on the pan. Reroll the scraps and cut out more biscuits. Make a fist and mark the top of each biscuit with your knuckles. Dot with softened butter. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
Photograph by Squire Fox
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