Unsalted butter, softened, for the pan and biscuit tops
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.
Use a pastry blender (or two forks) to cut the lard into the flour, pressing and twisting until the lard is in pea-size bits.
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.
Roll out the dough: Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and pliable; do not overwork. Roll out into a 1/2-inch-thick round, flouring the rolling pin and dough as needed.
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.