Smoked whipped lardo with pickled scotch bonnets

Smoked whipped lardo with pickled scotch bonnets


By Isaac McHale, Owner & Head Chef of The Clove Club

Isaac McHale runs Michelin-starred The Clove Club in Shoreditch, London. You can find me here on a night off sitting at the bar, drinking the city’s best Old Fashioneds, snacking on their infamous pine-fried chicken and their smoked cod’s roe with rye crackers. Isaac is a total badass chef and his partners, Johnny and Daniel, are complete dudes – they know how to bring massive vibes and provide incredible service in a casual way. I asked Isaac to work on a recipe for this book and he came up with this. ‘This sounds like your kinda thing, doesn’t it?’ And hells yeah, it does. You can get flare fat for this recipe from a good butcher. Isaac says, ‘Order flare fat from best-quality rare-breed pigs. There’s no point making this recipe unless you have good pigs to start with.’


Quantity Ingredient
2kg flare fat, minced, (ask your butcher to mince it)
cherrywood or oakwood, for smoking
sea salt, to taste
4 sourdough slices, toasted, to serve
maple syrup, to serve
75g toasted sunflower seeds, to serve

For the pickled scotch bonnets

Quantity Ingredient
200ml white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt
50g granulated sugar
2 red scotch bonnet chillies, halved and deseeded
2 yellow scotch bonnet chillies, halved and deseeded
2 orange scotch bonnet chillies, halved and deseeded


  1. First, make the pickled chillies. Bring the vinegar, salt, sugar and 200 ml of water to the boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Put the chillies in a clean jar and pour over the hot vinegar liquid, making sure all the chillies are well covered. Put the lid on and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Line a sieve with muslin or cheesecloth.
  4. Put the fat in a shallow bowl and keep cold.
  5. Set up your stovetop smoker. Place a piece of foil at the bottom of a large pot big enough to fit the bowl of fat. Add pieces of woodchips and another layer of foil. Heat up your smoker. Dip the base of your chilled bowl of fat in cold water then place into the smoker. Cover with a lid, sealing with extra foil to prevent the smoke from escaping, and allow the fat to gently melt and smoke for 5 minutes.
  6. When it reaches 140°C (use an instant-read thermometer), switch off the heat. A little crackling will start to float to the surface. Skim this off and reserve for later. Drain the rest of the fat in your muslin-covered sieve into a bowl.
  7. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour. Fill a clean sink with water and plenty of ice. Plunge the bowl of smoked fat in the ice-cold water, whisking continuously. The fat will begin to thicken like whipped cream. Add a few pinches of salt to taste.
  8. Chop the pickled chillies into small pieces, add them to the whipped lardo with a bit of the pickling juice.
  9. To serve, put a good spoonful of the whipped lardo on top of the sourdough toast, top with sunflower seeds and the reserved bits of crackling, if you like, then drizzle over the maple syrup.
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