1/2 pound sliced lean applewood-smoked bacon (any good quality bacon)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cayenne pepper to taste
1/3 cup chilled lard
1/2 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup milk
1. In a large skillet, fry the bacon over moderate heat till crisp. Drain on paper towels and crumble finely.
2. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne. Add the lard and cut it into the flour with a pastry cutter till the mixture is mealy. Add the bacon, cheese, and milk and stir just till the dry ingredients are well moistened.
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 4 to 5 times—no more. Pat out the dough about 1/2 inch thick and cut out rounds with a 2-inch biscuit cutter. Pat the scraps together and cut out more rounds. Arrange the rounds on the prepared baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart and bake in the upper third of the oven till golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
5. Let cool, and then store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 18 biscuits.