Preheat oven to 500 degrees with rack in upper third. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add lard and coat well with flour mixture. Working quickly, rub the lard between your fingertips until roughly half is coarsely blended and half remains in large flat pieces, about 3/4 inch in size.
Make a well in the center of the flour-lard mixture, and add buttermilk all at once. Stir quickly with a wooden spoon, just until mixture is blended and begins to come together into a sticky dough. (The dough will not form a ball at this stage and will, in fact, look unpromising.)
Immediately turn out dough onto a generously floured surface. With well-floured hands, knead briskly 8 to 10 times, just until a cohesive ball of dough forms. With your palms, gently flatten dough to an even thickness; then roll out to a 3/4-inch thickness, working from center of dough outward with a floured rolling pin. (Flour rolling pin as needed, but avoid flouring top of dough unless you want dusty biscuits.)
Dip a dinner fork in flour, and pierce dough completely through at 1/2-inch intervals. Flour a 3-inch biscuit cutter, and stamp out rounds as close together as possible, taking care not to twist cutter. Place rounds 1/2 inch apart on a parchment-lined heavy baking sheet. Place dough pieces that remain after cutting on baking sheet, too. Bake biscuits until crusty and rich golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove biscuits from oven and brush with melted butter. Serve hot.
<h2>Biscuit Talk from Scott Peacock</h2> <p><b>Tip 1</b><br> Always measure the flour after sifting it, not before.</b> <p><b>Tip 2</b><br> To help the biscuits rise to their fullest potential, take care not to twist the cutter (thus pinching the edges together) when cutting out the rounds of dough. When you look at them, you can see the layers that will result in flakiness.</p> <p><b>Tip 3</b><br> Place the rounds close together on the baking sheet so the sides of the biscuits don't set early and inhibit rising.</p> <p><b>Tip 4</b><br> Don't be afraid of brown biscuits. That crusty exterior provides contrast to the tender, light interior.</p> <p><b>Tip 5</b><br> To reheat biscuits, place them on a cooling rack set in a baking sheet, and then warm them in a 350 degrees oven about 5 minutes.</p>