When I was young and learning how to cook, this was another one of those things that I could never seem to get right. On a visit with my Tennessee grandmother, I was talking to her about my problem with biscuits. She walked me step by step through the art of biscuit making. The result are these wonderful, tasty biscuits that come out great as long as I follow these specific guidelines that Granny told me:
1. Don't use too much shortening;
2. Don't over-handle your dough;
3. Make sure your shortening and buttermilk are very cold.
Her advice helpled me and I hope it helps you, too!
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heavily grease a large cast-iron skillet or biscuit pan and set aside. (I prefer the cast iron skillet).
Put flour into large bowl and add lard/shortening. Cut into flour using usual pastry method. Add milk and mix with fork or hands into a light dough. Turn dough onto a floured board and knead a couple of times. Pat dough to flatten to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut dough into biscuits and place in pan. Pour melted shortening/butter over each biscuit. Bake for about 13 to 15 minutes or until golden.
Remove from pan and place into a covered container and allow to steam for about 5 minutes. You may also brush melted butter over top prior to steaming, if desired. Serve hot with butter, apple butter, jellies, jams, honey or anything else that you like.
Special Note: I didn't have a biscuit cutter, so what I did was open both ends of a 4-ounce sized mushroom can, washed and removed label and it works perfectly.