Another modern use of beef suet is in bird feeding. Lots of birdwatchers who want to attract a diverse community of birds to their yards will use beef suet as a base for a “suet cake” or similar bird feeder food. Buyers can warm the fat to its softening point, then mix in seeds, peanut butter and other ingredients to make a tasty meal for jays, cardinals, woodpeckers, and many other kinds of birds. Some even use suet cakes to draw squirrels and other wildlife to a space.
Suet is a great food to offer birds in the fall and winter when they need greater numbers of calories to maintain their body heat and energy levels. Suet recipes do not need to be complicated in order to attract a range of hungry birds. Before offering the suet to the birds, however, it should be rendered to help it maintain its shape more easily.
Serving Size:1 cup
1 lb Beef Suet or Pork Fat
To render suet:
- Chop the fat into small pieces or run it through a meat grinder. Be sure all traces of meat are removed.
- Heat the chopped fat on low until it is liquefied. Do not use higher temperatures to melt the suet more quickly, as this could lead to fires or scorching.
- Strain the liquid fat through cheesecloth or a fine mesh to remove any particles or contaminants. The suet should be strained several times so it is as pure as possible.
- Pour the fat into molds or containers and allow it to cool. The cakes can be chopped or cut to be fed to the birds, or you may choose to use containers that are the appropriate size to fit your suet feeders.
Once the suet is rendered, it can be fed to the birds as-is or you can choose to add simple ingredients to make it more appetizing to a wider range of birds.
1 cup Rendered Beef or Pork Suet
1 cup Chunky Peanut Butter
3 cups Stone Ground Cornmeal
1/2 cup White or Wheat Flour
Melt the suet and peanut butter together until they are smooth and liquid. Add the cornmeal and flour, mixing well. Allow the mixture to cool slightly to thicken, then pour it into molds or containers to use. Refrigerate or freeze suet until it is firm and you are ready to use it
What You Can Add to Suet
While a simple bird suet recipe is useful, adding different ingredients to the mixture before it cools can make it more attractive to birds. Popular ingredients to customize a suet recipe include:
Chopped, unsalted nuts
Dried fruit bits
These are the easiest items to add to simple suet to make it even more tempting for your birds. Take the time to experiment with adding other ingredients to discover what your birds find most appetizing, and you’ll soon have plenty of suet-eaters at your backyard buffet.