I'm going to be making a batch of suet tonight and thought that I would share the recipe with you. You can buy suet cakes at the local grocers, pet stores or discount stores, or you can make your own. This is a great project we use to do with the kids when they were older. They were always eager to help out and it was a great way to introduce them to birding.
When you buy your meats for the week, trim down the excess fat before freezing them. This excess fat off raw beef cuts is ideal for suet mix. Store them in the freezer until you have about a pound or more. If you would like to skip this step, you can always purchase beef fat from the grocery store or your nearby butcher.
The first step in making bird suet is to get all your supplies together that you will be using. You are going to need an electric skillet or over sized pan, (I picked up the electric skillet at a tag sale years ago). You will need a piece of fine cheesecloth and molds for the final product. A very simple mold to use can be a clean tuna can, any size will do. I have also used old tupper ware sandwich containers, which work great for the larger wire suet holders.
Take your frozen suet that you have been saving and cut it up into small cubes. After the suet melts, pour it through the fine cheesecloth into a heatproof container. Discard any pieces that did not melt. Let the melted suet sit and re-harden. You can either do this by placing it in the freezer or let it harden on the counter top. This entire process should be done at least 2-3 times before it is ready to use. The suet has to cake properly, and will only do so by following this procedure.
After your 2nd or 3rd time of melting and the suet has cooled, but not yet solidified, you can stir in your desired ingredients. I have listed below what we use. Pour the mixture into the molds we suggested or containers that are suitable for your suet feeder.
We use the following to add to our suet: cornmeal, shelled unsalted peanuts, raisin bread crumbs (whole-wheat or cracked-wheat bread works the best), unsalted shelled sunflower seeds, rolled oats, and/or peanut butter (sparingly). Allow the suet to cool completely. We wrap our suet cakes in wax paper and keep them in the freezer. This way they are ready to use whenever we want.
Suet feeders are readily available at any pet store or grocery store or you can make your own. We make a natural log bird feeder which is ideal for this type of suet.
Once you have determined what type of feeder you will use for your suet mix, you can sit back and enjoy nature.