No Melt Suet – My Secret To Having Birds Beg Me For More

by Larry on March 1, 2008

Making Suet

Brigitte took these photos of me making suet last night

Here in northern California it can get really hot in July and August.  We’re talking sometimes over 115 degrees!  So I began making my own “no melt suet” and the birds absolutely LOVE it!

Sure I have put out the store bought stuff and they will eat it.  But I have to tell you, if I put out a store bought suet cake and one of mine at the same time, the birds will go through 3 or 4 of my suet cakes before the store bought one is anywhere near gone.

So, I thought all of you might want my recipe along with a couple of tips on how I make my suet so you can have birds pecking your door down and screaming at you to fill up the suet feeder when it’s empty.

My first secret is to use actual suet.  This is not necessary as you can simply use lard for your suet, however, I have found that the birds like the real thing better.  I go to the meat department in my local grocery store and ask for the suet.  They always have plenty of fat that they trim off their beef and it always has some meat attached to it also.  I put it through a meat grinder, several pounds at a time, then freeze what I don’t use immediately.  I divide the ground suet into 2 cup portions, seal them in bags and freeze.

If you want to you can mix 1/2 suet and 1/2 lard for this recipe:

  • 1 cup suet or lard

  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter

  • 2 cups “quick cook” oatmeal

  • 2 cups yellow cornmeal

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup sugar

If you want to you can throw in some ground nuts also (another secret that keeps the birds coming back for more).  This is pretty easy to make but I usually triple (at least) the recipe so I don’t have to make it every few weeks and it stores very well in the freezer.

Making Suet

Melt the suet and peanut butter in a large pot.  Stir in the remaining ingredients, a couple of cups at a time.  The mix should be the consistancy of cookie dough.  If it’s too runny, add more flour.  Spoon it into suet trays (I keep trays from store bought suet) or a shallow pyrex baking dish that you can cut into squares after refrigerating.

Making Suet

Press the dough down into the forms to remove all the air and you have a solid suet cake.  If you are going to use some right away, place it in the refrigerator until solid and freeze the rest sealed in plastic.

That’s it!  No melt suet that will stand 115 degree temperatures in the summer.  If you can, use real suet, add some fresh ground nuts to the mix and the birds won’t leave you alone!  Enjoy.

Happy Birding!

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob, from VT July 13, 2008 at 8:15 am

Does melting the suet smell of the house? Would it be better to heat it outdoors on a grill?

Thanks

Larry July 14, 2008 at 6:27 am

Hey Bob, You sound like my wife ;-) She said the exact same thing to me when I started the suet! It smells a little bit, and you are both probably right. It is a great idea to melt it out on the grill, especially if you have a side burner on your grill (which I do).

Now I have to apologize to Brigitte. I’m sorry honey. Once again, you were right.

Enjoy the suet and don’t smell up your house, heat it out on the grill!

John January 21, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I like the idea of using the side burner on the grill. My wife has a new oven and she’s still kind of picky about what can go in it. I’ll have to give this one a try.

Have you found they favor any particular type of nuts, or do you just go with peanuts?

Johns last blog post..Pepper Suet – How to Squirrel Proof Your Suet Feeder

Dee February 17, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Homemade suet “rocks” been usin’ this recipe for years.
Don’t scorch the “fat-lard”. Add to it… the cheapest “crunchy” peanut butter” (Hello–DISCOUNT STORES), any flour, wormy flour is good), cornmeal, any dried fruit (hard raisins? Cranberriess from Thanksgiving? How about som rancid cereal? I lam talking, these birds get off on cheap, wormy, kinda nasty stuff.

Just make a dough from it with flour. Freeze it in a container that fits the gift . And voila. I don’t care if you hang it from a string.

THEY WILL COME.

Salute,
Dee

Dee February 17, 2010 at 6:37 pm

I have a standard recipe you can add to.

New Birder July 1, 2010 at 8:15 am

Hi, I recently bought a cake of prepackaged store suet that’s supposed to attract lots of birds but it’s been hanging out there for 2 days with no takers. Why? And how long before it goes bad? Can manufactured suet bought in the pet isle stay outside indefinitely? Also, I have read not to use bags of commercial mixed bird seed but every time I put that out I get tons of birds, the mourning doves and sparrows especially seem to like it. I’m looking to attract cardinals and bluejays now and I thought the suet would do the trick but no one has touched it. Any ideas?

Marcia December 5, 2010 at 9:02 am

We made this recipe for summer feeding and the birds absolutely loved it – and it didn’t melt! Do you have a good recipe for winter feeding? Our daily/nightly temps are now down to and below freezing.

THANK YOU!!!
Marcia

Larry December 5, 2010 at 3:31 pm

@Marcia I use the same recipe all year

Blaze June 27, 2011 at 6:43 am

Can you put mealworms in the mix as well?

Larry June 27, 2011 at 7:38 pm

@Blaze I would think that would kill the meal worms. I don’t feed meal worms but if you had dead meal worms, I don’t see why you couldn’t put them in the mix

Chef Scott January 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I melt my beef fat in the crock pot over night. It’s top temperature is 213 far below a flash point of fat.

House smells yummy too.

crosswind April 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

That looks GREAT. I’m sure the birds loved this so much better than packaged suet. Too bad I’m allergic to Peanut Butter; affects my respiratory.. I would make this in heartbeat. Thank you for sharing!!

crosswind April 6, 2012 at 10:03 am

HOwever…. I would advise against using the cheapest peanut butters… they usually have toxic Hydrogenated Oils and other crap that is disease causing for anyone that eats it. = transfats turn to plastic in our body.

Julie May 27, 2012 at 10:33 am

I made a single batch of this recipe last week and have just made another double batch today. The birds love it! It was supposed to be mainly for the woodpeckers and flickers, but everything that feeds at my other bird feeders tries to eat the suet too. It’s kind of comical watching them trying to hold onto the basket and eat, but they manage. Thanks for a great recipe!

Larry May 28, 2012 at 8:45 pm

@Julie you are welcome. I know, it’s amazing how much they love this stuff!

cathy scott November 6, 2012 at 1:53 am

Larry can you tell me how long you can leave it outside before it go’s
bad (winter or summer)?
Also how long do you let the fat cook. Do you wait untill it the fat turns brown ?

Larry November 6, 2012 at 5:30 am

I have never had the suet last long enough for it to go bad. Once the birds find it, it is gone in a matter of a couple of days. I would guess that in the winter it wouldn’t go bad for months if the weather was cold. In the summer I would think it should be fine for weeks if for some reason it doesn’t get eaten right away but that’s not likely ;-)

As far as cooking the fat, I only cook it long enough to melt it. It remains clear.

walterbyrd May 21, 2013 at 8:20 am

Is the sugar needed?

Is the flour needed?

What is it that keeps it from melting?

Cheri May 22, 2013 at 8:31 am

Hi! Your recipe sounds wonderful. I’m in central Florida, and it gets really hot here, as well. I want to make some homemade suet for my many birds, and worried about it melting, and leaving a mess on the ground for the ant population to enjoy.
I have one question though. Does it matter if I use regular old fashioned oats? Do you HAVE to use quick oats?
Thanks so much!!

Larry May 27, 2013 at 6:12 am

@Cheri to tell you the truth, I have never tried it with regular old fashioned rolled oats. You could try it and see how it works. I’m not sure if the quick oats are for ease of the birds breaking up the suet or digestibility or what.

Larry May 27, 2013 at 6:19 am

@Walter I’m not really sure. I imagine that the flour binds the fat and keeps it from melting and the sugar possibly helps also. You can try it without those ingredients and see what happens. All I know is the birds go crazy for this suet and it’s cheaper than buying the store bought processed stuff that sometimes sits in my suet feeders for quite a while

Cheri July 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Larry, I made this recipe, then added some mealie worms that had arrived D.O.A., and also some fruit & nut seed mixture. Oh my gosh!!!!! The suet cakes only lasted about 2 days. I gave some of them to my sister, and she said the birds were lining up to get a bite. When I went to her house, I witnessed that first hand. Like a revolving door. They were taking turns getting themselves a bite of these suet cakes.
Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

p.s. I made my first batch with the regular oatmeal, but then bought some quick oats. Those are thinner, and probably are easier for the birds to digest.

Linda March 9, 2014 at 5:08 pm

I, too, have been making my own suet and the birds eat a cake in 3-4 hours. I also save the containers from store purchased suet but I line them with clear food wrap, fold over and freeze them. Makes it very easy to pop the cakes out.

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