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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Calf suet

Suet (/ˈsuː.ɪt/) is raw beef or mutton fat, especially the hard fat found around the loins and kidneys.

Suet has a melting point of between 45° and 50°C. (113° and 122°F.), and congeals between 37° and 40°C. (98.6° and 104°F). Its low melting point means that it is solid at room temperature but easily melts at moderate temperatures, such as in steaming.



The primary use of suet is to make tallow, although it is also used as an ingredient in cooking, especially in traditional puddings, such as English Christmas Pudding. Suet is made into tallow in a process called rendering, which involves melting and extended simmering, followed by straining, cooling and usually a repetition of the entire process.

Unlike tallow, suet that is not pre-packed requires refrigeration in order to be stored for extended periods.

Suet is essential in traditional English steamed puddings, and in the pastry for steak and kidney pudding, in which a pudding bowl is lined with the suet crust pastry, the meat added and a lid of suet crust tightly seals the meat. The pudding is then steamed for approximately four hours before serving in the bowl on the table. Suet pastry is soft in contrast to the crispness of shortcrust pastry.

Suet is also an ingredient of traditional mincemeat (fruit mince).

Suet should not be confused with beef dripping, which is the collected fat and juices from the roasting pan when cooking roast beef and is not rendered.

Due to its high calorific content, suet is used by cold weather explorers to supplement the high daily energy requirement needed to travel in such climates. Typically the calorie requirement is in the region of 5,000-6,000 KCals per day for sledge hauling or dog-sled travelling. Suet is added to food rations to increase the fat content and help meet this high calorie requirement.


Suet can be bought in natural form in many supermarkets. As it is the fat from around the kidneys, the connective tissue, blood and other non-fat items must be removed. It then needs to be coarsely grated to make it ready to use. It must be kept refrigerated prior to use and used within a few days of purchase, just like meat.

Pre-packaged suet sold in supermarkets is dehydrated suet. It is made mixed with flour to make it stable at room temperature. Because of this, some care is needed when using it for older recipes that call for fresh suet as the proportions of flour to fat can alter. Most modern recipes stipulate packaged suet.

Vegetable suet is available in supermarkets in the United Kingdom, made from fat such as palm oil combined with rice flour. It resembles shredded beef suet, and is used as a vegetarian substitute in recipes, but with slightly different results from animal suet.

Bird feed

Woodpeckers, goldfinches, juncos, cardinals, thrushes, jays, kinglets, bluebirds, chickadees, nuthatches, wrens, and starlings are all known to favour suet-based bird feeders.[1]

Suet, as birdfeed, is commonly in the form of Suet Cakes - which can be made with other solid fats too, such as lard. Often rolled oats, bird seed, cornmeal, raisins, unsalted nuts are incorporated in to the fat.[2]

Suet-based recipes

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 3,573 kJ (854 kcal)
Carbohydrates 0 g
Fat 94 g
saturated 52 g
monounsaturated 32 g
polyunsaturated 3 g
Protein 1.50 g
Zinc 0.22 mg (2%)
Cholesterol 68 mg
Selenium 0.2 mcg
Fat percentage can vary.
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

See also


  1. ^ Suet | Baltimore County Library System
  2. ^

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SUET (M. Eng. sewet, a diminutive of O. Fr. seu, suis, mod. suif, lard, from Lat. sebum, or sevum, tallow, grease, probably allied to sago, soap), the hard flaked white fat lying round the kidneys of the sheep or ox; that of the pig forms lard. Beefsuet is especially used in cookery.

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