I’ve been asked for my suet recipe a couple of times, so I decided to post it here. The birds at our house seem to really love the suet. I think it is also better for the birds and less is wasted than typical store suet.
I can’t really say it’s my recipe. The recipe was taken from the internet awhile ago, but I've made improvements on the recipe and technique of making the suet without making a huge mess and not producing a lot of waste.
Basic recipe (see notes at the bottom of the page):
If you have the freezer space, make enough to store extra. Plus at my house, I go through suet at a rate of 3 cakes per week! So it's easier to keep up with those hungry mouths by keeping plenty in stock.
* You can find lard in the grocery stories. Or get a large box of it from the Cash N’ Carry stores. It last me a long time, but keeps the birds happy and is cheaper over all. Also I use the leftover bacon grease that I collect in jars. It seems to work just fine and the birds like it too.
** Through trial and error, I've found that using finally ground corn meal (masa, which is typically used for tamales, tortillas) is important in keeping the suet together and is less messy overall. Corse corn meal will sink in the suet as it sets in the fridge, resulting in some very chunky suet cakes. Cakes made with regular or coarsely ground corn meal will melt more easily during the hot summers. Since I've switched to using masa, I haven't had a problem with drippy suet in temperatures up to the mid 80s (I have not had the opportunity/heat to test is in higher temps yet). This mix is perfect for Northwest marine time weather.
*** I found it important to use hulled sunflower seeds (no millet mixes), because the sunflower seeds with the shell tend to go ignored (i.e. end up on the ground). If you have a seed feeder, the birds will go there if they want seed. And since not all birds eat millet don’t put millet in the suet. That will be wasted as well (well, the rats probably enjoy it, but usually people don’t intentionally feed rats).
If you don’t want to feed the Starlings (who love suet), try making a Starling-resistant suet feeder.