Finding and Buying Beef Suet – A Guide to This Versatile Fat

Beef suet is a type of fat rendered from the tissue surrounding a cow’s kidneys and loins. Due to its high smoke point and rich, beefy flavor, suet is prized for cooking and adds richness to sauces, pastry doughs and confections. But with less cooking from scratch these days, you may wonder where to find beef suet. This guide covers everything you need to know about buying beef suet and how to use it.

What is Beef Suet?

Beef suet comes from the fat deposits around the kidneys and loins of a cow. It has a higher melting point than other fats due to its saturated fat content.

Some key traits of beef suet:

  • Solid at room temperature
  • High smoke point – making it ideal for frying and pastry
  • Distinctly beefy flavor
  • Gives baked goods rich texture
  • Often used to make tallow

Benefits and Uses of Beef Suet

There are many great uses for beef suet in the kitchen:

  • Frying meat, eggs, vegetables, etc.
  • Adding to pie crust and pastry for flakiness
  • Enriching the flavor of soups and stews
  • Making confections like pralines
  • Adding to dog food for shiney coats
  • Feeding birds with suet cakes
  • Making soaps, candles and cosmetics
  • Preserving leather and lubricating tools

Its versatility and long shelf life make beef suet a useful ingredient to keep on hand.

Where to Buy Beef Suet

Here are some places to find beef suet near you:

Butcher Shops or Meat Markets

Ask your local butcher if they have suet available. Many will set some aside if you call ahead.

Farmer’s Markets

Check with vendors selling beef if they have suet for sale. It may be seasonal.

Grocery Store Meat Department

Some grocery stores carry suet near other beef cuts or with soup bones.

Online Stores

Order beef suet for delivery from online retailers like US Wellness Meats, ButcherBox or Crowd Cow.

Large Warehouse Stores

Larger chains like Restaurant Depot, Sam’s Club or Costco may have suet in big packs.

Direct from Local Ranches

Contact area cattle ranches to ask if they sell suet directly to consumers.

What to Look for When Buying Beef Suet

  • White color – Avoid suet with off-coloring or yellowing.

  • Firm consistency – It should be solid and firm, not mushy.

  • Good marbling – Suet with streaks of meat is best for flavor.

  • Fresh smell – Make sure the suet doesn’t smell rancid or off.

  • Packaging – Pick suet in sealed packaging without holes or tears.

  • Sell-by date – Look for suet with the furthest expiry date possible.

  • Amount needed – Only buy what you’ll use in a few months.

How Much Does Beef Suet Cost?

Beef suet is very affordable, usually ranging $3-$5 per pound. Of course, prices can vary between stores and by region. Buying in bulk 10+ pounds at a time can lower the per pound cost. Compared to other fats, suet provides great value.

How to Store Beef Suet

  • Fridge – Keep fresh suet refrigerated for up to 3 months.

  • Freezer – For longer storage, wrap well and freeze for up to 1 year.

  • Sealed container – Store in an airtight container to prevent absorption of other odors.

  • Moisture barrier – Wrap in plastic wrap or parchment before putting in a container.

  • Use-by date – For fresh suet, use within the sell-by date or freeze.

  • Food safety – Toss if mold, stickiness or rancid odors develop.

Storing suet properly prevents spoilage and rancid flavors.

Rendering Suet into Tallow

One of the most common uses for raw suet is rendering it into tallow:

  • Dice or grind suet into small pieces.
  • Melt slowly over low heat with occasional stirring until liquid.
  • Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve.
  • Let cool until semi-solid then transfer to jars.
  • Refrigerate until completely solidified before using.
  • Keeps for up to 1 year refrigerated.

The process takes patience but yields beautifully white, long-lasting tallow.

Cooking with Beef Suet

Beef suet can be used in place of other fats for:

  • Pan frying steaks, chops, eggs, etc.
  • Making roux for gravy, stew, pot pie.
  • Adding to ground meat for burgers or meatloaf.
  • Adding rich flavor to soups and stews.
  • Making savory pie crust and pastry dough.
  • Baking suet-based treats like dumplings, scones, crumble topping.

Get creative with ways to use suet’s flavor and properties during cooking.

Making Suet Cakes for Birds

Provide winter food for wild birds with homemade suet cakes:

  • Melt suet over low heat and let cool slightly.
  • Mix in peanut butter, birdseed, oats, dried fruit, etc.
  • Pour into muffin tins or molds and refrigerate until firm.
  • Remove cakes from molds and store in the freezer.
  • Hang outside or place in bird feeders for birds to enjoy.

Suet’s high fat content provides birds essential energy during cold months.

Using Suet for Soap and Candles

The saturated fat of beef suet makes wonderful soaps, candles and salves:

  • Render suet into tallow as described above for the base.
  • Add essential oils, beeswax, colorants and other ingredients as desired.
  • For soap, mix lye solution into oils at proper temperature to saponify.
  • For candles, wick candle jars before pouring in hot tallow to set.
  • Beeswax blended with tallow makes lovely salve and lip balm.

With some simple supplies, you can transform suet into handcrafted bath and home products.

Buying Quality Grass-Fed Beef Suet

Opt for suet from grass-fed cattle when possible. Grass-fed suet is higher in vitamins, CLA and omega-3s compared to conventional suet from grain-fed cows. Quality grass-fed beef suet offers the greatest nutritional value.

At just a few dollars per pound, beef suet is an affordable way to add richness to cooking and crafting. Seek out suet from local butchers, markets, ranches and specialty online shops. Store beef suet properly and render into versatile tallow for long-lasting use.

Where to Buy Tallow | Bumblebee Apothecary


Can you buy beef suet in the grocery store?

While suet is high in fat and cholesterol, a little can go a long way, so using it in moderation is fine. If you want to enjoy the rich flavor of suet in your recipes, you can find it at your local grocery store.

Can you buy suet from the butcher?

You can buy fresh suet from a butcher, but these days the suet ‘knobs’ are usually removed from a carcass after slaughter, so no longer arrive at the butcher attached to the kidneys, so you’ll need to order ahead.

Is beef suet the same as beef fat?

Tallow and suet are the terms used for beef fat, but you may also see them used to describe other types of ruminant animal fat, such as goat, sheep or elk. Tallow comes from the hard fatty tissue that surrounds organ meats, most often the kidneys and loins of the cow. Before it is rendered, this fat is called suet.

What is the American version of suet?

3. Pork fat: Also known as lard, pork fat is similar to suet because it is an animal fat with a high melting point. Consider using lard if you’re trying to create a flaky pie crust or pastry and don’t have suet.

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