What is beef suet exactly? I want to make a REAL mincemeat pie, but none of my area stores seem to know anything when I ask.

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chefdaniel
chefdaniel November 23, 2010

Suet is the fat located around the kidneys of beef or lamb. I suspect it is not available over the counter but ask the butcher. Look at this recipe that does not use suet. Most recipes do not use it. http://www.cooks.com/rec...

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Gale
Gale November 23, 2010

It's beef fat. If your grocery store breaks down its own meat they should have it (or at least know what it is - or where you can get it). Sometimes even our chain grocers here in VT have it so people can make suet and seed balls for winter birds. I'd like to be surprised that none of your stores know what it is but I guess I'm really not.

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usuba dashi
usuba dashi November 23, 2010

Mincemeat is the holygrail of holiday sweets. Don't mess with it with other fats. It is all part of the product

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campagnes
campagnes November 23, 2010

I've been wanting to try my hand at mincemeat for years, but haven't found anyone else who will eat it... bunch of chickens. :) Thanks for the question and info!

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betteirene
betteirene November 23, 2010

Most chain groceries don't know what suet is because they no longer have bona fide butchers who can cut up a side of meat--it comes pre-packaged, pre-wrapped, pre-ground, pre-weighed, pre-priced and pre-frozen (for your convenience) and it's put out for sale by regular stock people, who merely label the packages with sell-by dates and who know less about animals and their by-products than the contestants in the audience when Letterman plays "Know Your Cuts of Meat."

I asked for suet a while back for bird feeders, like Gale said, and I was met with a blank stare. As I shopped further, however, I found a package in the offal section by the tripe and salt pork and ham hocks. A friend told me she saw suet at the local hardware/feed store, but I wonder if it could be used for human consumption.

If you don't find suet, substitute 3/4 vegetable shortening with 1/4 leaf lard, which you also might have trouble finding. If you end up using lard, try not to buy the shelf-stable stuff; look for lard that is refrigerated. Or find a real butcher.

I only had real mincemeat once, in the 60s, and while I really like it, it's something I've never made. All the other times I've had it, it's been like glorified raisin pie. It's very cool that you want to try this. Let us know how it turns out.

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pierino
pierino November 23, 2010

betteirene is preaching to the choir on this one. I agree with every detail. All the tees are dotted and all the eyes are crossed. But I would like to add further emphasis to her comment on leaf lard. It's worth the trouble to look for. Manteca lard, sold in those big blocks will make your pie smell like a pork chop.

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campagnes
campagnes November 23, 2010

What exactly IS leaf lard? Never heard of it.

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usuba dashi
usuba dashi November 24, 2010

Leaf lard is the coating of fat along the kidney of a pig . . suet in beef counter part. Makes the best lard for pies.

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pierino
pierino November 24, 2010

Depending on where you live, one source for leaf lard is Surfas in Culver City, CA. They sell it frozen and once you defrost it you have to render it yourself, the bonus being that the by product will be really delicious cracklings. I'm sure you can order on-line from them but because it's a frozen and very perishable product the shipping costs may be triple what the stuff sells for.

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