I am a British expatriate & would like to make mincemeat and steamed puddings occasionally.
Does anyone have ideas for substitutes for the shredded suet in these dishes. I have considered grating cold butter for the puddings but am afraid it might become rancid in stored mincemeat.

  • Posted by: plevee
  • December 1, 2010


plevee December 3, 2010
Wow! what a lot of great info! Thanks.
AntoniaJames December 3, 2010
And yes, whatever you get, make sure the suet is shredded and not rendered because you need those solid bits of fat in the pudding during the cooking process to facilitate with its shape and texture. The suet is what makes all those lovely little holes in the pudding, once it's cooked (and after the suet has finally melted). Now I'm really in the mood to make a traditional pudding!!
AntoniaJames December 3, 2010
How about this? http://www.grasslandbeef.com/Detail.bok?no=670

Butter is a really bad idea because its melting point is so much lower than suet, so you end up with a greasy, heavy mess (or so they say . . . I've never tried it, but I researched it a few years ago when I wanted to make a Christmas pudding, but was in a ski town in Utah where no suet was to be found). ;o)
thirschfeld December 3, 2010
It is pretty eAsy to find suet at the butchers and groceries this time of year. I am not sure you will get the same results with lard as you would with grated suet. If I were to sub I would look for pork fat back.
luvcookbooks December 3, 2010
just saw that you are thinking about using supermarket lard. please don't, it's a terrible mistake if you are going to all the trouble of making homemade mincemeat. the suet is great shredded, not rendered, for mincemeat. the meat in mincemeat is delicious and doesn't taste like meat. try it, you'll like it.
luvcookbooks December 3, 2010
flying pigs will mailorder fabulous leaf lard. check the shop section on this web site.
one of the farmer's market meat sellers stocks suet but i can't remember the name. will check into this and get back to you. don't think butter would work for mincemeat, but let me know if you try it. love mincemeat made with suet, have suet in the freezer now... if only i could get to making the mincemeat, sigh...
plevee December 2, 2010
Thanks Kayb. I want to use my recipe with suet if possible. I have never encountered mincemeat in the UK with meat - sounds yucky. I'll make a small amount with same weight lard & see how it turns out. If that fails I'll be rendering suet!
MaryMaryCulinary December 2, 2010
You can render the suet you get at the butcher's, and while it can take a while, it's unattended time. You can also crumble it away from the membranes and other yucky stuff and use it as is.
Kayb December 2, 2010
I happened to think about another recipe I'd seen on another food site. This, as best I recall, sounds very similar to my family's mincemeat recipe:

1 pound lean cooked pork cut into strips
1/3 pound pork fat cut into strips
1 pound dried apples cut into pieces
1 pound Sultanas or golden raisins
1 pound mixed peel
1/2 pound citron
1/2 pound dried pineapple
1/2 pound blanched almonds

zest and juice of one large orange
zest and juice of two lemons
zest and juice of one grapefruit
1 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1 teaspoon allspice, freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon kosher salt

2/3 cup sweet sherry
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup rum

Gather the first 8 ingredients on a tray or platter.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Using a food grinder with the coarsest blade, alternate ingredients as you put them through the grinder so they are combined in a Dutch oven or roasting pan large enough to hold everything.
After grinding, mix well with your hands.

Add the next 8 ingredients, cover tightly and cook for 2 hours.
Remove from oven.
Place a metal colander in a large pan, line with cheesecloth and spoon the mixture into the colander.
Stir gently, turning the mixture over to drain away most of the liquid fat.
Return the mixture to the cooking pot.
Add the sherry, brandy and rum, stir well.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Ladle into sterilized jars, cover tightly and store in a cool place for one week prior to use.
Once opened, store in refrigerator.

Kayb December 2, 2010
I'll be happy to share it...if I can find it! I will look. It's been years since I saw it....
hardlikearmour December 2, 2010
I bet you have to render the suet you get from the butcher. It's not particularly difficult to do, but does take a long time. If you're interested here are some decent instructions: http://www.paleofood.com/rendering-suet.htm You can do a bunch at once and store it in the fridge or freezer for a long time.
plevee December 2, 2010
I did get suet at the supermarket butcher but it looked pretty nasty - bloody and stringy - and I suspect was meant for feeding birds. Leaf lard, which I used once, has to be ordered in 10# boxes and rendered; way too much and too much trouble. So I guess I'll try the supermarket lard. Would Kayb possibly share her recipe?
hardlikearmour December 1, 2010
Good question AJ!!
AntoniaJames December 1, 2010
plevee, do you want to use suet, or are you looking for a non-animal-derived substitute? ;o)
MaryMaryCulinary December 1, 2010
The Daring Bakers made steamed suet puddings earlier this year, and many people found suet at the butcher's. You can also order it online, and find it at British specialty shops. I got mine at the butcher's, no problem.
hardlikearmour December 1, 2010
You may be able to get suet. Call your local butcher, or even the meat department at your local grocery store. If you don't have luck with that, I'd go with lard as a substitute.
Kayb December 1, 2010
I have a mincemeat recipe that I've never used, but it's been handed down in my family, that uses lard. You can get that at most supermarkts.
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