Lard How To Make It
What is suet? Suet is hard fat with a melting point of about 118F. Suet has a high smoke point which historically has been used for frying foods and for pastry making. The fat for suet comes exclusively from the gut cavities of animals. Often near the loins and around the kidneys. The fat that suet is made from looks a lot like the fat that can be found around the muscles of animals (lard) but it is not the same and has different characteristics.
Rendered Suet looks more like bar of soap, whereas, rendered hard muscle fat looks like mashed potatoes.
When making suet you need fresh kidney fat that is not discolored. Pull the fat apart with your hands and remove as much of the clear connective spiderwebby material that has been holding the different chunks of fat together.
Once you have the suet picked clean of the connective tissue and any veins you need to dice it up very finely. Suet at this point will spoil pretty quickly unless it is refrigerated.
If you are going to render your suet you will need a cast iron pot or some other heavy pot. Place the suet into the pot and place the pot near but not directly in a fire. You are not wanting to cook the suet, only warm it up. This is going to take several hours. After the suet has all melted it is time to strain off the remaining connective tissue by pouring the melted suet through a sieve or even cloth.
The suet is then allowed to cool. Historically it was cooled in tins to form bars like a bar of soap. This rendered suit if wrapped in paper and then cloth can last for several months without refrigeration.
Suet prepared like this has many uses. Pastries and pies when substituted for vegetable oils we use today. It can also be used to seal off jars for pickling and preserving fruits and vegetables. Those pickling lids aren't going to last forever! Suet can also be used to make candles, fry foods. rust inhibitor on metals, soap, leather treatment, lamp oil,