Ewww, what’s that smell

A shepherd friend of mine has posted periodically the making of suet cakes for the wild birds. Because everything in the pet area of Tractor Supply and the local pet supply store have either gone through the roof in price or are not available, I ask her for her recipe. Of course it requires suet as a base, so I asked the beef guy at the Farmer’s Market if he had beef fat and he did, a 2 pound package, vacuum sealed. Not having ever rendered fat before, I googled it. It can be done on the stove, in the oven, or in the microwave. I chose the microwave. It only takes 3 to 4 minutes to melt down 2 cups worth in the microwave and two pounds was 5 rounds of cut up chunks, but oh, does it ever smell bad. Once melted, you strain off the liquid fat, discard the solid chunks, which the chickens ate like it was candy.

Once it is all melted and slightly cooled, you add peanut butter, cornmeal, oatmeal, and birdseed thoroughly stirred together. I don’t have but one metal baking pan with sides, so I have been saving the plastic squares that the commercial suet cakes come in for this project. There weren’t enough, but there was one foil cake square in the pantry.

Tomorrow after they are cooled and solid, I will cut the cake pan into 4 pieces and they will be wrapped and stacked in the refrigerator or freezer until they are needed for the wild birds that live here year round or migrate through spring and autumn.

I’m still trying to get rid of the odor though, the beeswax warmer is on, a beeswax candle is burning, the floor washed with a floor cleaner that actually smells better than the fat, though I normally don’t like it either. It may be time to simmer a pot of cinnamon, clove, and star anise.

I wonder how many times I can reuse the plastic forms? And next time it will be melted on the stove, the camp stove, outdoors.

2 thoughts on “Ewww, what’s that smell”

  1. I render both pork and beef fat from our farm all the time – it really should not smell at all (other than the very faint smell you would get dropping a dollop in a pan to fry something in). Beef kidney fat is the best to render, peel off the membrane best you can and chop. Render over low heat in a cast iron pan (add a tiny amount of water so it doesn’t scorch as it gets going). Stir on occasion and strain. Possibly you got fat that was rancid?

    1. Val, could be it sat in the package too many days after I thawed it, but I am very sensitive to odors and don’t like the smell of most meat cooking, so it could be some of that too. I will use it immediately next time and keep it frozen until ready. I have lots of cast iron. Thanks for the tip. The birds are loving the cake I put out though, they smell like peanut butter now. 🙂

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