More than happy to tell you all about it, Lucy! Suet is beef fat, but not just any sort of beef fat. It’s fat taken from right near the kidneys of the steer. It’s the mildest-tasting, easiest-melting fat on the animal, which is why it’s used for an application like mincemeat. The equivalent fat on a pig is known as leaf lard, and by no coincidence whatsoever it has also been prized by bakers over the centuries (I’m a big fan of leaf lard in baking as some of you already know). Here’s what fresh suet looks like:
It can be had at virtually any butcher shop. You simply shred it and use it. Now then, those of you fortunate enough to live in places like Britain and New Zealand won’t have to go to the trouble of shredding your own lard. You can buy it pre-shredded in boxes. We Yanks don’t use enough suet to make it viable as a commercial product. We mostly use it to feed birds. I guess when people say America lags behind the rest of the civilized world, this is what they mean.