Martha Mondays: Suet Birdfeeders

This week’s Martha Mondays was my pick – suet birdfeeders from November Living. Let me say I am so, so, sorry. If you made this and it stunk up your house as badly as it did mine, I apologize. I think this is truly the nastiest Martha thing I’ve ever made. My grocery store did not have suet so I ended up at a butcher. Mr. MarthaAndMe chopped it up for me since I was grossed out by it. The directions say to render this until it liquifies. It seemed to me like that would be pretty simple but it wasn’t. It took FOREVER, it smelled horrible, and I was not sure when it was actually done. There were lots of chunks of stuff still floating around in the liquid fat, but it was starting to burn. I pulled the plug and strained it.

Martha says you have to strain it with cheesecloth – I just used a sieve. Then you have to let it harden, then melt it and strain it again. Can I just say, this seems like a LOT of work for birds. Seriously, can you see Martha taking an entire afternoon to make these birdfeeders? I think not. I’m sure she buys them from someone who makes organic artisan suet birdfeeders or something.

So I did let it harden and liquify it again, but I confess I did not strain it the second time – there was nothing in it to strain out. I just did not care enough. I mixed in the sunflower seeds, peanuts and cranberries and we smushed it into plastic containers with string in it and froze it. I actually halved this recipe, but somehow it made 4 containers full. I was a little concerned when about 3 hours after I put it in the freezer it wasn’t sticking together.

I left it in overnight. This morning we checked them and they all seemed loose, but we hoped for the best. We took the most solid one outside and tried to get it out of the container. You can see from the photo that it completely fell apart.

What a mess and what a disappointment. I’m wondering if maybe the butcher didn’t give me enough suet? Maybe I should have kept on cooking it down even though it was on low and was burning? I don’t know what to think, but it sure would be a lot easier to just BUY one of these suet things in the store for $2 than to spend this much time horsing around and ending up with such a mess!

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22 Responses to Martha Mondays: Suet Birdfeeders

  1. Some items are better left for others to make and this looks like one of them. 🙂

  2. Pru says:

    Oh Brette! I’m so sorry that yours didn’t turn out well. The mixture did smell gross but I kept the extractor fan on all the time, so I didn’t mind it.

    My results are up.

  3. marthaandme says:

    Wow! Check out Pru’s! You used lard – which must have a hundred times easier to use than suet. Good for you! I had the fan on and the windows open and it still stunk to high heaven!

  4. Alisa Bowman says:

    Glad you made it and tested it so I don’t have to.

    I think, in this case, simpler is better. Take a pine cone. Put peanut butter on it. Roll it in birdseed. Put it outside.

  5. Alexandra says:

    This post was hilarious, and forgive me for saying so since that was probably not your intention! It did make me want to create these bird feeders, though, using lard not suet. I checked out Pru’s and they are so pretty! I would love to treat our birds for the holidays. Thanks for trying the original recipe so faithfully!

  6. marthaandme says:

    It was actually pretty funny, especially when it dumped out all over the sidewalk.

  7. Lyndsey says:

    I love how you describe your projects. I can just hear the frustration:) I didn’t do this one because I’ve had suet on my birfeeders before and for some reason they don’t touch it. It ended up getting spoiled and gross. I think the only birds around here that would are the Mocking birds. They like it in my bougainvillea (which is near the feeders) but will only come out to drink from the birdbath. And the Egrets go for the lizards!

    Thanks for sharing, I’m going to check out Pru’s!

  8. marthaandme says:

    You know, I was wondering about suet. It seems to me birds would not naturally eat an animal product, so I was confused about this!

  9. Teresa B. says:

    Finally got my results posted. I used lard, too, instead of beef fat. I had a suspicion that the suet would smell awful. But even with the lard, my birdfeeder fell apart. I’m thinking it needs to be ice cold outside for it to stay together. I’m going to hang them outside this winter; I’ll keep you updated on how the birds react to them.

    Here are my results:

  10. marthaandme says:

    Now why did everyone else think of lard and I didn’t? It would have been so much easier! But I’m sorry yours didn’t work either. Very frustrating. Everyone should check out Teresa’s post to see the birdfeeder her hubby made!

  11. marthaandme says:

    And FYI, the stuff that dumped out on the sidewalk is still sitting there – the birds, squirrels and chipmunks appear not to be interested in any of it!

  12. Oh, dear. That does sound both icky and disappointing … for your and the hungry birds.

  13. Sassy says:

    Sorry, I didn’t do this project because we were celebrating Thanksgiving early (Monday) but I’m kind of glad I didn’t. I wouldn’t have thought to substitute lard so mine would have been just as stinky and disastrous and my husband would have made me give up my Martha Monday membership! You are brave, Brette!

  14. marthaandme says:

    You didn’t miss much! I’ve got 3 more containers of this sitting in the freezer. I’m sending Dude Martha out to the field in back to dump them tomorrow. I can’t believe that no animal will touch the stuff dumped out on my front walk! Guess they’re just as grossed out as I am!

  15. What a funny and stinky disaster

  16. Sheryl says:

    Sorry you had to waste so much time on this – and sorry that even the hungry animals couldn’t stomach it either!

  17. marthaandme says:

    What a waste! We had extra sunflower seeds that I didn’t use and filled our birdfeeder with that – the birds are eating that but ignoring the pile dumped on the sidewalk right in front of it!

  18. Ugh. I remember putting suet in bird feeders, and then seeing it in recipes when I got older. Ew.

  19. That said, it’s great for birds… but I guess it’s best to buy it at the store!

  20. Sorry this didn’t work out for you but thanks for sharing, glad I’m not the only one with the same problem!!

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