Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Oct 20, 2009 06:44 AM

rendered beef kidney suet for chili recipe

found a great chili recipe that calls for rendered beef kidney suet

what's the deal? can you replace with chicken fat?

is it worth asking butcher for?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. IMO Yes!!! Kidney suet is beef fat found along the side of the kidney and loin... To me it is the "Sweetest" fat on the animal...It is the only fat I will use to make Venison "burger" etc..Ask your butcher for it, and for your purpose ask him/her to grind it for you if you do not have a grinder...


    1. What meat you using? If it is very lean (say, diced rump) then the suet would provide a good clean flavor. But if you are using the typical 80/20 ground beef, I don't think you want to add any extra fat.

      1 Reply
      1. re: paulj

        I use only chuck (not too lean, and diced, not ground) for chili, it gets the right mouth feel, and I start by just browning it in some peanut oil for flavor.

      2. Rendering before use strikes me as strange. But it that is the situation then by all means use any animal fat, depending on which flavour you prefer.

        1. Rendered suet is tallow, the stuff cheaper candles used to be made of.

          I use suet every year for my mincemeat. Take a chunk, remove the thicker membranes (they are sort of like plastic wrap - you'll see), don't worry about the finer ones, and put the suet in a rotary cheese grater and grate away. When you do this, it's like grating wax for making candles at home.... You can then melt it to make tallow (which you can use like any liquid fat - McDonald's french fries were fried in it until the 1980s in the US and have never recovered from the switch to all vegetable oil) or incorporate it into whatever you are making.

          Any, suet has a unique flavor AND mouthfeel: it's waxy (see the theme here?) when it cools (which is why things made with suet should be warmed before serving), but it has a specially unctuous mouthfeel when warm. Lard and poultry fat do not replicate it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Karl S

            The mouthfeel has a lot to do with the melting point(s) of the fat. I added (s) because any natural fat is a mix, and different parts melt a different temperatures. Roughly I rank fats, from lowest to highest melting point:

            olive oil - poultry - lard (pork) - butter - chocolate - beef - lamb - some baking margarines

            butter and chocolate are close to mouth temperature.

            Lamb is too high for my liking; it can easily leave a waxy coating on the roof of my mouth. The same goes for the fat often used in low-quality pastries. Lamb fat is fine when hot; beef fine when warm; pork and butter can be good even when cool or cold.

            Fast food places like(d) to use beef fat for deep frying, in part because it is stable when used for long periods of time. And even after switching to vegetable fats, there were rumors that some chains used a beef fat flavoring spray on their fries.

            I've used choped suet in a Christmas pudding. The chunks melt away during steaming, leaving voids, similar to those produced by baking powder in cakes. And since it was beef, the pudding was much better when warm than at room temperature.

            1. re: paulj

              Lamb/Mutton fat shares with beef fat the names of suet and, in rendered form, tallow: mutton fat is a flavor highly prized in certain areas of the world, though not here.