The last couple of years or so I've been feeding birds and I enjoy watching our feathery friends. Yesterday I made up a batch of seed suet cakes and toasted them in the cooker to finish them off after grilling steak. They really go for this, especially in the winter months when they can use a little fortified energy booster.
Here is the recipe that I've sort of put together combining a couple different ones together.
3 16 oz. Jars Chunky Peanut Butter
1 1/4 Cups Rendered Suet
1 1/4 Cup White sugar
1 Cup Safflower Oil
1/2 Cup Water
4 Cups Bird Seed
4 Cups Stone Ground Yellow Corn Meal
1 1/4 Cups Buck Wheat All Natural Flour
3/4 Cup Ground Oyster Shells
1-2 Package(s) Dried Fruit
1 Cup Wheat Germ
1 Cup Oat Bran Cereal (I use plain Quaker that is just oat bran nothing else added)
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl plus fruit and mix thoroughly while rendering the beef fat. Mix together peanut butter, sugar, oil and water in a larger-sized pot. Once rendered fat has cooled to warm, blend in about half the dry ingredients with the liquid and add half the suet (under low heat). Continue adding dry ingredients and suet till completely combined to desired consistency. It shouldn't be fairly thick almost almost like cookie dough. If it's too runny I just add a little more flour, corn meal and seed or additional oil and suet if dry.
I generally put these in medium-sized paper bowls and then let them toast under low heat 35-40 minutes at about 150 degrees. Once you don't see any oil on top the cakes and when firm they're done. Rest and allow them to cool before wrapping them. They can be stored either in the refrigerator or freezer. And then, I just hang them in a makeshift pie pan hanging feeder. It's good to avoid metal pans if you can. There's also special cake feeders you can get if you're not familiar with them.
It's important to not use hydrogenated fats/oils as it poses digestion problems for the birds. Also, use plain sugar only. I've used organic agave nectar to some extent but in general regular white sugar suits birds better. Usually, I pick up three different types natural chunky peanut butter to use (Smart Balance, Naturally More Peanut Butter or Smuckers). The safflower oil will aid in keeping the squirrels away (we have ears of corn and nuts separate for their feeding).
I mix my own bird seed in combination with three or four different types to attract lots of different birds and nyjer thistle seed separately for finches.