Thursday, March 24, 2016

Seven Steps to Awesome Bone Broth

I am a very big fan of bone broth and pretty much include it in my daily diet.  I started drinking bone broth to hopefully counteract the side effects of my medications, I continue to make and drink it because I really like it.

Mark Sisson, in one of his "Dear Mark" blog posts, answered several good questions about bone broth.  As Mark did a better job than I could, I'll just refer you to Mark's post for all the good reasons you should be including bone broth in your diet.

I make my own bone broth.  Making our own is an economical way to always have a high quality and good tasting broth on hand.  I just finished up my latest batch of beef bone broth yesterday, so thought I'l post my method for making broth.

I make two different kinds of bone broth depending on what bones I have on hand.  My latest batch is a beef bone broth.  This type of broth includes, of course, beef bones. I also add any other larger bone that I've collected.  Bones like lamb shanks, pork shoulder, larger pork ribs and the like.

I also make chicken bone broth.  This broth includes pretty much any poultry bone and smaller leftover bones from dinners.  Bones like thing cut pork chops, baby back rib bones, thin lamb bones and the like.

The primary difference between the two broths is the time on the stove.  I simmer my beef bones for 48 hours, and the chicken bones for only 24.

Step 1 - Collect bones.

We buy as much of our meats 'bone in' as we can.  Free bones are the best, and the meat is often less expensive.

I also get a 'to go' bag to bring bones home when we eat out.

I also, on occasion, purchase bones if I have not collected enough by the time I am ready for a new batch.  You can find them pretty much everywhere now.  I purchase mine from the Burgundy Pasture Beef storefront in Fort Worth. Pasture raised, organic bones are best, but any bones will do.

Step 2 - Roast raw beef and large animal bones.

I roast raw beef bones at 350° F for 30 minutes or so.  Roasting the bones adds color and depth of flavor to the broth.  And... if you are like me and like bone marrow, roasting the bones gives you a little treat as you prepare your broth.

Step 3 - Put your bones in the stock pot, cover with water, and bring to a low boil.  Reduce to a simmer.  Easy Peasy

I usually fill enough so I have an inch or two of water above the bones.  I add a heavy splash of vinegar to the water.  I've read several articles about how this small amount of vinegar does not do much in the way of helping leach more minerals from the bones, but I still add is because my broth turns out pretty awesome.  No need to fix what works.

Step 4 - Add chicken feet when your broth has 24 hours left to go.

I add three chicken feet to my broth to help ensure that I get plenty of gelatin.

Chicken feet may not be pretty, but they do add a lot to your broth.

Step 5 - Skim any foam and excess fat that builds up.

If you use bones from conventionally raised animals, you may get some foam build up on your broth.  Go ahead and skim that off and discard.

Skim off the fat that comes to the surface.  This is easily done with a ladle.  I leave a small amount of fat as there are a lot of fat soluble goodness in your broth.  If you want to remove all of the fat, it is easy to do when your broth is chilled.  It comes right off.

Step 6 - After the final time you skim fat from your broth, add peppercorns and any seeds you may want to include.  I do this at least 12 hours before my broth is done.

A lot of the beneficial nutrients in peppercorns and seeds are fat soluble so skimming fat after adding these to your broth removes these nutrients.

This time I used peppercorns, cumin and fennel.  

I broke the seeds up a bit in my spice grinder (old coffee grinder I use for spices) and tossed them into the broth.

Step 7 - Add any root or hard veggies you have on hand to your broth.  Do this about 8 hours before your broth is done.

I usually don't buy any veggies to add to my broth, I just add what I have on hand.  I make an exception for my beef broth and buy a chunk of Turmeric to include because of the anti-inflammatory properties of Turmeric.  

This batch included most of an onion, the rest of a bag of carrots, and a hunk of turmeric.

Step 8 - One hour before your broth is done add cloves of garlic, any herbs you might want to include, and any leftover cooked veggies you happen to have in the fridge.

I always have garlic on hand, and grow herbs in my garden.  I had some leftover broccoli and a container of mixed greens in the fridge, so they went into the broth also.

Step 9 - Strain and cool your broth.

I use a dip strainer to remove most of the bones/veggies from the broth, then pour the broth through the strainer into a new pot sitting in an ice bath.  I want to cool the broth down as quickly as possible and get it into the refrigerator.  This makes for a fresher tasting broth, and is just good kitchen hygiene.  

I pour the finished broth into several smaller containers so I can freeze what I'm not going to eat in the next few days.

My finished bone jelly:

After 48 hours of simmering, beef bones are nice and brittle.  All of the internal connective tissue is now a part of your broth and you should be able to break them apart with your fingers.

My compost pile is not hot enough yet to eat proteins, so the scraps were buried in an open spot in my veggie garden.  The earthworms will make short work of these scraps.

Stupid Easy Paleo goes into more detail in her broth recipies, and you should be keeping up with her site if you are interested in good Paleo eats.

Hope you enjoyed my bone broth recipe.  Let me know how yours turns out.


  1. I'll be printing out your recipe for use. I make bone broth but it is not often I get the jelly afterward. And, a splash of vinegar...hmm how much is a splash. I have added vinegar in the past and it must have been too much.

    And, you answered my question about adding bones to your compost once again. I forgot your input on that one.

    Thanks for another great post.

  2. Hi Pam :) A heavy splash is near a quarter cup or so.

    The bones/water ratio, type of bones, and cook time all have an effect on the amount of gel you achieve. Joints seem to provide the best gel. Ox tail bones are a great addition to your broth (and they make an awesome stew, so you have a good reason to collect those bones).