A look of confusion…. That’s the reaction I usually get from people when I talk to them about making bone broth.
I get it, I was there myself. I was completely overwhelmed the first time I tried it. But now that I’ve been making it for so long, I can’t imagine anything as easy as dumping a bunch of bones into a pot, filling it with water and adding some celery, onions and maybe herbs. Turn on the heat and let it cook and cook and cook.
Two questions I’m always asked: “What do you do with it after it’s cooked?” and “Where do you get all the bones?”
So let’s look at the last question first since we’ve got to have the bones before we know how to make it.
I SAVE EVERY BONE that comes into this house. Whether it’s from a pork chop, T-Bone steak, chicken wings and legs, or even shrimp peelings. I save it all! I keep several bags in my freezer for these usually tossed away pieces of hidden gold. I have a chicken bag, beef bag, shrimp bag and a bag for the “misfit bones.”
My kids used to ask, “What do I do with the bones?” Then it went to, “Are you saving the bones?” Now it’s, “Can I have the bag for the bones?” They’ve been trained well.
You’d be surprised how many bones you can actually save up in a couple weeks. Friday night “pizza night” has turned into Friday night “Chicken Wing” night. Bingo… I’ve already got half a bag of bones right there. One more Friday night and I’m good to go!
So let’s get into how to make it.
General Directions that go for all cooking methods.
- Place 3 to 4 pounds of bones in a cooking pot, i.e stock pot, crock pot or Instant pot.
- ** If you’re making beef broth, it’s a good idea to have a combination of some meaty bones, beef marrow bones and knuckle bones. This combination makes a richer broth. I have used just knuckle bones before. It was okay, just not as rich and tasty as using the combination of bones.
- Roast the meaty bones in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes or so until well-browned to bring out the flavor. Place the bones and drippings into your pot.
- Cover with 4 quarts of quality water (I use distilled).
- Add 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white vinegar for softer bones like chicken and up to 1/2 cup for denser bones like beef. (I use white vinegar; I prefer to use a strong acid to leach the collagen out.)
- From here, you can add some optional ingredients:
- 2 to 3 stalks of celery chopped in 1 inch sections
- 1 onion coarsely chopped
- 1 leek sliced in 1 inch sections (white part only)
- 2 to 3 garlic cloves chopped
- various herbs about 10 minutes before cooking process is done. This is for the stove top and crock-pot only.
Place all ingredients in a large stock pot, cover with the lid and place on a large burner.
Turn the stove on high until the water begins to boil, then turn down to low and allow the stock to simmer.
Simmer for 12 to 24 hours for chicken and pork bones and no less than 24 for beef knuckle bones.
Place all ingredients in crock and cover with the lid.
Turn on high until boiling and then turn down to low to allow the stock to simmer.
Simmer chicken and pork bones for 12 to 24 hours, beef for no less than 24 hours and up to 48.
Place all ingredients in pot. Fill pot with water until it is about an inch below the max fill line.
If you have a soup/broth option, choose this. If not, select manual.
For chicken and pork bones, cook for 2 hours and 4 hours for beef knuckle bones.
- I strongly suggest letting the Instant pot depressurize naturally! The first time I made broth in the Instant pot and flipped the release valve, I had broth with small bits of chicken goop spew out all over my cabinets.
Okay, so now you’ve got a couple quarts of broth, what’s the best way to store it? This took quite a bit of experimenting to figure out, but I discovered a method that really works well for me… Bone Broth Ice Cubes 🙂
1 to 2 cup measuring cup
A couple Silcone or plastic ice-cube trays
Place a colander over a large pot and pour the contents from your broth pot into it. This will separate the bones from the broth.
I immediately place the broth in the fridge for a day or so. As the broth cools, the fat will float to the top so that it can be skimmed before storage.
When the fat has solidified, use a large spoon to gently scrape the fat off the broth. If you’re making chicken broth, just toss the fat. However, if you’re making beef broth and you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you can save the fat to render into *tallow. (*More on tallow in a later post.)
If your broth wiggles and jiggles like jello, that’s a good thing! That means you have a broth that’s rich in gelatin. But since we’re going to be making broth ice-cubes, you’ll need to warm the broth up slightly until the broth returns to a liquid.
Fill your measuring cup with broth and hold the small strainer over your ice cube tray to catch any particles that you don’t want in your liquid then slowly pour broth into each section.
Put any remaining broth back into the refrigerator until you’re ready to make your next batch.
Leave the broth cubes in the freezer until completely frozen then transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer bag. Eight ice cubes make about one liquid cup.
And there you have it. Don’t let the lengthy directions intimidate you. Once you make it a couple of times, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making it all along.
If you have any questions, concerns or new ideas for preparation and storing of bone broth, please don’t hesitate to post on my Facebook page.