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Making Your Own Beef Stock or Broth – Is it Worth it? A Real Food Recipe Review
Meat broth, or stock, is a basic staple of any good kitchen. (See here for an explanation of the difference between broth and stock – basically broth is seasoned, stock is not). It can be used as a base or flavor component for a wide variety of dishes. Unfortunately, many home chefs use store bought broth or stock that is little more than water, flavoring and salt. The real stuff is made from bones simmered for a long time until all the excellent nutrients and flavors are brought out into the liquid. Homemade broth is highly nutritious, boosts immune system function, and can help relieve symptoms of a long list of common ailments. Real broth is one of the main components of the GAPS diet because of it’s gut healing properties. But is the homemade goodness of real broth easy to achieve? Is it worth it to make at home?
- Better for you – as stated above, homemade broth made with only wholesome ingredients is super healthy and full of healing properties
- Better for the earth – homemade broth leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than factory produced
- Saves Money – making homemade broth is cheap, and the quality you get vs the salty, watery supermarket stuff can’t be beat
- Easy – making homemade broth takes a long time, but is super easy to do
- Freezeable – make a big batch now and freeze in small portions for use in any recipe
- Takes a long time – bones should be simmered for at least a good 24 hours to extract the maximum nutrients
- Straining the broth can be a pain if you don’t have the right tools.
As I’ve been growing along on my green journey, I’ve learned how nutritious and healthy real, homemade broth is, and how ridiculously fake the store bought stuff is. When beef stew landed on my weekly menu, I knew I wanted to make real beef stock to use in the recipe.
Making beef stock is pretty straightforward. I used a simple recipe as a guide, but basically all you have to do is roast some beef bones in the oven (see above) and then simmer them for a looooooong time until all the marrow and meat scraps are falling off the bone. You can add some veggies and spices for added flavor to make a broth if you’d like.
I picked up some beef soup bones from my local butcher for about $2 a pound. I roasted them in the oven for about 45 minutes until they were browning and the juices were just starting to stick to the bottom of the pan. Then I placed the bones and meat scraps in a slow cooker, covered them with water, and set it to low. I let the bones simmer away for a day and a night, and most of the next day. I skimmed fat off the top occasionally and added water to keep the bones covered as necessary.
After about 30 hours of simmering, the bones were completely void of marrow or anything else, and starting to look like “dead” bones, if you know what I mean. I slowly strained the broth through coffee filters and into mason jars which held about 2 cups each: the perfect amount for most recipes. (Note: most stock recipes will tell you to strain through cheesecloth, which would have been much easier and faster than coffee filters, but I was working with what I had). I placed the jars in the freezer for later use.
When I was ready to make the stew, I pulled a jar from the freezer and let it sit in a pot of hot water while I prepped the rest of the ingredients. By the time I was ready to measure the stock, it was melted and ready to go. The beef stew simmered in the slow cooker all day (love my slow cooker!), and we enjoyed it very much with some quick and easy yeast rolls on the side.
Overall, making homemade beef stock was easy, especially with the slow cooker. The stock yield was good, and the flavor was excellent. It was much better than any store bought stock I’ve tried, and way more nutritious as well. I can’t wait to try out some chicken stock next!
Have you ever made homemade stock or broth? What’s your favorite method?
This entry was posted in In the Kitchen, Real Food and tagged better for the earth, better for you, cooking, cooking from scratch, easy, homemade, real food, reuse, saves money. Bookmark the permalink.
When I make homemade stock, I add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. It’s to help extract the minerals and goodness from the bones, so your stock is even better for you! It certainly doesn’t affect the taste at all.
I make chicken stock by throwing the following into a pot: left over roast chicken carcass, some veggies (celery, carrot), fresh herbs (thyme, parsley), garlic, onion and water, of course. Bring to the boil and simmer for at least 4–5 hours, scraping the white scum off the top every now and then. I also sit a steamer basket on top of the contents to keep it submerged.
The only downside to making my own stock is that I’ve found I have to add a little extra salt to any dishes I’m making with it as I don’t load my stock up with heaps of salt like the big manufacturers do.
Great idea with adding the ACV. And thanks for the salt tip. My husband did end up adding some extra pepper to the stew as he felt is was a little light on flavor.
I haven’t made beef stock in a long while, because they don’t sell the bones. So, great idea to ask the butcher for beef soup bones. Will have to give it a go again and ask. I do always save a hambone and use for bean soups or to cook with green beans. I freeze it until I’m ready to use it. I also get a gallon of broth from the leftover turkey carcass from Thanksgiving. It’s funny because my family members always give me the carcass to use and it makes the best soup! Thanks for your post. I enjoy your blog, it’s great to read reviews…
Nancy at livininthegreen.blogspot.com
Yes, definitely check with your butcher. When I asked mine if he had any, he smirked as if to say “I ALWAYS have some”.
I love my beef stock. One friend of mine (she’s a research scientist), decided to do a side-by-side taste test (plain, and in soup) of my stock versus her favorite organic brand. The next day, she called and asked for my recipe. Ha!
I roast my beef bones with onions in the oven at 400 till they start caramelizing. Then I load up my turkey roaster with them, plus a teaspoon of salt, half cup of red wine and a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar. I turn my roaster on low and leave it overnight. The next day, I strain out the broth and cool it in big pots in a sink full of ice water, then fridge it overnight to let the fat solidify on top.
I used to freeze my broth, but needed the space for other stuff. Since I figure it’s already been cooked to death, pressure-canning it can’t hurt it much more. Now I pressure can all my broth (can’t be water-bathed; it’s low acid). I put it up in various size jars, everything from my leftover 4-ouncers from jam up to quarts. That way, I don’t have broth sitting in the fridge waiting to be used up when the recipe only calls for half a cup.
We order our beef direct, and I always ask the butcher to save me the soup bones for SOUP. Lots of people ask for the soup bones for their dogs, and the butchers cut those completely differently. My bones have a lot of meat left on them, which makes for great broth. I fish out the meat when I’m done making broth, toss it with BBQ sauce, and serve it on toast, so it gets used twice.
I make chicken broth when we butcher our broilers; all the backs, feet (after they’re boiled and peeled), necks and wing tips go in the roaster overnight with water. Chicken doesn’t have to be baked first to make great broth. I don’t add veggies to my chicken broth because I make everything from chicken noodle soup to Thai curry to Indian curry to sukiyaki with my broth, and I don’t want my veggie choice in the broth to limit what recipes it will work well in. I can my chicken broth as well.
I’ve made seafood broths a couple of times. One of my friends is really into lobster; I have her save me all their shells, and make lobster bisque with those and a few shrimp and langostinos. I also make dashi broth for sukiyaki. Those I freeze, but I wrap them in extra plastic and vacuum seal them, because they’ll make the freezer reek of fish, otherwise.
I haven’t made pork/ham broth plain; I always throw my leftover ham in the freezer and pull it out with a ham hock (we buy ALL our meat direct from the farm) and make it into bean soup in the crock pot with some 7-bean soup mix and aromatics. When I’ve made up a ham in the crock pot, I save the broth/drippings from that and use it to make carnitas.
The only broth I’ve never fallen in love with is vegetable broth. We’re unrepentant carnivores here! We always have veggies and fruits at the table, whether fresh, frozen or dried; I generally try not to cook them too much, or they’ll lose most of their nutritional value. I guess that’s why vegetable stock hasn’t had much appeal for me!
Broth nerds unite! 🙂
So much GREAT information here! Thanks for taking the time to share all of your brothy wisdom!
We always made beef stock growing up and I make it in my own home as well. Thing is I’m Nigerian and by default we boil our beef before eating. Once I boil the beef, I save the stock for use in rice and other dishes. It sure beats paying $2 or more for stock in the grocery store
I’ve made homemade chicken but never homemade beef.
I have always made our own beef stock. Since we are beef farmers I guess it always seemed like the only way. B
I’ve never really been “into” using stock, chicken or beef. But I agree your method would be much better for you than storebought, so I applaud your efforts. 🙂
I make homemade stock from bones (super cheap at the grocery!) and use it for vegetable soup. I always look for either a chuck roast or chuck steak on sale, cut it up and throw it in there, too. Much as I love a good sirloin, nothing beats the tenderness and flavor of chuck cooked for hours and hours!
As far as equipment, my two best friends are a wide-mouthed funnel (like you use for canning) and a small strainer (just big enough to fit into the top of the funnel). I put the funnel on a jar, then put the strainer over that. When you pour in the goodies, the yucky fat and bones are left behind and easy to discard. Of course, the meat is also left behind, but obviously I rescue it. (And then I try not to eat too much of it so I have it for the soup, LOL!)
I also save any beef bones that are in my steaks and lamb chops to add to the beef bones I got when I bought a half a grass fed steer. The lamb gives the stock a rich meaty taste. When I first started reading about bone broth I thought I would never want to add vinegar to my broth because I thought I would taste it. Although that wasn’t true at all it recently occurred to me why…The vinegar draws out minerals and calcium from the bones (alkaline) which neutralizes the vinegar (acid) taste completely. Did everyone know that but me? Anyhow, I also pressure can all my broths. That way I can make a lot and not take up any room in the freezer or any time thawing. Those jars are my most requested “canned” gifts. Even more than jam:))
If you were to look into my freezer you would find three bags marked “beef scraps”, “chicken scraps” and “pork scraps”. Oh I guess there are actually four because there is a fish one too. I love making broth or is it stock? One uses bones and the other doesn’t. Bones rule! I’m going to have to start adding vinegar to mine to get out the extra nutrients.
We have saved up a ton of those Classico mason jars too. I’m bummed they changed their lid so it won’t fit a canning jar now.
Haha – busted on the reused tomato sauce jar! I love them! I noticed they changed their lids too. I’m not a canner, so I wasn’t sure how it would affect those who were.
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i love to make my own stock too. My favorite is chicken, but vegatable is good also. I can mine , to free up freezer space and if the power goes out I’m able to make a nice soup on the wood burning stove.
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