Have you ever made homemade beef bone broth?
Part of our goal with our farm is to make unique cuts of beef less intimidating. Beef Bones is a cut of beef that many people find intimidating, but they are a wonderful addition to any kitchen. With only beef bones and water, you can make flavorful bone broth that is the base of many soups, stews, sauces and gravy.
Although we know that it’s much easier to buy broth at a local store, homemade bone broth tastes so much better and it’s made with real food — beef bones and water.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone Broth is nutrient-dense, collagen-rich liquid made from simmering animal bones (beef, chicken, turkey, fish, pork) in water for an extended period of time. In its most basic form, bone broth only requires bones and water to make. However, you can also add vegetables, fresh herbs and spices for extra flavor.
Benefits of Making Beef Bone Broth:
Bone Broth has had a sudden rise in popularity. Here are some of the reasons it is so popular:
- Save money and reduce food waste. Many people throw bones away, but that’s such a waste! You can save bones from steak, pork and chicken, and freeze them until you have enough for broth. Or, if you purchase beef from us, your order comes with soup bones. Put those bones to good use!
- Making beef bone broth is simple. To make bone broth, all you need is beef bones and water. That’s it. Bone broth can be made on your stovetop, slow cooker, or Instant Pot.
- Homemade beef bone broth tastes better. Once you make homemade broth, you’ll want to drink it alone because it’s so good. Or, you can also use it when making any other recipe that calls for beef broth or stock, such as roast, soups, gravy, flavorful rice, and more.
- Beef bone broth is nutritious. How nutritious? According to the USDA Nutrient Database, 1 cup of homemade chicken or beef stock ranges from 31 to 86 calories, 0.2 to 2.9g fat, 4.7 to 6g protein, and varying amounts of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other minerals. Keep in mind that the nutritional content of bone broth varies greatly based on the recipe, type of bone, ingredients and cooking time.
- Beef bone broth improves health. There are numerous claims that broth is a health and beauty panacea that is beneficial to our joints, digestive system and skin. It’s important to note, that at this times, these statements are anecdotal claims. Unfortunately, there aren’t any scientific studies that say bone broth can aid in digestion, improve gut health, help fight inflammation, cause joint health and relieve joint pain, make skin firmer, help with weight loss, or strengthen bones. The reason many of these claims exist is because broth does contain trace amounts of bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, glucosamine, and collagen that our bodies need. (Note: there are studies about the benefits of individual elements found in broth like vitamins, minerals and collagen. However, there are not academic studies that we are aware of about the benefits of “bone broth” itself.)
What is the main ingredient in bone broth?
To make bone broth, all it takes is bones and water. That’s it.
We like to add apple cider vinegar to optimize the extraction of minerals from the bones. We also like to add vegetables and herbs for added nutrition, but all it really takes is bones and water.
What’s the difference between broth, stock, and bone broth?
Broth, stock and bone broth are very similar and the terms are often used interchangeably. The biggest difference between the three comes down to cook time and ingredients. The longer the liquid cooks, the more nutrients and minerals leach from the bones.
- Broth: Water simmered with vegetables, aromatics, and meat. Broth can include bones, but it doesn’t have to. It is cooked for a shorter amount of time, about 45 minutes to 2 hours. Broth does not get a thick gelatinous texture.
- Stock: Water simmered with vegetables, aromatics, and animal bones. The animal bones are sometimes roasted, and often there is some meat still attached. It is cooked for 4 to 6 hours.
- Bone Broth: Water simmered with animal bones that have bits of meat attached, aromatics and vegetables. The animal bones are usually roasted in advance. It is cooked for 12-48 hours. The long cook time results in thicker consistency due to collagen-rich gelatin pulled from the bone. Bone broth is usually unseasoned. However, some recipes, like ours, do call for a small amount of seasoning like apple cider vinegar because it helps pull nutrients from the bones. When chilled, bone broth should have the texture and jiggle of Jell-O.
How long does it take to make your own bone broth?
Beef Bone Broth can be made in a stockpot on the stove, slow cooker or pressure cooker. Each method takes a different amount of time to cook.
Stovetop and Slow Cooker: Let the broth simmer for 12-24 hours. The longer you simmer it, the more nutrition will be extracted from the bones. Check on the broth occassionally to ensure that the water level still covers the bones. Add more water as necessary.
Pressure Cooker: Set the pressure cooker’s time for 120 minutes. Allow 20 minutes for pressure to build. Release pressure using the natural-release method according to manufacturer’s instructions, approximately 40 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid.
Tips for the Best Bone Broth:
When making bone broth, there are a few steps that will make the process go smoother.
1. Blanch the bones.
To blanch or not to blanch? When making broths other than beef, we always blanch the bones. However, when making beef broth, we sometimes skip this step. If you research online, you’ll find varying opinions on this topic. The benefit of blanching the bones is it gets rid of any impurities. To blanch, place bones in a large stock pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Let the bones simmer for 20 minutes before draining and roasting.
2. Roast the bones.
A step we NEVER skip in making broth is roasting the bones. Roasting the bones is the most important step of making bone broth because it adds a depth of flavor and color to the broth. The purpose of roasting the bones is to caramelize them, not burn them. Always roast your bones!
3. The best vegetables, herbs and spices.
To make a basic bone broth, all you really need are bones and water. Everything else is optional. When you add vegetables, you will flavor the broth and add nutrients to it too. Typically, beef bone broth recipes call for a mixture of onions, carrots, and garlic. If you want to add other vegetables, go for it, but it’s not necessary. Other vegetables and herbs that are often added are celery, scallions, peppercorns, ginger, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, cilantro, and sea salt, just to name a few. The flavor of the broth will change based on what you add, so we recommend experimenting to find the combination you like the best.
4. Stovetop, slow cooker or pressure cooker.
We’ve used all three cooking methods, and we like them all for different reasons. Something to keep in mind when choosing a cooking method is that the flavor is more intense with longer cook times.
A pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot, is the best method to use when you’re short on time. Or, if you don’t like how your house smells when making bone broth for 24 hours (it is a strong smell).
5. Strain the broth.
Once you’ve finished simmering your broth, you’re ready to strain out the liquid. First, remove the bones and set aside. Then, take a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, and place over a very large glass bowl. Once the broth is cooled, place the bowl in your refrigerator for a few hours until it thickens and all the fat congeals at the top. Poke through the fat with a utensil, lift it, and discard it.
6. Storing bone broth.
Bone Broth freezes beautifully.
Whenever possible, we recommend storing the broth in the quantity you regularly use. For example, many recipes call for 1-2 cups of broth, so we often use 8 or 16 ounce glass jars for storage. Another option for storing is with ice cube trays. We’ve never had much success doing it this way since it takes a lot of cubes to make 1-cup of broth, but it may work for you!
If you plan to use the broth immediately, store in glass jars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If you plan to use the broth in the future, store in glass jars in the freezer for up to 6 months. When filling the jars, be sure to leave about 1/2-inch space at the top of the jars so the broth can expand. Thaw in refrigerator overnight before using.
Tips for making your broth gel.
The secret to making broth gel is in the amount of bones and type of bones. Gelatinous broths are said to be the most beneficial for health, but even if your broth doesn’t gel, it will still be flavorful, nutritious and beneficial.
The best bones for broth are bones with the most cartilage and connective tissue. We look for bones that have lots of meat, such as marrow bones and oxtail.
The amount of water you use can also be a determining factor of how gelatinous your broth will be. Only use enough water to cover the bones. Check the broth regularly (if making on the stovetop or crock pot) to maintain the same level of water. Add more water if necessary.
A general rule of thumb is to use the following ratio for the amount of bones to the size of the pot you’re making the broth in:
- 5 pounds of bones when making broth in a 10 quart pot, slow cooker or pressure cooker
- 3-4 pounds of bones when making broth in a 8 quart pot, slow cooker or pressure cooker
- 2-3 pounds of bones when making broth in a 6 quart pot, slow cooker or pressure cooker
Beef Bone Broth Recipe for Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Stovetop
Beef Bone Broth (Stovetop, Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker)
- 4 lbs beef bones The amount of bones will vary based on the size of pot. See notes
- 8-10 cups of water The amount of water will vary. Barely cover the bones with water.
- 2 medium onion quartered
- 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped roughly
- 1 head garlic
- 1 bouquet garni such as parsley
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- Preheat your oven to 450
- Place bones in a large roasting pan.
- Cook for 45 minutes, or until the bones have caramelized.
- Transfer bones to a large stock pot, crock pot or pressure cooker. Add apple cider vinegar, onion, carrots, garlic and bouquet garni, if desired. Add enough water to barely cover the bones.
- STOVETOP: Bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered for 24 hours.
- CROCKPOT: Set your crockpot to low and cook for 24 hours or longer
- INSTANT POT: Close and lock the lid. Select Manual pressure according to manufacturer's instructions; set timer for 120 minutes. Allow 20 minutes for pressure to build. Release pressure using the natural-release method according to manufacturer's instructions, approximately 40 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid.
- Remove bones and vegetables from pot.
- Strain the broth by lining a strainer with cheesecloth and set over a large bowl.
- Pour broth through strainer. *Discard solids if only making one batch of bone broth, set aside bones if making multiple batches
- Let the broth cool. Cover the cooled bowl of bone broth and place in your refrigerator for several hours. The fat will rise to the top. Remove the fat cap.
- Put the broth in mason jars and leave about ½ inch at the top so there is room for the beef broth to expand.
One More Thing!
Do you want to learn more about beef? Join our weekly e-newsletter where we share farm happenings, recipes and beef availability. Sign-up and get a cheat sheet with 9-must-ask questions before buying beef directly from a farmer. Or, we have an entire ebook about beef that goes through purchasing and preparing beef from a cattle farmers perspective.
Here are a few other links you may like:
- What everybody ought to know about beef cuts
- Buying a Cow. How Much Beef Is It?
- Is It Done Yet? The Best Meat Thermometer
- How We Raise Our Grass Fed Beef
- Bonfire Burger
- Prime Rib Roast with Garlic Herb Butter
Favorite kitchen products for making bone broth
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