Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 30, 2001 09:15 PM

I need a primer on marrow

  • b

I'm going to make the beef ravioli recipe from Richard Olney's Simple French Food. One of the ingredients is marrow. I've never bought or cooked with it. So what am I looking for? I understand I'm asking a butcher for a bone, but do I need to specify the type of bone? And do I have the butcher cut it or do something to render the marrow accessible?

and if anyone has any experiences with making ravioli that I should know about, let me know.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. All I had to do was tell the butcher I wanted beef marrow bones. Make sure they're cut in relatively short lengths and cracked. Or you can put them on the sidewalk and take a hammer to them yourself. (g)

    1. You want "marrow bones" cut into short lengths, as Melanie said, or sawn lengthwise, which makes removing the marrow easier.

      You don't want the joint end of the bone, which has no marrow in it, and is used for soup only. Hopefully you are dealing with a real butcher who can give you what you need without being prompted.

      Supermarket meat department workers don't understand what marrow is and how it is prepared, so if you shop there, you may have to inspect each package to make sure there are only marrow sections in it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ironmom
        Brandon Nelson

        G-day to ya Ironmom...

        This looked like a good place to make a few points about supermarket meat workers. They are not all created equal. Most big chains will have a mix of actual "butchers" and "meat clerks' through the day. They are there to serve different functions. Butchers are well trained. They know the animals they work with from head to hoof. They know that a N.Y strip and a K.C. strip are different regional lingo for the same cut of beef. They know the cuts and bones that will yield enough gelatin to give your demi glace the propper texture. They carry their own knives. Many of them could still bone out a side of beaf into propper display cuts.

        A meat clerk is a service worker who is their to wrap and tag meat, assist customers, and clean up the shop. They are often younger men or women. Thats not stated to be sexist, it's a pattern. Anyone that is newer to the industry is not one of the best trained (generally) and that includes the youth and the ladies. Meat clerks are a product of the last 15 years or so. The industry and the unions created them to be cheaper help. They don't cut meat or use saws.

        I am lucky enough to work in a store where 3 of the 4 guys involved are old school seasoned butchers. I have a lot more meat knowledge than the average customer, but I pale when compared to these men. I know infinitly more about meat than our meat clerk does though.

        If you are going to use a supermarket meat counter as your primary meat source get to know the guys in the shop. Find out who manages it and ask him who his best cutters are. That way you know who to trust with your meat questions.

        I wish you all a delicious and happy 2002!

        P.S. Continue to shop the chow market and use the links through chowhound. Amazon has some great deals right now use the Chowhound link and support this sight!

      2. Hey Ben f,

        I know this is an old post but...I'm about to make these ravioli and I wanted to know if (1) you liked them, indeed thought they were the exquisite experience Olney suggests they are and (2) if you think they could be constructed a bit in advance (say, 4-5 hours) and held cool, and then cooked. Any help is very much appreciated!