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Include bone marrow when making stock?

When making stock, when you think about it, shouldn't you NOT include marrow?

This question really only applies to beef and veal stock, since chicken bones are too small for you to be able to scoop out the marrow.

I've been thinking, shouldn't you scoop out the marrow before you make stock with bones? Won't the marrow just make the stock cloudy and/or add weird little chunks to it? And most of the gelatin and flavor comes from the meat and bone - it seems to me, as tasty as marrow is, it would be an "off" flavor in stock, which is just supposed to taste meaty. And marrow will just add more to the fat that needs to be scooped out later. Does the flavor of the marrow even go into the stock? Wouldn't it not since oil and water don't mix (and marrow is mostly oil/fat)?

Any thoughts?

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  1. I roast the bones, then put them into the stock pot and cook with the rest of the ingredients. They get strained out when the stock is done. If the stock is cooked slowly on low heat the coligen melts into the stock liquid and enhances the flavor.

    1. As long as the bones aren't cracked, the marrow shouldn't really come out in the way you're describing. Heck, maybe the bones filter the marrow? Either way, I've never scooped the marrow out of my soup bones. If you really want to be hardcore classical, you could always do the egg white raft after to clarify and remove guck like that.

      1. If chefs or home cooks had to scoop out marrow from legs bones before making stock, stock would cease to be made. Simply put, too much work.
        Marrow is the fatty network of connective tissue inside bones, which produces red blood cells. Slowly simmering the stock allows the collagen ( collagen is synthesized in bone marrow, and found elsewhere in the bones and carilage) to melt into the stock and enhance flavor and texture. The bones are not usually cracked before making stock, although sawed bones will have marrow exposed, the marrow is not removed before making stock, it doesn't leave weird chunks in the stock, it doesn't leave an "off" flavor in the stock, but rather enhances the flavor, it will still be contained in the bones when you remove them from the stock (as you can see by observing the cut end of the bone) after simmering the prescribed length of time. As for fat content, bone marrow is comprised of red hematopoietic tissue, and yellow marrow, which is fat cells. So marrow is not all fat.
        Forget about the marrow. It's an integral part of the stock process.

        1. Look here for a previous discussion on marrow:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/375710

          1. I would never make a conscious effort to remove the marrow.

            Part of the reason is that I don't care what my stock LOOKS like -- either cloudy or crystal clear.

            I only care about how my stock TASTES like, and in my opinion the marrow definitely adds flavor.

            1. The only reason to scrape out marrow is if your making a pipe with the bone... and that would take place long after you have extracted the wholesome, hearty goodness and flavor.

              I was taught to put a healthy splash of vinegar in when any kind of bone is involved.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Rojellio

                Well, in lieu of vinegar as an acid, I sometimes put red wine into my beef stock when simmering...but just for a punch of flavor. What is it that the vinegar does to the bone/stock?
                It is known that immersing bone in acid will deminerialize it over time, but a healthy splash of vinegar is not an acid bath.;-)

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  An acid, like vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice, helps extract the calcium and also helps dissolve the collagen.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Ok, I guess I knew that, but I'm wondering why so few stock-making formulas don't call for the addition of an acid. Maybe it's just because the collagen breaks down over the long simmering time anyway. As I wrote, I use red wine occasionally in beef stock for flavor, but don't think the small amount of acid in a few cups of wine to gallons of water would affect the collagen levels particularly. I would definitely object to a stock with a underlying vinegar note; it would result in a final sauce not being made from the pure flavor I was looking for.

                    1. re: bushwickgirl

                      The vinegar (or sometimes in my case, lemon juice) cooks off during the stock making process.

                      I often add an acid to my stock (not very much, just a bit), and have never had an acidic aftertaste.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        How does it cook off? Do you mean evaporate or the acidic flavor is nullified in some other manner?
                        When I add red wine, I can detect the flavor of it in the finished stock.

                        Far and away from bone marrow...

              2. In Cookwise, Shirley Corriher recommends cracking chicken bones before making stock, to allow the marrow to flavor the liquid. Nobody knows everything, but I have a lot of confidence in her wisdom and knowledge.

                1. Including the beef marrow is a matter of personal preference when it comes to texture of the stock. Roasting and simmering the bones will extract a fair amount of marrow but a good amount stays hidden in the bones. The last time I made beef stock, I used a long metal skewer, scraping & poking all of the marrow out of the bones into the stock after the bones had simmered for a hour. The stock simmered for another 5 hours to concentrate and reduce. As I said it is personal preference, with the added marrow, the stock had a velvety smoothness and more depth. It made a sumptuous, silky smooth, french onion soup.

                  1. My experience is that it taste better with the marrow in it unskimmed.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: phokingood

                      Definitely! While you should skim some of the fat should be skimmed, the marrow adds a tremendous velvety feel that is sooo luxurious.

                    2. Leave the marrow in the stock. If you roast the bones and vegetables and do not boil rapidly the stock should remain pretty clear. If you need a crystal clear stock, for a consomme or aspic etc,you can go through the clarification process but that will make your stock less flavorful. You can then reduce or add MSG to recover some of the lost flavor.

                      1. I will frequently scoop out the marrow and spread it on toast for a cook's treat. I don't do this with all of the marrow bones because when I make beef stock, it is usually a large amount and that would just be too much marrow to consume at one time, so into the stockpot goes the marrow.