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Aug 24, 2010 02:55 PM

Stock Pot Quality vs. Meat Stock Clarity

In cooking a beef stock and following all the golden rules (cold water to simmer blanching, cold water rinse and simmer) does the material/quality of the stock pot make a significant impact in the clarity of the resulting product?

Online, a 100qt stock pot ranges in prices online from $100 to $500+. What makes one stock pot superior to another? Are there advantages to aluminum over stainless steel?

I was told a rumor that certain stock pots result in a clearer beef stock. Is there any truth to this assertion?


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  1. No difference in my experience., A heavier/thicker stock pot can go to and hold a slow simmer better than a cheaper one, with no hot spots or warping.

    1. For great stock consider a slow cooker.

      For crystal clear stock consider the freezing method. Takes time but nothing could be simpler or more effective. http://fromcooktotrainedchefandbeyond... OTOH, the stock loses all the collagen and, with it, a lot of the richness.

      Oops! I see if you're interested in a 100qt pot that a slow cooker is NOT going to be any sort of solution for you. =o

      2 Replies
      1. re: rainey

        Why would you make stock and then purposely remove the gelatin from it???

        1. re: joonjoon

          To clarify it, as you might for a consume or other clear sauce. If necessary, you can re-add gelatin after the stock is clarified.

          Technically, you would most likely do it with broth, not bones-only stock, but most people use the terms interchangeably anymore.

          There are other methods of clarification I haven't tried yet but that seem quite interesting.

          Would be a good deal quicker than the freezing method. I don't know how it works for liquids that already contain gelatin. Will have to try it sometime.

      2. Thanks Quine,

        The ultimate goal is production of stock in the 400qt per day range, so a slow cooker would unfortunately not be an option. The freezing method is most certainly interesting! However, waiting for a 100qt block of broth to melt could take a few days.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mahi03

          Yes indeed! Even 4qts takes quite a while. At least overnight and maybe longer. Plus it monopolizes a lot of real estate in the fridge while it's happening.
          Still, it's a neat thing to do for the experience and to marvel at the impeccable clarity but once was enough for me.

          1. re: mahi03

            Sounds like this is a commercial venture. Have you considered all the implications of creating 400 quarts of beef broth daily?

            A full 100 quart pot of broth will weigh over 200 lbs not even counting the weight of the pot, so you'll probably need a spigot arrangement, as kaleokahu mentioned.

            Another question: Do you have a stove powerful enough to bring 100 quarts of broth to a simmer in a reasonably short period of time? As a beer home brewer, I've done 5 gallon batches, starting with about 8 gallons of liquid, and it takes three hours to come to a slow boil on a home stove. I ultimately bought a 175,000 BTU outdoor propane burner, which could bring eight gallons to a boil in about 20 minutes.

            For your purposes, you really need a steam-jacketed kettle, not a stock pot. Even used, it's probably going to cost in the vicinity of $5,000, if a few quick web searches are any indication.

          2. Quine's got it right: the ability to hold simmer and avoid sudden boils will do wonders for eventual clarity even with the bathtub of a stock pot you're looking at.

            500 mL agar gel filtration via the freezer method is about 30 hours for me; 500 mL gelatin filtration via the freezer method is upwards of 48 hours. Ergo syneresis isn't going to help you clear the stock (and you do have that pesky mouth feel issue to contend with too). I do have one suggestion which can improve on clarity for the volume if you use it properly: the Superbag.

            By the way, what exactly would you use to skim a 100 qt stockpot? Giant spoon?

            1 Reply
            1. re: wattacetti

              Chefs tell me the pot makes little difference for stock. You can buy a cheap or expensive pot.
              I bought a cheap one (stainless steel) and am very happy. Are you running a restaurant??

            2. Copper offers a quicker chill in the icebath after, but at 100L, who's gonna lift it?

              I have seen some large, old, premium stockers equipped with a drain spigot which, if connected to a spiral beer wort-chiller (heat exchanger) in a separate icebath, would greatly improve clarity with little mess.