Cost of Bones
Just curious what other people are paying per pound for various bones:
I've only ever seen them for $2+ per pound (I only know of one place to get them) and it seems expensive. But then again, at $2/lb., to make 3 quarts to a gallon of stock costs $20, which is cheaper than actually buying the stock my butcher makes (usually about $11/quart), and lets me have control over the process.
What do you pay and what do you think is a reasonable cost for bones?
I buy whole chickens for $0.89/lb and use the bones when I'm done with the meat. Since I'd be buying the chicken anyway (and the whole chicken is quite a bit cheaper than either the boneless or the bone-in chicken in pieces) I consider the stock I make to be a freebie.
I've never made veal, pork, duck or lamb stock, but I imagine I'd go about the process in a similar way -- buying bone-in meat and either saving the cooked bones or cutting the raw meat off the bones and using both separately.
I do the same with chicken - I frequently buy breasts for $.99/# and sometimes I can get leg quarters for $.49/lb. I usually buy about 10 pounds at a time, spend half an hour trimming and boning them, then stash them in the freezer until I get around to making stock.
Beef bones, I get at our public market - there's a butcher there who sells bags of "dog bones" - the regular ones are $2/bag - about 4-5 pounds, and the big, heavy-duty bones (the ones my guy DOESN'T chew into shards) are $4, and the last bag I bought weighed 6#. The great thing about this guy is that he doesn't meticulously trim the bones - they're nice and meaty.
Last time I made beef stock, I used a $2 bag of bones, plus a couple of hunks of beef shank that I got at another butcher (about $3.50 total, as I recall), and I ended up with some decent stock.
Chicken stock is economical to make from whole chicken or parts. The other stocks are expensive to make, both because of the cost of the meat and even of bones, and because poultry yields more flavor per pound of meat than mammalian meats. I pay close to $2/# for raw beef bones for my dog. Those were free, or a pittance, 40 yrs. ago. Along with the return of head-to-tail eating has come heat-to-tail pricing.
I buy whole chickens at 67-85 cents a pound or so (the sales vary between stores,) and beef bones between $1.29 and $1.49 a pound depending on the bones- beef feet are $1.49 a pound. The crockpot has stock in it 4-5 days a week here.
In Portland, OR, prices per pound:
Beef neck bones - $1.39
Pork neck bones - $1.39
Whole chickens - 79¢ (Foster Farms on sale)
Chicken leg/thigh quarters, frozen in 10 lb. bags - 69¢
Duck wings - $1.19
I've also seen plain pork bones frozen in bags at one of the Asian markets for something ridiculously cheap like 49¢ per pound, but there was no meat on them.
The oven-browned duck wings made 14 cups of an incredibly rich stock, and rendered out a good half a cup of duck fat from 6 lbs. worth. I wasn't expecting any fat on the wings at all.
The beef and pork bones had sizable amounts of meat on them. Oxtails were running $5.59 per pound the last time I checked.
wow i'm finding beef and pork bones for well under $1/lb at my asian market (so. cal). chicken is as others have said. ive never made veal/duck/lamb stock.