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Hey all do I really need 6 lbs. of bones to make stock? I usually use between 1 -2 lbs.!

Hey guys good morning/evening well I am a huge proponent of making and consuming stocks, I believe the nutritional benefits they give us are unmatched by anything else!

I always made my stocks with maybe 4-5-6 bones, totalling around 1-2 lbs., however I have read many recipes, namely Emeril for example and other websites', where they ask for 6lbs.!!!!!

In my opinion it is not the quantity of the bones, it is only important that you simmer for many many hours and include lots of root vegetables/herbs/spices and such . .

My stocks taste great however I wanted to make sure that I am getting the best benefit out of these stocks and would hate to know that I will never get a nutrient rich stock with less than 6lbs!

Ok thank you have a nice day :)

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  1. NEED 6LBS?? I don't know.

    I use the carcasses of 2 Costco (or similar) chickens. (They fill a large zip top bag so that many bones would be about the same.)

    Anyway, I put that much chicken in my slow cooker and let it go for a day. When I strain off I get 2 pints of stock.

    So how much is that by weight?? I don't know.

    The question I have for you is, are you happy with your stock??


    1. hey man thank you! i am happy yes, however i am really anal when it comes to food. i guess if you really think about it, 2lbs of bones vs 6lbs of bones it wouldn't make sense that one is "wrong" or "right . . any amount of bones will add nutrients. yes 6lbs would probably be a more nutrient rich stock but 2lbs. is probably just fine :)
      have a good one then :)

      1. i'm not sure what your goal is with your stock, but if it's nutrients, well then the more you put in the more you'll get out. you can't extract more than what you've already taken out.

        my thing is just to fill up the pot as much as i possibly can because i want an intense stock. the last one i did was 8.5lbs... but that was an intense pork ramen base i had going for 10hrs to feed about 10 ppl. apparently it was quite good.

        1. How much stock are you making? How much do they make? It's the relative quantity of bones that matters.

          1. Your question can't be correctly answered unless you tell us what VOLUME of stock you want to make. The ratio used in the Culinary Institute of America stock recipes is 5-6 lbs of bones per gallon of water. This is what I try to use when I make stock and it comes out richly flavored and with lots of lip smacking gelatin.

            Why don't you just try an experiment? Make two stocks side by side, one with 1-2lbs per gallon and one at 5-6 lbs per gallon and see what the differences are in terms of taste, mouth fell, how they work for soups or when greatly reduced in a stock.

            2 Replies
            1. re: kmcarr

              hey sorry it took awhile i have been busy, as we all have :)

              jeez that would be tough all i know is i use a 8qt pot (i am getting a 20qt stock pot very very soon just for this purpose :D ) with about 1-2lbs of bones and then i throw a bunch of parsnips, onions, celery, carrots, garlic in as well (plus spices and then the red wine deglaze part). . i try to follow emeril's recipe. . . all i know is the first and only time i did this, which was last week, my first time making beef stock, because i put too many vegetables in i couldn't fit much water, so i literally ended up with maybe 2 1/2 cups to 3 cups of the stock . . which was a hugely smaller quantity than when i usually make the pork stock i usually make!

              it's ok it was my first attempt i will try again :)
              i think what turns me away is the amount of bones, when i look at this 6lb bag of bones i have i can't even imagine that fitting into any stockpot let alone a 20qt one, but i guess it's possible! i will have to order up another set of bones then (i highly recommend humanly raised non-gmo fed beef from storm hill co-op, purchased from atmytable.com, BEST there is!)

              thanks you guys i will follow somewhere between emeril's 1.5 gallons per 7lbs. and CIA's 1 gallon per 5-6lbs.! thank you again have a good weekend :)

              1. re: kmcarr

                and i'm sorry i should have answered your other question . . i would ultimately like 1 gallon of stock everytime i attempt this which would yield me 16 cups of stock which is great! however i can't possibly fit 12-14lbs of bones into my pot so i will have to settle with a yield of 8cups, or .5 gallon :)
                thanks again

              2. It also depends on what kind of stock you are making. I use about 8 pounds of roasted soup bones or beef shanks with meat attached for a gallon of beef stock. I use a crock pot on low for 10 hours so I get everything out of those ingredients.

                For chicken stock, if 2 or 3 pounds of bones were mostly large bones like leg and thigh bones, that would probably be enough. I would want to add some meat to it. though. Ican buy leg quarters for 59 cents per pound so I am not beyond roasting an extra leg quarter when I am making a meal of them just so I can throw one into the stock. I would throw a chicken foot or two in except that chicken feet are $1.59 per pound. I can buy a leg quarter for 59 cents per pound....ridiculous!

                Bottom line...if you refer to your stock as chicken or beef jello, you are doing something right.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Hank Hanover

                  "Bottom line...if you refer to your stock as chicken or beef jello, you are doing something right."

                  That's what I was thinking, too- are you getting a good rich GELLED stock from 2 pounds of bones? I make stock many times a week (I'm on a modified version of GAPS so I go through a ton of stock,) and use 5-6 pounds of beef bones and a foot if I have them or 2 chickens to a gallon of water and cook it in the crockpot on low for 48 hours. Its the best tasting stock I've made in my life. The more gelatin you get the more healthful and the better mouthfeel.

                2. For 2 quarts of stock, I combine the roaster bones from that evening (usually a 6# chicken) with all the scraps of carrot peelings, onions, celery that I've collected and put in a freezer bag, and some pepper corns.

                  It all goes in a pressure cooker for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and comes out nice, rich and gelatinous when refrigerated.

                  I guess the amount of bones dictates how much stock you'd ultimately end up with, based upon how rich you want to make it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: EdBakesBread

                    I keep meaning to make some in a pressure cooker. Although, there is something to be said about smelling that stock half the night in the slow cooker.

                  2. With the cost of energy these days, it's simply not worth it, it doesn't seem, to run the oven to brown, then run the stove for hours, just to make a couple of pints of stock. But I wouldn't even know how to calculate the cost, truth be told. I always start with at least 6 lbs. of bones that end up in my 9-qt. stockpot, filled perhaps 2/3's of the way up by the time the water is added.

                    One of the local stores has two CrockPot models at half-price this month, and I was thinking of buying one just to do stocks. I figure if simmering stock is partially heating the kitchen/dining room area, there's a lot of energy leakage going on that could probably be eliminated with a CrockPot.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: RelishPDX

                      The only problem with making stock with a slow cooker is capacity. I have a 6.5 quart slow cooker and by the time you jam a bunch of beef bones and meat in there, you may have problems getting a full gallon of water into one. However, you can simmer twice if you have to. Use 3-5 pounds of bone and meat and a gallon of water. After 1 night of simmering, remove the meat and add more meat and simmer again for several hours.

                      With chicken, it isn't such a problem.

                      Btw... stock, soups and stews are the best things a slow cooker does. A lot of the other stuff is a compromise between quality/texture you get with the traditional method and the convenience of the slow cooker.

                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                        Great advice, thank you!

                        The CrockPot linked below is the one that's on sale for $20 at a local store (not a Walmart). 5 qt. "Smart Pot" in black:


                        The bigger one that was also on sale for half-off seems to be out of stock, as the display was gone. Might still be available at another store, but the 5 qt. could be a good one for a novice who'll just be running it all day or night for stocks. I'd be happy if it could do 4# of neck bones per batch, since beef and pork bones are generally sold in 2# packs here.

                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                          I guess one mans poor capacity is another's perfect fit. I get a half quart of stock and it fits exactly perfectly in a large zip top bag. Also means it fits perfectly in my half quart measuring cup. So I don't need a bigger vessel.


                        2. re: RelishPDX

                          it's not necessary to brown the bones, you just get a different kind of flavour and a huge difference in colour. i actually prefer not to brown mine because i think there is a certain purity of flavour.

                        3. depending on how many bones i have, i will use either an 8- or 12- qt stockpot. i prefer the bones unroasted, for time-savings and also a lighter flavor. i usually use between 3 and 6 pound of bones. the primary ingredient is the boney, oogly stuff. for beef i use neck bones because they are easy to get, oxtail on sale, and feet when i can find them. for chicken, i mostly use feet, heads and backs.

                          the veggies are only a small component, and i use carrots, onions or scallions (whatever i have), garlic, sometimes tomato, sometimes ginger, bay leaf, dried thyme and peppercorns.

                          i'll cook it anywhere from 6-18 hours, strain and then reduce for ease of freezer storage. however many pounds you begin with, it's the reduction that is key.

                          i also never salt it until i am actually using it.