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How do you make beef bone stock?

What bones are the best to make a nutritious and good tasting beef bone stock? I know some who only use bones and some who use a mixture of bones and meaty bones or meat.

I found a great local butcher shop that sells only grass fed and grass finished beef. They have a lot of choices and it's quite confusing as i'm new to this bone stock making. They have soup bones (which are literally just bones with no meat on it), bone marrow, oxtail and so on. I asked my mom about bone stock making and she suggests me to use bone marrow and the soup bones. Will this taste good? Since i'm just simmering bones with no meat on it. I've read on several sites that some people have no sucess to bone stock making (horribly bad smell while simmering stock). So how do you make a sucessful good tasting bone stock?

I will be cooking my bone stock in my Crock Pot. Any help, suggestions and tips?

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  1. I use oxtails and marrow bones. Roast them first in a hot oven to brown them before adding to the crockpot.

    1. And a tablespoon or two of vinegar will help draw the minerals and whatnot out of the bones. Careful not to add too much; your stock will taste sour. I made that mistake and still have half a batch I'm reluctant to eat!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Violatp

        Make another batch and then mix it all together to dilute it. I've done that, too.....

        1. re: weezieduzzit

          Sometimes someone has to point out the obvious. Heh. Thanks!

      2. You can find countless beef stock recipes online and see what lights up for you, of course.

        One point I would add: consider boiling the bones briefly in water and then draining all that water and rinsing the bones, if you have any interest in a less cloudy style of stock. That gets rid of various foamy proteinoids that are not in themselves unwholesome but also not very helpful for stock flavor or appearance. Thereafter, you're fine using a crock-pot with all fresh water. You will not lose significant flavor from the first short boil.

        A stock that is made with absolutely no meat bones but only marrow and bones will still be good but delicate and not so "hearty." See if your butcher can't toss in some shanks, tail sections, even neck bones. I'd shoot for a half and half proportion of marrow bones to meatier bones. But it's not rocket science. Good luck!

        p.s., roasting the bones first is best if you want the heartier forms of beef stock, as for stews and darker sauces. But some lighter sauces and broths are based on unroasted bones.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bada Bing

          I definitely agree about using some meaty parts in your stock. The bones contribute gelatin and great mouthfeel but the flavor really comes from the meat. I make my stock with bones and shanks and it turns out great. And I always roast the bones first before simmering.

        2. I was just reading the replies to this thread and I'm curious about the marrow bone stock results. I tried to make stock using marrow bones once and got a greasy mess that I threw out. I covered the bones with water and simmered the way I usually do with other bones. I'm still wondering what I did wrong.

          1. I use "soup bones" and a cows foot for the gelatin. The mouthfeel is greatly improved with the addition of the foot (as well as adding the health benefits of the gelatin.)I roast them before making the stock.

            1 Reply
            1. re: weezieduzzit

              i can't always get foot, so will use tendon instead.

              i make it for nutrition, not aesthetics, so don't worry about clarity. i also prefer the flavor a lighter stock, so don't roast the bones.

              the soup bones i get do have some meat on them though.

            2. TiffanyL, I'm a better chicken stock maker, but I finally made some beef stock, and was fairly successful.

              It really depends on your purpose for it. If you're looking for the nutrition, e.g. the minerals, and the gelatin (very important), you can just use beef marrow bones, knuckle bones, and the like.

              I read a lot of recipes, and one key to making the bone broth taste good was roasting your bones, then "painting" them with tomato paste before adding the vegetables and then roasting one more time. You can de-glaze your roasting pan with a little apple cider vinegar, which will further draw out all the good minerals. Worked for me, anyway. My stock did not smell bad at all while it was simmering.

              I was going to say, reduce your stock for better flavor, but if you are using a crock pot, this might not be necessary. My situation was different, and I was using a big stock pot on the range, so I let it reduce by leaving the lid off the whole time.

              I found my beef stock tasted about like the consomme' my mom used to give me as a child. That is, my stock is OK to drink, but it is more appropriate to use as a base for a sauce. If you have storage considerations in your freezer, you can even reduce the stock further, make it more concentrated and therefore easier to freeze, and then add wine or other ingredients when you make a sauce.

              I do agree that some meat on the bones would make a better stock for a soup or stew.

              Finally, use salt carefully after you finish it. I found that mine really did not need much salt, but then I use Celtic Sea Salt, which needs a light hand. Also, I feel that celery is naturally high in sodium, and if you are using it as one of your vegetables in cooking, it will add some salt naturally.

              I hope this helps.

              1. "Soup bones" and "marrow bones" are both pieces of beef femur.

                When I make beef stock I buy a case of femur bones. I roast the end pieces and use them for stock. The rounds with marrow in them get roasted, and the marrow gets consumed on some toasted baggette with a little parley salad. Stock making is serious cooking, and serious cooking works up an appetite!

                The empty rounds from the marrow bones get reserved for the next batch of stock.