Did I just have a bad bone marrow experience?
Had never tried it before, wanted to. Ordered it at a very nice restaurant - Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.
Since I had never had it, I didn't know what to expect, so I didn't know whether to question or complain. I left most of it.
The problem was, I was expecting a much different texture - I had read that it was buttery, fatty...sounded perfect, since I love most fatty things.
The top was fine, but once I dug down it was a disgusting, gelatinous, BLOODY glop. Is it supposed to be that way or was it seriously undercooked, and I should have sent it back to be cooked more?
Maybe the problem was that it was described as "Demi-Roasted"...so, half roasted, half...raw?
As I said, I ate off the top (which was cooked and delicious), but left the bloody glop behind.
In my experiences it has had a gelatinous texture, but never a bloody mess. I back off from blood pudding and blood sausage.
Sounds like it was not fully cooked. While I eat my beef mooing, I find bone marrow should be fully cooked. I tend to use marrow bones in making soup, so they are fully cooked when I eat the marrow. I have occasionally roasted the bones after making the soup for a special flavor, but can't imagine eating raw/rare marrow.
Then again, I'm not a fan of Ramsay's cooking, period.
They vary a lot. One of my favorites is done well, sliced thin and served in a consume. In bone, you sound like you had more blood than I've ever seen. Though no idea how that works with the animal.
Bone marrow is basically fat, BUT... It is the cells INSIDE a bone that produce white blood cells that are critical to the immune system. It also has something in common with foi gras (duck or goose liver) in that the more you heat it, the more of it will melt away. As an aside, this melting away of very expensive foi gras was the impetus behind sous vide cooking.
Normally, at least in my experience, bone marrow is served with toasts to spread it on because it is so very buttery! Even when cooked "Demi-Roasted," a la Chef Ramsay (which I read as flat out "rare") it is not a solid that will have any "chew" to it, hence the toast to spread it on.
My favorite way to have bone marrow is to suck it out of the bones of osso bucco, or lamb shanks, or any roasted, braised, or stewed cut that has a "round bone" in it, preferably when no one is looking! But if I have osso bucco in an Italian restaurant, there is always crusty bread at hand to spread it on.
Oh, and the breed of beef will have a great deal to do with the flavor. My favorite is from Charolaise cattle, which has a hearty beefy flavor I've not found in Angus (Black or Red) or Wagyu.
If you ever order it again, there or anywhere else, you might ask for it to be cooked a bit more if the rare version put you off. And isn't it funny how bone marrow is cheap if you buy it in a cut of meat (comes free) but if you buy it by the bone, and especially in a restaurant, the price goes zipping up! It's the way of the world. Try to buy a cheap oxtail these days.
It was cut lengthwise. Two rather large bones (well, halves of bones) about 6-7 " long. And I don't want to imply it was gushing blood...it was mostly translucent white, and at the very bottom it had blood - still red, not cooked gray which would not have bothered me. Very red, getting to the congealed point but still red.
c oliver, that is exactly the way it was cut.
The more I ruminate, I think it just was a case of a very busy restaurant wanting to get it out quickly.
I also want to mention I have had the marrow of osso bucco, but that is cooked so long it would never have this undercooked problem, so apples and oranges.
I scraped enough of the crusty part off the top, plus we had so much to eat anyway, it was not a problem.
Next time I will know better, send it back if it's the same translucent texture.
And I am willing to try it again.
Did yours look like this one?
That is definitely not the normal color for marrow. It's pale colored when raw, and maybe sort of light grayish-brown when cooked. It never goes through a blood red stage, because there's not much, if any blood in there… So I think they must add something.
It's possible that the recipe is more complicated than just taking the split bones and roasting them. Like in this CHOW video, where the raw marrow is scooped out and repacked into the bone with other ingredients (but this one is fully cooked, unlike GR's version):
If you close the picture and read the recipe and directions in the link from c oliver, I suspect the mystery is solved! Sounds to me, based on your description, that the restaurant did not properly prep the marrow bones before cooking. When marrow bones are split lengthwise and intended for service as a starter, they are first soaked in cold water overnight or for a full day to leach any red blood from the marrow. Sounds like that step was omitted. Obviously it's not done for dishes such as osso bucco, where the marrow is a treat that comes as part of the dish. Had the marrow NOT been served rare, there would have been no red blood showing. Whoever said they didn't care for Gordon Ramsay, I have never been impresses by his cooking skills. Yelling and rude he does all too well. It never improves the flavor of any dish.
Here's a website with some very clear photos of unsoaked marrow bones, before and after cooking:
They are not cut lengthwise, like the OP's were, but you can see that there is just a slight rim of red between the marrow and the bone, and some tiny red droplets on the cut surface. I don't see how that can turn into a bloody red glop at any stage of cooking.
If GR's roasted marrow consistently comes out red (which is something we haven't actually established), I would be inclined to think that it's not from cutting corners in basic food prep, but an intentional part of the recipe.
Here's a video of someone else eating GR's marrow bones (I recommend turning off the sound and stopping before the end):
The color looks completely normal to me. If I had been in the OP's position and the marrow looked weird and inedible, I would have said something to the server. If I'm paying $13 or $14 for a side dish, I want to be able to eat it!
Ok, just looked at the videos posted.
The GR one did look like what I got. I guess it was normal, since the woman in the video was obviously enjoying it. You could see the red droplets, which was as I described. I didn't say it was just a red mass, although reading my original post I might have implied that. I didn't expect to see any blood in it.
Anyway, it was my first time trying it, I was comparing it to the marrow I know from osso bucco, and as you can see they are quite different.