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Feb 5, 2014 07:50 PM

Freezing chicken bones

I want to freeze chicken bones until I have enough to make a stock for pho. Can I use any chicken bones? The pho would ultimately only be eaten by me and my boyfriend, so would it be okay to use chicken bones that we took bites from? And if I can, is it okay to use chicken bones that previously had some sort of sauce on them?

I've never done this before so I apologize if these are dumb questions!

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  1. Generally stock is from raw bones & related trim unless you want a dark stock, in which case the bones are roasted first. And, no, it's not ok to use bones with sauce on them. As to having taken a bite out, no problem as long as you like raw chicken.

    1. While I generally don't take bites first, I typically remove the meat first when my intention is to make soup or stock.

      I use raw bones and roasted bones.....and I freeze both.

      BTW....sauce usually doesn't hit the bones, but if you see it as a problem....give it a rinse. I would not use BBS, but soy sauce, no problem.

      1. There is no right or wrong answer as to whether this kind of thing is acceptable. It's completely up to you and the people consuming the stock.

        Having said that, I do exactly this all the time. I cook for my friends and roommates all the time and they all know when I make chicken the bones have to be returned. I even save bones from fried chicken! You just have to get all the fried batter off. And it's not just chicken bones...I save bones from all different meats - if I go to a steakhouse and get a bone in steak I bring it home and it goes in the freezer until the next batch of stock.

        As for having sauce on the bones...just give 'em a quick rinse before you freeze. When you have enough you get free stock!

        For way too much discussion on this exact topic, refer to

        1. if you have access to any asian markets, your pho broth will benefit greatly from head, feet, wings -- anything with lots of connective tissue.

          assuming you won't have actually bitten into the bone, lol, but yes, those bones are fine to use. you'll be simmering them for hours so germs aren't an issue. :)

          1. There's a faction of usual suspects that will need smelling salts if they hear that someone is using bones from consumed cooked chicken in making stock. Professional kitchens aren't allowed to do that. Since you are cooking the bones and meat for hours, I have no doubt that it's perfectly safe, and do it myself although, like you, it's not consumed outside my household. I'd rinse off unchickeny sauce like barbecue sauce or lemon sauce, but chicken(y) gravy? I'd leave that on. Use a vacuum sealer or a straw to suck the air out of the freezer bag, since those leftover bones get ice and freezer burn pretty fast. You'd probably be better off freezing them covered in water or storebought broth if it's going to be more than a couple of weeks until you make stock.