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My first stock from chicken feet - roast? how many lbs for 6 qts stock?

I have recently become obsessed with chicken stock/bone broth. I usually use wings and other parts but had time to go to the Asian grocery store to get chicken feet today so I decided it was time to try it out. I also happened upon some chicken necks. I've read a few threads here on cleaning and what not but is there anything else to consider? Do I need to roast them beforehand? I'd like to make a very large batch and freeze it. I plan to use a 12 qt stock pot which I imagine with all of the solid would yield about 6 qt of actual liquid stock. Would 8 lbs of parts be a good ratio?

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  1. Roast if you want a dark stock, as is for a lighter and more delicate broth.

    I get more bang for the buck trimming a 10 lb bag of quarters than the current price of $2.99/lb for feet in my area. But experimentation does yield sometimes bodacious returns.

    Good Luck!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

      I actually also have quarters (bought before I decided to venture out for feet) and I must admit they are pretty darn cheap. The feet and necks were as you highlight an exercise in "experimentation." The car was warm and I wasn't ready to face carrying groceries in the cold so why not stop at another store :)

    2. I think 8 pounds will be more than ample.

      For under $6 I get a bag with 3 carcasses & necks and a pack with approx. 23 pristine feet at my local Chinese grocer. It looks like the chickens had pedicures the feet are so clean! I divide it between two crock pots and let it cook for 24 hours. I end up with around 6 quarts of completely gelatinized stock.
      I haven't weighed the parts but I would be surprised if it was more than 4 lbs.

      I don't roast. I usually just use bay leaf to season since I use the stock in so many different ways.

      I have found if I don't defat the stock it lasts for quite a while in the fridge. The fat layer acts as a very effective seal and is easily removed when you are ready to use the stock.

      4 Replies
      1. re: meatn3

        Great, thanks. I really like the crock pot stock but I wish I had a larger crock pot. I drink this stuff like water so last week I used the crock, barely had 3 quarts and now am on a mission to make more. Usually I use a 12 qt stock int eh oven at 180F for a day but that's a lot of energy. Perhaps I'll just make sequential batches with the crock.

        I have noticed with my stock in the past, very little fat rises to the surface. I've been confused by this but nearly every batch has a very thin layer on top.

        1. re: fldhkybnva

          I picked up a second crockpot at the thrift store so I could have two going for stock. I prefer the older crock pots temperature-wise. Plus they are easier to clean than my massive stock pot.

          I always have chicken broth on hand since I started the crockpot method (thanks CH). I'm about ready to get a pressure canner so I can keep the stock in the cupboard and save freezer space!

          1. re: meatn3

            I feel like I'm on my way to a pressure canner as well. I just placed an order for a chest freezer :( I'm actually happy about it but I couldn't resist any longer, there are just so many things I want to freeze.

          2. re: fldhkybnva

            Hi fldhkybnva, if you are interested in making LOTS of stock, can I recommend a (relatively) inexpensive 20 qt. SS stockpot? I picked up one of these Macy's-brand "tools of the trade" SS 20 qt stockpots on a clearance rack about 15 yrs ago (back then, the product was called "Belgique") and it has really earned its keep. Mine has a SS lid, but otherwise it appears to be very similar to the 20 qt. pot currently sold by Macy's: http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/to...

            1. re: c oliver

              To the OP: I really encourage you to use backs and other meaty parts in addition to the feet, as per the comments near the end of the thread coliver linked to.
              I never used the feet again...they were no bargain and I felt the flavor and gelatin are better when I use legs, necks, backs, and wings. Not to mention the squick factor of those teeny toenails.

              1. re: greygarious

                I agree. I've made stock with just the feet and it seemed weak.
                A combination works best for me with a very long cook.

                The feet were a bit gruesome at first. Now they don't bother me. I don't discuss using the feet with non-chowish folk. They get too freaked out.

                1. re: greygarious

                  I should have mentioned. I also have chicken leg quarters to add.

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    Good. You won't get much flavor with chicken feet alone.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      I generally use feet, necks and backs.

                  2. re: greygarious

                    The toenails are kind of freaky, but I really love the body of the stock when I use some feet. They are CHEAP in my (heavily Hispanic) neighborhood. I wouldn't use just feet, though - you need some meaty parts for flavor. I often buy bone-in, skin-on thighs and bone them myself - that way I get boneless meat WITH skin and plenty of meaty bones for stock. Win-win!

                  3. re: c oliver

                    Can I just say how much I love my fellow Chowhounders?! I was laughing at the comments, and also at myself, because I'm just like you in some of our food obsessions! Where else could we expound on gruesome chicken feet and pedicures and gelatin and fat caps?! :-)

                  4. I've never roasted the feet, but I always make stock with roasted carcasses.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: rasputina

                      This is true. I've never used chicken feet to make stock, mostly chicken carcasses and other poultry bones to make a strong stock. It became gelatin very well on its own. Also, to the person who mentioned about leaving the layer of fat on the refrigerated stock: Spot on. It does indeed prolong the life of the stock.

                    2. Generally I make stock from frozen, previously cooked chicken carcasses/bones with some feet (unroastd) thrown in for good measure. I have actually never roasted the bones or feet when making chicken stock. I generally make a thinner stock and then reduce so by my calculations, 8 lbs of parts is more than ample.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: tcamp

                        This is what I usually do as well, tcamp, although I don't buy anything extra (i.e. feet or backs). There are times I would like my stock to be a bit more gelatinous--it seems to depend on the pieces used. But the crockpot method works for me.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          There's always the box of Knox plain packets. We won't tell. America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Country has taken to using it to pimp some of their stocks and sauces. Saw one yesty where they used a whole box in their Bolognese sauce to enhance the 4 cups of boxed broth that went into it.

                            1. re: Gio

                              Yeah, I'm not big on ATK, so I probably wouldn't be using a box of Knox to thicken a sauce.