he simple complexity of deep, rich flavor makes bone broth a staple in my household. In fact, some of the saddest days I can remember over the last year, involved the ladle scraping the last bits of this liquid gold from its container, all the while, clenching my fists knowing I was, at minimum, 24 hours away from more. HOW WOULD I SURVIVE?!
Since you’re reading this, I assume you’ve put together that I did manage to live through the great bone broth famine, but I certainly didn’t like it.
You see, there are quite a few steps to making this beautiful nectar, that, although time-consuming, is actually quite easy, once you get the hang of it. It starts with… bones! Shocking, I know.
What kind of bones are you looking for? Well, you tell me! I’ve used them all. Chicken, pork, beef, duck, sometimes a mix of 2. What’s your fancy? My standard lately is pork, as it’s so versatile, rich, flavorful, and most important, accessible! Make friends with your local butchers, guys. You’ll thank me later.
For a typical batch of pork bone broth, I will use about 5 pounds of bones, and I do my best to make sure they’re grass fed, organic, all the good stuff, since this process literally extracts every bit of mineral out of the bones and you wanna make sure you’re getting the best you possibly can for your body, from their body. Sometimes I find there’s a ton of extra meat left on them, sometimes they’re picked clean. For this purpose, it doesn’t matter. What does matter, is this… apple. cider. vinegar. Yup. Necessity. This goes on the bones for the roasting process. When the vinegar hits marrow, it opens up the tissues that keep it inside and allow it to melt down into a toasty, roasty, flavor packed goo, that I would literally fight people over. Well? … no, I definitely would. It’s that good! With that said, back to the roasting. I feel this step is crucial in achieving your end result, so don’t skip it, however, the time period is up to you. I’ve roasted anywhere from 45 minutes to 12 hours. It all depends on what else I’m doing in the kitchen that day. Low and slow will be at an oven temperature of 200, and for a quick sizzle, bump that heat up to 350-400. You can’t go wrong.
Once they’re out of the oven and sitting in a pile of their own melted deliciousness, they hit their new home, the slow cooker. You can also do this on the stovetop, but I prefer to let it hang out to the side, out of the way, because this next part takes a while! Like, 28-34 hours, while. If you’re opting for stovetop, you will keep it over low heat for its entirety.
Scrape the bones and any released liquids (this will be a mix of collagen, marrow, rendered oils and your apple cider vinegar) into your slow cooker and cover with fresh, filtered water. And this is the fun part! It’s time to go to FLAVOR TOWN! Over the course of each week, I keep all of my vegetable scrap in a bag in the freezer. Celery ends? In the bag. Carrot skins? In there. I just keep adding to it any time I clean veggies. My normal bag is chock full at the end of the week with celery ends, garlic nubs, carrot skins, ginger skins, jalapeño ends, broccoli stems… you get the idea. Take that icy bag o’ flava and into your bone broth it goes! I typically use half of a gallon ziplock bag per batch of broth. I also add 4/5 unpeeled cloves of extra garlic, 3 tbsp of peppercorns and about 3 tbsp of pink Himalayan sea salt. Crank that baby on medium and walk away for the next 24 hours. And then back to it after one hour, because the smell is INTOXICATINGLY good. I creep on mine pretty regularly, I should really just figure out how to turn it into perfume, it would probably save time.
At the end of 24 hours you will notice that almost all of your vegetables have broken down, and the bones have started to disintegrate as well. This is perfect! At this point, you’re welcome to end your bone broth journey, but you can keep it simmering up to 36 hours. Whatever floats your boat. If you notice your liquid is getting low from evaporation, just add more filtered water to cover the bones.
Once you’ve turned your heat off, I find it’s much easier to let it cool and mellow for about an hour before I strain the liquid. There’s no easy way to do this, so roll up your sleeves and prepare to get a porky scented, steam facial. I mean, they do BBQ facials in Texas, so this one’s on the house and it saves you a trip. Score!
I strain into a shallow, wide container, as I find it cools much more effectively and it’s easy to store in the bottom of my fridge.
Once all the liquid has been strained, I take the time to taste my labor of love, just to see if I may need a bit more salt. Be sure to stir through when you’re taste testing, so you’re getting to the richness of the bottom, as it tends to separate a bit while still warm. This is also the point where I add about 12 ice cubes, just to speed up the cool down, unless of course, I’m using it immediately for a recipe. You never wanna put a super hot liquid into your fridge, because it can raise the overall temperature to an unsafe number. So, play it safe and cool as much as possible before it goes in.
Guys, that’s it. It only took one million words to explain the easiest thing I do in my kitchen every week! Ha! But really, don’t let the steps overwhelm you. This is the most hands off, low effort recipe you’ll ever make, and the most used and coveted, too. You’ll find this in a lot of my recipes, but if you ever find yourself in a soul crushing moment of sadness, when you realize you’ve used the last of it, you can always substitute store bought stock. Just don’t tell me about it, ok? Cause mines better. And you know it.
Bone Broth is not JUST delicious though. Mankind has been making it for a bajillion years, but only recently have we had the scientific know-how to discover exactly how good it was for us. This sweet infographic from Cognitune really breaks it down. If you can’t see the picture, check out the article here!