Beef Broth

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Follow Me on Pinterest This beef broth tutorial is part of a free video course on broth and soup-making we are offering this summer on Facebook. Simply “like” the Facebook page to find the course.

Beef broth is a rich, nourishing way to get more out of your beef cuts and even out of “pet bones” you might buy from your butcher. We use beef broth as a base for soup and as the liquid to cook beans and grains. It is versatile and can even be enjoyed by itself with a bit of salt and seasoning. We describe our basic process in the beef broth video on YouTube.

Beef Broth: Our Basic Process

There are many ways to tweak your beef broth process and the best approach for you is what works in your kitchen. This is the method that works in our.

Beef Broth Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of beef bones

  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 3 quarts of water
  • Optional: one peeled onion, one carrot, two celery stalks, one garlic clove.

Beef Broth Steps

  1. Roast your raw beef bones for the best flavor. (30-45 minutes at 350 degrees.)

  2. Add bones to crock pot or stove-top pot.
  3. Add vegetables if you are using them.
  4. Cover the bones and vegetables with water until the beef bones are completely covered and the water level is about one inch above the bones.
  5. Add vinegar.
  6. Turn crock pot on low.
  7. Watch the broth in the first few hours and skim off any “scum” that may rise to the top.
  8. Stew your bones for about 24 hours.
  9. Pour off the beef broth and use it in your soup recipe. (Skim the fat first if desired.)

Get Many Batches of Beef Broth Out of Your Bones

After you have made your first batch of beef broth, do not stop there. There is still flavor and nutrition in your bones. After you pour off your first batch of broth, simply add more water and vinegar to your crock pot and start the process again. You can add fresh vegetables for more flavor if you wish.

If you wonder how many batches of beef broth you can make with the same bones, the answer is “Far more than you would imagine.” Watch this video on our 12 batches of beef broth. Not only did we make and consume 12 batches of beef broth from the same bones, each batch contained gelatin.

Roasting Bones for Beef Broth?

Roasting bones for beef broth requires an extra step and more time. It is extremely tempting to skip this step and, frankly, we sometimes do skip it. However, you will be rewarded by the time you have spent with a fuller-flavored broth. An added advantage of roasting bones is that much of the fat from the bones (if there is any) falls off into the roasting pan and you do not have to skim it off your beef broth.

Roasting bones is fairly simple: Place the bones in a baking pan in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes. Longer is fine too; this is a very forgiving step. Do cover the bones with foil to avoid the fat splattering in your oven. Watch the video below for more information.

Vinegar in Your Beef Broth?

You may also wonder if you really need to add vinegar to your beef broth. There is something strange about adding vinegar to broth and soup that you may want to skip this step. We do recommend adding a bit of culinary vinegar (apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar) to your beef broth to help draw out the minerals in your beef bones.

In the video below I describe a “middle school science project” we did in our home where we put whole raw eggs into cups of vinegar and watched the vinegar eat away at the egg shells. The vinegar draws the minerals out of the egg shells until there is no shell left. Those minerals end up in your vinegar, just as the minerals from bones will end up in your beef broth in a much less dramatic way. However, notice one surprise in the video: one of our vinegars did not break down the egg shell at all and we suspect it was just a flavored water masquerading as a vinegar. You may want to check your vinegar to make sure it is actually vinegar.

Adding Vegetables to Your Beef Broth

Vegetables can add great flavor to your beef broth, particularly your third batches and beyond from the same bones. Vegetables do not need to be chopped up, just cleaned well. We do discard the onion skins because they have made a bitter broth in our experience. Add other vegetables you have laying around except turnip peels, broccoli, cabbage (and related foods such as brussel sprouts), green peppers, collard greens, and mustard greens. These vegetables tend to add bitterness to your broth.

Adding Meat to Beef Broth?

Some people actually add meat to their beef broth in addition to beef bones. Meat certainly adds great flavor to broth, but it is not an economical use of beef. We use leftover beef cuts in other dishes rather than adding it to broth.

Where to Buy Beef Bones

On our Facebook page, we have a detailed discussion of where to find bones for broth. You can find them in health food stores (where they tend to be pretty pricey) and ethnic markets (where they will be cheap but you certainly will not know where they came from). My favorite place is my local butcher because I do get the best price and the quality is pretty good. I wrote about this option on the Facebook page:

This is a resource I take for granted because we have small family-owned meat lockers all over central California. You can buy “dog bones” in fact because there is not a large “soup bone” market. I just ask for bones and I am sure they sell me whatever it is they sell to others for pet bones. I pay about $1 per pound.

I do not ask if the bones are organic or from grass fed animals because I know they aren’t (or they would be marketed a whole different way) and because these guys would give me a swift kick for being “uppity.” What I do know is that anyone who is using a small butcher shop to process their animal does not have a thousand head of beef stuffed into a dirt pen. In my area, it is likely that the beef were grazed until a month or so before slaughter and then were finished on grain. There is a decline in beneficial fats as a result of that finishing, but I am buying bones for the minerals, not for the fat, so I don’t give it a lot of thought. I take my $1/lb bones and RUN.

Types of Beef Bones to Buy

Typically when you buy bones from your butcher or at an ethnic grocery, they will be an assortment of different types of bones, but if you have a choice, beef feet is a stand-out for gelatin-rich bones, as shown in the 12 days of broth video above. However, you will also get nice gelatin content out of knuckle bones or marrow bones. Marrow bones are by far a stand-out for flavor, though many people like to eat the marrow out of the marrow bones before the bones ever make it into a stock pot. Shop around and give these various beef bones a try. You cannot go wrong.

Many Uses for Beef Broth: The Beef Broth Fest

We use beef broth as the base for soups but also as the liquid to cook our beans and grains. Typically, we use the first two or three batches for soup since the beef broth will have the best flavor at that point. We have used broth as the basis of this roasted eggplant soup and this simple clear soup recipe.

However, the uses for beef broth are limited only by imagination and I would love to hear how you use beef broth, your beef broth story, or anything at all about beef broth. Share your stuff right here in this Beef Broth Fest. If you like the entries that get posted, you can add the code to your own blog as well so we can all share this list of beef broth ideas.

Beef Broth Fest Rules

  • Post a recipe or an interesting tidbit about beef broth. (If you have a great recipe that can be adapted to beef broth, post that too.)

  • Post more than one item if you can’t decide.
  • The post need not be recent, simply relevant.
  • Post a link back to this Beef Broth Fest from your beef broth post.

I will post some of your great ideas on our Facebook page in honor of our free class on broth and soup-making. (Find the class right here.)

For more interest food posts, visit Turning the Table Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Cooking Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Food Trip Friday, Fresh Bites Friday. Find author +Amanda Rose on Google Plus and enjoy your beef broth!

Related posts:

You might also enjoy:

  1. Bison Broth: Rich And Distinct
  2. Bison Soup: A Clear, Simple Soup
  3. Bison White Sauce
  4. Roasted Eggplant Soup with Bison White Sauce

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25 Responses to Beef Broth
  1. Great post, thank you so much for sharing :)

  2. we love having it with meat and veggies…and it was a great and very informative, detailed post, thanks for sharing! visiting from FTF, hope you can visit me back! thanks and have a great weekend. :)

  3. ces

    Freaky, was just googling as to whether anyone cooks broth without meat- I have tonnes of (biodynamic/organic) bones and usually add lamb neck meat for flavour as routine. Sort of thought you had to.
    (I drink it with miso paste most days for breakfast or for a pre-bed snack. Haven’t been ill/bedridden for coming up to five years due to raw garlic (sometimes added to miso) and the beloved bone broths.)
    This was a really helpful post and I just noticed the date- you posted it yesterday, just in time to answer my question. : )
    Ahh, loving the www aether.

  4. Hi Amanda,
    Your video is very good I really enjoyed watching it. The recipe is great! Hope you are having a great week and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  5. I would always add a bit of vinegar to the stock, but that’s the way my grandmother used to do it. some traditions die hard…

  6. I’ve never added enough vinegar that you taste it at all anyway.

    My theory is that the liquid being acidic is what leeches the minerals from the bones, and if I’m going to cook it for 12-24 hours, it’ll work eventually even with low acidity, as long as there’s some.

    The “amount” I add is a “glug” and I just use cheap distilled vinegar in the gallon container. I always have it on-hand cause we have very hard water so I need it for laundry anyways. I often have Bragg’s or a red wine vinegar on hand too, but it seems a waste to use in broth when I have the cheap stuff.

    I see both minerals and gelatin in my stock (minerals sink to the bottom when it’s warm, gelatin forms when it’s cool), so I think this works, though I might have to test some eggshell.

  7. Rachael

    I am all sorts of excited about finding some beef feet and making a new batch of broth. I was curious if there was any concern that the beef feet you may find aren’t from grass fed cows? I know the concern regarding conventional meat is that the fat contains toxins, is this also a concern with bones from conventional cows?

    • Amanda Rose

      I posted an article about sourcing bones on FB. Hopefully you can read it. I really need to put a version up here. The short answer is that it doesn’t matter as much as with meat. I get mine from a local butcher and don’t worry about it. I have made soup from grass fed beef bones and it was exquisite, but the cost of soup sure gets pretty high that way. Now I can’t even find the link. I’ll look for it and get back to you. :)

      • Rachael

        Thanks Amanda!

        I made a batch of broth this weekend and used your recipe. No gel. :( It has to be the bones: they were marrow bones. Do you think there’s any good collagen/gelatin in the batch if it doesn’t gel?

        I’m on the hunt now for these beef feet! I found the facebook link. Do you have a good picture of one of these bones? I google and come up with actual hooves pictures and assorted bone pictures. Sorry to be a pain- I’m just tired of making batches that don’t gel.



        • Rachael

          Oh, completely ignore my last post (other than a picture of a beef feet bone)! I came home and was going to prepare batches of broth for freezing. When I last checked it, it had chilled for about 9 hours. After about 30 hours its beginning to gel! I’m so happy. I guess long chilling is the key!

          • Amanda Rose

            Thanks for the update Rachael. That’s good to know!

        • Amanda Rose

          I don’t have a picture of beef feet. I’ll try to get one in the next couple of weeks. Good idea!

  8. this very useful and adding more meaty taste on the dish you wish to prepare.

  9. Rosie

    Hi–I think I did something wrong. I browned my bones in the oven, and they didn’t look burned. But I put them all in the crockpot and on the second day the top was black, and the veggies all burned. I had it on the lowest setting. Now the finished stock tastes burnt! Is it because I kept the lid on the crockpot? Was that my error? I tried to correct it by another round on the stove top with still more carrots and another onion, but it still tastes kind of burnt…Any suggestions or troubleshooting ideas?

    • Amanda Rose

      Were the bones and vegetables fully submerged in the water Rosie?

  10. Rosie

    I had them in the big oval crockpot and they kind of floated, but were mostly submerged, mostly. But on the top they burned. Is there a trick to keeping them submerged? Or do I just need a ginormous stock pot that I can really really fill up with water? My biggie crockpot is my largest pot,but maybe not big enough. I was using at least 4 lbs. of bones, assorted types (all beef of course). Would I be better off leaving off the lid? Trying another batch today…

  11. HI! I was wondering if you can reuse chicken bones the same way? Drain the stock and do it again?

    • Amanda Rose

      You sure can Kate. You won’t get as many batches, but you can shoot for 2 or 3.

  12. Anna Tingey

    I can get some really cheap bones from wild game. However, they don’t keep them in the fridge, is it okay to use them even though they aren’t refrigerated.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Amanda Rose

      Use your judgement Anna. I wouldn’t use them if they are spoiled and I’d be sure to boil them if you do use them.

  13. Michelle

    I made a batch of broth with your recipe, using a marrow bone and several pounds of beef feet. My first batch is so thick with gelatin that I could set the jar upside down and nothing would spill out. My second batch is thin as water. Any ideas or tips? Thank you in advance.


    • Amanda Rose

      There is probably gelatin in there, Michelle. If you boiled out some of the water you could probably see it. I wouldn’t worry about it. These bones all have different amounts of gelatin and, even without it, the broth is nourishing.

      • Michelle

        Thanks! I will keep it going longer next time to see what happens.

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