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
- Roast your raw beef bones for the best flavor. (30-45 minutes at 350 degrees.)
- Add bones to crock pot or stove-top pot.
- Add vegetables if you are using them.
- 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.
- Add vinegar.
- Turn crock pot on low.
- Watch the broth in the first few hours and skim off any “scum” that may rise to the top.
- Stew your bones for about 24 hours.
- 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.
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!
You might also enjoy: