The Original Awesome Sauce: How To Make Bone Broth
Popeye had his spinach, Garfield, his lasagna, and me…I’ve got my bone broth. Some of my friends think I’m a little nutty as it is (I mean, I play with crystals, beat on drums, and celebrate full moons), so when I talk about sippin’ on some bone broth, I get an even more quizzical look.
“Bone broth? What’s that?” I was recently asked while I was out to dinner with friends.
“Ya’ know. It’s a broth. Made with bones.”. That was the best I could come up with at the time, and really, that’s all there is to it.
Bone broth is a key component, not only in my own personal diet, but in my nutrition coaching programs as well. Not only does bone broth provide an excellent source of protein (about 8 grams for 8 oz of broth), it also supplies a rich source of calcium and magnesium and other trace minerals.
Since most of us are used to eating boneless, skinless meat cuts (hello plain ol’ chicken breast), we are often missing out on other amino acids that are found in the skin, tendons and ligaments that are oh-so important to good health, and looking good. Amino acids like glycine and proline, which are rich in gelatin and broths and not so much in muscle meat, are anti-inflammatory, helps heal your gut, and help strengthen your hair, nails and skin.
Broth = sexy.
The process of making broth is a bit more labor intensive than say, oh, heating up a stock from the grocery store. Ain’t the same thing girlfriend. A good bone broth, takes high quality ingredients, time, patience and a lotta love. I’ve played around with various recipes, as there are many ways to make a bone broth. However, I’ve found the best bone broths include:
High quality ingredients – meaning, you want to get the BEST bones you can find. None of that commercial grocery stuff. You want to look for organic, grass-fed marrow or knuckle bones from animals that have not been pumped up with hormones and fed soy, corn and other nonsense. Really go out of your way to find these ingredients. A good place to start is through US Wellness Meats, or your local farmers market.
Vegetables and herbs – Things like parsnips, turnips, celery, garlic, onion, and carrots. These will add even more flavor and nutrients.
Vinegar – Many of the recipes that I’ve researched and used, and the mother of all bone broth recipes from Sally Fallon, call for the use of vinegar in the broths to extract more calcium out of the bones.
Good water – Like the bones, the higher quality water the better. Now, I know not everyone can get fresh spring water, or has a reverse osmosis filter in their house, but the better water you can get, go for it. If you feel that bottled water is better than your tap water, then use it for your broths.
Other ingredients – If you have access to high-quality meats, adding in chicken feet and neck bones can make your broth even sexier. However, since I don’t have access to either, I tend to stick to just beef marrow or knuckly bones. My local Whole Foods (both Cambridge and Brighton) carry a grass-fed brand in the freezer section. I’ll typically buy a whole bunch and keep them in the freezer until I’m ready to use them.
So, how exactly do you make a yummy, sexy bone broth? Welp, here’s how…
But first, you will need supplies:
- A big-ass pot, like the ones you use for lobsters, or a big-ass slow cooker.
- A fine metal strainer
- Glass ball jars or glass containers to store your broth
- Another big-ass pot to strain it into
- Metal tongs (these are pretty important. Trying to grab marrow bones out of a big bowl of liquid with 2 spoons is not very effective.)
- A plastic and paper bag for trash
- An apron, because they’re sexy.
Then, you will need to gather ingredients:
- 4 lbs. of beef marrow or knuckle bones
- 2 parsnips
- 1 onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 3 carrots
- 3 stalks of celery
- 1 celery root
- 1 turnip
- Fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano
- ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
- Sea salt
Once you have gathered all your ingredients, you are ready to make some awesome sexy broth. Directions:
- In a 375 degree oven, brown the bones on a cookie sheet or glass dish for about 45 minutes. Turn the bones over half-way through. Doing this adds more flavor and color.
- While the bones are in the oven, cut up all of your vegetables in thick 1-2” pieces. They don’t have to be pretty or perfect since you’re not going to be keeping them in the broth. I will typically add the sea salt after it’s cooked when I go to re-heat it.
- Once the bones are done, use your metal tongs and place the bones in your big-ass pot and fill with water leaving just the very tops of the bones exposed and bring to a boil for about 45 minutes.
- After it’s come to a boil, bring the heat down to low, and skim off any icky residue that’s floated to the top. This is important, however, I’ve found that just using marrow bones, hasn’t given me a lot of scum, but do so anyways.
- After you’ve removed any scum at the surface, add in your veggies and herbs, and fill with more water if necessary.
- Let the brew simmer on super-low for about 4-6 hours stirring occasionally, and adding more water if needed.
- After 4-6 hours of simmering, turn off your heat and let cool for a few minutes. Then, using your metal tongs, remove the bones from the liquid concoction and place into a plastic bag and place the plastic bag in a paper bag (trash). I do this so that I don’t have a trail of liquid dripping from my garbage bag when I take it out.
- Set your other big-ass pot in a clean sink with your metal strainer sitting on top, and poor your liquid, straining all the veggies and herbs. (Warning, the liquid at this point may not look so appetizing. But do not let this get you down. Once you strain it a couple times, you’ll be left with a yellow-looking liquid that’s like liquid gold.)
- Do this a couple of times getting any bits and pieces left. Take what’s been strained and put into the plastic bag, in the paper bag.
- Pour the liquid in glass jars or glass containers. This recipe usually makes about 3 glass Ball jars worth of broth.
- Let the broth sit in the fridge over night or for 24 hours. This will allow the tallow to form, which you will then remove before drinking. You can throw your tallow away, or like bacon fat, store in another glass jar (you better get some glass jars) to use for cooking.
- Once cooled, the liquid will be a little jell-o like, which means, it’s awesome. When you re-heat your broth, take 2-3 ladles full and heat on the stovestop in a saucepan, with a little bit of water. At this point you can add sea salt.
You also might be wondering at this point, how exactly you incorporate this into your eating plan. Well, here’s what I recommend:
- Sip on this first thing in the morning with your breakfast. Have about 8 oz. in the morning with some fruit, an egg, and/or some bacon.
- Slowly sip on this through out the day. For instance, on days that I am training clients back-to-back, I keep my broth in a coffee mug and slowly sip on it between sessions. This keeps me fueled and energized for those times when I can’t always eat a real meal.
- Use as a protein alternative for snacks. One of the biggest food questions I get revolve around what to eat for snacks. Add broth to your snack list and pair with a good carb source like a piece of fruit or some left-over sweet potato.
- Have a little broth when eating muscle meats. One of the main reasons why broth is so good, is that it provides us with amino acids that aren’t found in high amounts in muscle meat. Too much muscle meat can actually be inflammatory to the body, so pairing it with a little broth will help balance out the meal.