Beef Bone Broth

There are so many incredible health benefits found in bone broth. It is the best cure for what ails you, without a doubt, especially during cold and flu season. I’m certainly not an expert on the matter, but what I’ve learned about bone broths is this: bone broth from a good organic, grass-fed source will naturally contain my new food hero, gelatin. Why do I love gelatin? Gelatin heals and protects your digestive system. Healthy gut = thriving immune system. I personally have experienced the benefits of drinking bone broth at least once a day. It has helped my stomach to not be a burning mess on a regular basis. Gelatin contains collagen which improves hair, skin and nail condition. Last, gelatin plays a role in muscle maintenance and detoxification.

I grew up thinking it was disgusting when the broth my mom made couldn’t pour out of the jar, but instead kind of “glopped” out in a big gelatinous mound. And now I become giddy at the sight! I’ve spent so much time and energy on broth this past year…I do believe I’m ready to share what I’ve learned. This post will be about beef broth but a post on chicken broth will be forthcoming as well. This may look like a long and involved process, but once you get everything going, it really just takes care of itself. Let’s get on with it!

First you will need some grass-fed soup bones. I bought these at a local creamery that raises grass-fed beef. I’ve also found them in my local grocery store, but they aren’t always grass-fed or organic there.
This is just under 6 lbs. of meat and bones. When making beef broth, you always want to roast the bones first. It provides for better flavor and also helps the bones to begin the process of releasing the “good stuff” that will help your broth to gel. Don’t trim any fat, but go ahead and sprinkle some sea salt and pepper over the top. Place in a 375 degree oven and roast for about 30 or 40 minutes or until the meat/bones have some nice color to them. These are very meaty bones by the way, sometimes the bones I get don’t have as much meat. You still will want to roast the bones until you see golden brown coloring the edges.

Once you’ve removed the bones from the oven, have your crock pot or a large stockpot ready. Place the bones and any juices or bits in the crock pot. Add carrots, celery, onion, peppercorns, garlic, salt, and bay leaf. Cover with cold water and add a few teaspoons or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar helps draw out all of the calcium and magnesium wonderfulness. Cover with just enough cold water to submerge the bones. Set your slow cooker on low and cook for 12 hours – you can even cook them as long as 24 hours. This is what it looks like after a few hours: And here is what it looks like after it has been refrigerated:
This was before I heated it up to drink. It was so tasty! This time, I ended up with 4 quarts of broth.*

Beef Bone Broth Ingredients:
5-6 lbs. of beef soup bones
2 carrots, washed and cut into thirds
3 stalks of celery, washed and cut into thirds
2 onions, peeled and cut in half
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 T. black peppercorns
1 T. sea salt
up to 1 T. apple cider vinegar (like Bragg’s)
2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper the beef bones and roast in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Place beef bones and pan drippings in crock pot or stock pot. Add remainder of ingredients and cover with enough cold water to just submerge bones.

Crock pot: cook on high for 2 hours, then on simmer on low for 10
Stock pot: bring to a simmer (don’t boil) and cook for 12 hours
You can also make broth in your pressure cooker. I usually pressure cook on high for 40 minutes (being careful to watch water level lines) and then you can either quick release the steam or let it release naturally.

Here are some tips that I found on Homemade Mommy’s site awhile ago that have helped me be successful:
– DO start with COLD liquid when filling the pot.
– DON’T ever allow a stock to get to a roaring boil. The stock should be heated slowly to only a calm simmer. At a slow simmer, foam will rise to the top and can be skimmed off. If the water boils, the gritty foam will churn back into the stock and become emulsified. The resulting stock will be muddy and have a greasy, off-putting flavor.
– DON’T move the contents of the stock during cooking. Just let them be. As the stock cooks, the scummy proteins settle along the bottom and sides of the pot. If the stock is disturbed, these solids will break up and cloud the stock.
– DON’T press on the ingredients when straining. It is best to let them drain naturally.
– DO make sure to cool large batches of stock before refrigerating or it will raise the temperature of your entire fridge.

*- Sometimes I need to add more water. In this particular batch, I would have had more broth at the end, but I was cooking it in my super powerful slow cooker overnight and even though it was covered and barely simmering, much of the water steamed off. I did end up with a concentrated broth that I can dilute in order to have a greater quantity, but I guess I would just rather have a larger quantity to begin with. Maybe that’s a weird quirk of mine?
– You can cook your bones 2 and 3 times!! I cooked these bones three times and ended up with another 3 or 4 quarts of lovely broth each time. After the first time, I discarded the veggies and added new veggies. For the 3rd go-round, I kept the veggies from the previous batch but added some baby portabello mushrooms just because I had them and have liked the “beefy” flavor they added to vegetable broths.

So…are you ready to make some bone broth?