What tastes great, adds a lot of texture (and if you make it right — flavor), and is one of the only remaining dietary vestiges of our hunter-gatherer past? Well, we’ll give you a hint, it’s in the title. Maybe you’ve come across bone broth in a health and wellness context. Bone broth indeed contains a lot of vital nutrients and health benefits that are otherwise difficult to receive in the modern American diet regularly. However, what we want to focus on today is how to make your own bone broth that you can use as a fantastic stand-alone treat or a sophisticated addition to soups, sauces, or even smoothies. As far as getting the best nutritional content, well, that is a question of ingredients and time. We think, if you’re going for good taste, then you will coincidentally also make an amazingly healthy concoction that satisfies all your health requirements. We are of the mind that making something healthy taste great is of paramount importance. That way you and your loved ones will want to integrate drinking bone broth into your gluten-free or paleo diet, or another regular (hopefully daily or weekly) part of your health and wellness routine, like you after-run smoothie.

Firstly, What Is the Difference Between Bone Broth and Stock

That is an excellent first question, and it is generally the first one people have. Stock like beef stock and chicken stock from the grocery store is made for efficiency and flavor; that is, it is made with a lot of sodium, more meat, and protein than bone and connective tissue, and it is made in 2-6 hours. On the other hand, bone broth is made with ingredients that are composed of a more significant proportion of bone and connective tissue. A lot of throw-away parts of the animal are great for bone broth, and this was likely one of the early impetus for early man to make it. They are only throw-away because they can be challenging to eat in traditional preparations. Still, they contain vital nutrients that are the primary reason bone broth has become such a wellness trend. The critical difference in bone broth is that it often contains more acid (to help with extracting nutrients from the ingredients), and it is cooked for at least 24 hours. This fundamental difference is why some of the critical and desirable nutrients like collagen, amino acids, phosphorus, chondroitin, glucosamine, and magnesium can be slowly cooked out of the otherwise difficult to access a goldmine of nutrient material that isn’t found in your typical chicken soup. 

What Kind of Bone Broth Do You Want to Make?

So one of the first questions you will have to grapple with is what kind of animal protein you want to use for your broth. Of course, chicken and beef are the most common, but there are many types of bone broth. Individual high-end culinary establishments have even begun offering their bespoke bone broths, usually from a slightly less common protein than chicken or beef. For your first time, and most traditional recipes, chicken and beef will be the easiest to work with. If you begin to get a better sense of the process (as there is a significant investment in time usually), you can start experimenting with more off-the-beat-and-path mixtures and recipes. Here is an excellent resource for some high-end culinary bone broths. The general process of making the broth should be more or less the same. 

Chicken Bone Broth: Use organic chicken bones if possible. Chicken feet can be a good source of the cartilage and connective tissue that will give your chicken broth the collagen that fans desire. If you’re feeling adventurous and rustic, you could use a whole chicken carcass. The chicken necks are known to provide a specific French-countryside flavor. 

Beef Bone Broth: The first thing to remember if you’re going to make a beef broth is that to maximize flavor, you’re going to have to roast them first. This will unlock a lot of great taste. Always strive when you can to get grass-fed, USDA certified organic beef from a local butcher or farmer’s market. One of the reasons this is stressed is because animal bones can contain heavy metals if they come from heavily polluted environments. So, it is best to source your ingredients mindfully. Bones with a lot of meat and other connective tissue attached to them will result in the best flavor and nutritional profile. Knuckles, shanks, marrow bones, and oxtail have all been reported by culinary enthusiasts to deliver robust flavor and the texture that chefs desire. 

Pork Bone Broth: Though pork bone broth is a little less conventional than its two better-known siblings, many bone broth veterans continually resort to this flavorful mixture as one of their favorites. The fatty, rich texture of pork comes through powerfully in the broth, and thus it can be a particularly useful medium for your favorite spice or acid. Bone broth is an excellent way to showcase some of your favorite flavors. When using pork bones ribs, pigs’ feet and neck bones are all very well suited to the purpose at hand. 

Let’s Get Cooking (Prep Time 24 hours)

There are a few different cooking processes for bone broth. We will give you the purists’ way of doing it, which requires a stockpot and a stove for 24 hours. There are additional methods that use slow cookers, pressure cookers, Instant Pots, and the like, but we want to stick with the old fashioned recipe that’s going to maximize both flavor and the nutritional profile that many people seek in their bone broth recipe. The 24-hour preparation is essential to achieving both these ends. 

Step 1: Firstly, you’ll want to put the bones and animal protein you’ve selected in your large pot. For an average-sized stockpot, you would want about three to four pounds of poultry, beef, or pork bones. Whatever the amount you end up using, please make sure there are at least two or three inches between the top of the pot and the top of the water. Otherwise, your brew may boil over. If using beef or pork bones, you can roast in the oven first. 

Step 2: Next, you’re going to have to add some kind of acid. Generally, folks will use apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. However, this is where you can begin to take an individualistic chef journey and experiment. Some people might use balsamic vinegar with beef for a particularly subtly sweet finish. There are tips around the internet, and we won’t waste our valuable time deviating too far from the standard recipe. It’s your job to innovate and expand on it. Generally, you’ll want to let the bones and acid and water sit together for a little bit before engaging the heat. This just allows everything to marinate a little bit before the magic happens. 

Step 3: This will vary a little bit, depending on what ingredients you use. Almost everyone will add at least some vegetables, spices, salt, and pepper to their mixtures to enhance flavor. However, this is a case of purely personal preference. Some people who are making bone broth may want as subtle and stealth a flavor profile as possible as they are maybe adding it to something. Others may wish for it to be as robust and memorable a flavor as possible, particularly if they’re going to put 24 hours of kitchen labor into it! A pretty universal additive would be a few bay leaves; this will add richness and depth. Garlic, lemon, greens, Herbs de Provence, and veggies like carrots, celery, and almost always onion will be added. Sea salt and peppercorn are still welcome. Engage the heat after adding your unique mix of ingredients from your favorite cookbook and bring it to a slow, simmering boil on your stovetop at low heat. 

Step 4: Check the bone broth periodically. Skim the excess fat off the top when you’re done (after 24 hours) poor through a mesh strainer. You can refrigerate the bone broth for up to five days. Be very careful not to leave the stove on overnight or unnecessarily expose yourself to fire hazard!

Step-by-step instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees

2. Gather your marrow bones, chicken feet and back and place them on roasting sheet pans and smother with Olive Oil.

3. Roast them for 30 min or until the chicken looks like rotisserie chicken (golden brown) and the marrow bones are browned and the marrow is melting. Try not to burn any of this.

4. Take roasted bones out and be careful as there will be a lot of fat in the pan from the roasting… especially when using chicken backs.

5. In a 40qt stock pot, place marrow bones on the bottom, followed by the chicken backs and then the feet. We use chicken backs and feet because they give your broth a TON of gut healing gelatin. Really any kind of connective tissue will give you that. We also use knuckle bones cut up into cubes as they always have a lot fo connective tissue attached to them, but they are harder to find.

6. Now you can pour your 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar over your roasted bones (this also helps soften the proteins allowing for more nutrient extraction).

7. Place veggies and herbs as well as tomatoes on top of everything else in the pot.

8. Fill your pot with enough hot water to cover the dry ingredients by 1-2 inches. This is important as if you add too much water it won’t gel up when cold and will have a watery consistency. Also make sure you have a few inches between the top of the water level and the top of the stock pot as you’ll gain around an inch of juices and fat that you will eventually skim off.

9. Set your pot on medium heat until you start to see it simmer, then turn your burner to low. you want to keep your broth cooking at 190-195 degrees which won’t be a rolling simmer, but bubbles popping up here and there. Now let this simmer overnight from 18-24hrs on low.

10. Once the broth has simmered overnight, turn off your heat and use a strainer to scoop the big chunks out of the broth.

11. Now ladle the strained broth through a fine mesh Chinois and into a large pot or bowl.

12. Once the broth has been strained through the Chinois and into a holding pot, make an ice bath in your sink with ice and water. Place the holding pot into your sink until it cools to around 70 degrees. 

13. Once it’s cooled you can start to scoop off the fat layer on top and throw away or keep to use as a cooking fat… makes a great oil to fry eggs in or steak, etc.

14. Once the fat is out of the bone broth you can start filling up the wide mouth jars and place whatever you won’t use within a week into your freezer for later use. Bone broth typically has a shelf life of just a week when thawed.

15. You’re all done! Your broth may taste a little light on day 1, but it typically develops all of it’s flavor while sitting in your fridge overnight.