Beef Soup Stock or Broth
Please do not allow the length of this article to deter you. Making broth is
very simple and
extremely rewarding! This is more of a guideline and set of tips than it is a “recipe”,
although I do have a set of “Directions”, below.
Please note, I use the words “stock” and “broth” interchangeably here. If you look into the
differences, there are many opinions, often conflicting, about the difference
and broth. Old-timers would have said that broth is made from meat and stock is
bones, but today, “bone broth” is growing in popularity and is obviously made from bones.
So, here we go: broth or stock, use the word that suits you best!
The beginning of a great soup is great broth - for nutrition and flavor. Never
start a soup
with canned broth or bouillon - they are loaded with salt and preservatives, are
processed, and lack the nutritional benefits and taste of home-made versions.
Nutritious broths are easy to make, and they start with the lowest-cost cuts -
First, let me tell you that broth can also be captured as a "side product" from
such as pot roast.
Broth from Pot Roast:
Add an extra cup of water to your crock pot or roasting pan when you start your
When the roast is done cooking, the resulting broth makes a fine vegetable soup
you might also have some leftover roast beef and vegetables to add to your soup.
Use broth as a base for any soup recipe, See Easy Beef Vegetable Soup, below, or
in it, or... The possibilities are endless!
Active Time: 30-45 Minutes, plus occasional monitoring, and about 30-40 minutes
at the end
Cooking Time: Several Hours to Several Days
I say the minimum is about 4 hours, and you may keep going up to a week or more.
Several pounds of Bones - the more bones you use, the more stock you make.
The best stock utilizes several different types of bones cooked together, but
may also be obtained using only one type of bone. Suggestions for bones include:
oxtail, shank cuts, and "marrow" bones. The oxtail, shank cut, and "marrow"
bones are all
good sources of marrow and gelatin. Meaty ribs and oxtail also supply flavor.
and calf feet are also desirable, but not easy to obtain). You may also save and
bones after cooking chuck roast, bone-in ribeyes, etc. until you have enough
bones to make
You may also mix beef bones with pork, lamb, and/or chicken bones to make broth.
I keep ziploc bags of bones in the freezer. Any time I cook something with a
bone in it, I
allow the cooked bone to cool a little, then toss it into the ziploc bag with
the rest. My bags
contain mixtures of bones from lamb, pork, and beef. I keep my chicken bones
(because sometimes I like to make broth with just chicken bones). You may
segregate or mix
your bones, as you wish.
Bones may be used several times to make broth (except for the smaller chicken
Simply make your broth, remove the bones, rinse, cool, bag, and freeze. You may
freeze, and repeat until your bones fall apart. So, a few bones make a lot of
Flavor Ingredients (optional): large pieces of vegetables: onion, carrots, celery,
parsnips, leeks; garlic, trimmings from vegetables, salt, pepper, rosemary, bay,
other seasonings. Note that onions may be tossed in the pot unpeeled - onion
the color of the final broth.
Start with several pounds of bones.
Option: some people like to roast the bones, especially meaty bones such as
shank or ribs,
prior to making the stock. If you wish to do this, roast the bones in the oven
heat for an hour or so before proceeding. (I skip this step.)
Place the bones in a large pot (preferably stainless or non-reactive) and cover
with water -
preferably filtered water. Make sure that you keep several inches between the
top of the
water and the top of the pot.
Option, Highly Recommended: Add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar, ,
on size of pot, to extract more of the bone minerals into the broth during
Bring water to a boil, and skim off foam.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer. At this point, you may add onion, garlic,
vegetable trimmings, salt, pepper, rosemary, bay, thyme, or other seasonings to
It is difficult to maintain a very low simmer on many stovetops. I have a
stove, so I place the pot off to one side of the burner. Some folks like to
simmer their stock
in a warm oven, set to about 225-250, or in a slow cooker set on low. The goal
is to have the
stock barely at a simmer - only the occasional bubble.
Simmer stock for at least a couple of hours, preferably all day or better yet,
Pausing on the First Day to Make Soup (or you may stop here)
When simmering bones that contain meat (e.g., ribs, shank, or oxtail), I like to
process on the evening of the first day to make a soup.
OR, if you cannot continue to simmer the bones for several days, you may stop
bone broth here.
Remove all the bones, meat, and vegetables (if any) from the pot to a large,
shallow bowl or
pan to cool.
Allow all the pieces to cool. Meanwhile, pour the broth from the pot through a
Reserve some of the broth to make a soup.
Return the remaining broth to the original pot. (Or, if you are stopping at this
may pour your broth into containers and refrigerate or freeze).
Remove all meat from the bones, and keep all the vegetables for the evening
Return all bones to the original pot with the remaining broth to continue
cooking. You may
wish to toss in a few more pieces of vegetable, seasonings, and another Tbsp. of
vinegar. (Or, if you are stopping here, bag and freeze the bones for another
batch of broth
You may need to add more water to the pot to keep the bones covered in liquid.
Continue simmering the bone broth for several more days.
Use your reserved broth, meat pulled from the bones, and reserved vegetables to
When you are finished cooking, remove the bones with tongs and set aside to
bones are cool, you may remove any meat from the bones (or you may have already
the process and done this). Dice the meat to add back to the stock after you
stock, or use it elsewhere to make burritos, etc.
Marrow may be removed from the bones as a nutritional treat for you or for your
do not add marrow back to the stock. I always remove marrow after cooking bones
first time, before freezing bones for re-using later.
The contents of your stock pot may not look very appealing to you after the long
process. The liquid may contain floating globs of grey material and gelatin, and
chunks of vegetable trimmings and seasonings. But, you are only one step from
stock. Strain the contents of your pan into a large bowl or stainless pan, and
allow it to cool.
(You may, if you wish, cool the stock in the refrigerator, and remove all fat
that congeals at
the top. I do not remove the fat - it adds flavor, and fat from grassfed beef is
containing Vitamin E and CLA.)
Transfer the stock to smaller containers for the refrigerator and freezer,
portioning meat as
desired between the containers. (You may also preserve stock using a pressure
follow canning instructions carefully).
Stock may be kept in the freezer for several months, or refrigerated for several
using. If freezer space is limited, the strained stock may be cooked down
further to a
concentrated broth before freezing.
I often have a pot of broth simmering on the stove or in the crockpot for much
of the winter,
dipping cups of broth from the pot every day to sip with breakfast or lunch, or
to use in
cooking. Replace the broth taken with fresh water, and keep the pot going.
Typically, I will
allow the broth to cook for several days or up to a week, then remove bones and
vegetables, strain, refrigerate and freeze the broth, freeze the bones, compost
vegetables (after several days of simmering, they are pretty tasteless), then
when my broth supply runs low.
You may also make stock from lamb, pork, or venison following this method. Sally Fallon
recommends adding deer feet and a section of antler if making venison stock.
I also make chicken stock by the same method. Starting with a whole, cleaned
chicken, I cut
off the legs and wings, and filet the breasts to use in other recipes, then cook
carcass and neck as described above (cover with water; boil; skim; simmer for
bones; cool; strain; return meat to broth).
And, you may combine bones from all these species together into one pot.
bones can only be cooked once, although the larger chicken leg bones may be
frozen and used again later.
Notes on Bones:
Due to USDA processing requirements concerning BSE, beef neck bones are now
unless you do your own processing. Meadow Maid Foods is not able to obtain feet,
do supply meaty ribs, oxtail, meaty shank cut bones, marrow bones and knuckle