The Beef Bones Adventure…Posted: October 4, 2009
I have been happily making chicken stock for quite some time now.. About a year and a half ago, while working at Native Sun, I kept bugging the employees in the meat department about finding me a case of grass fed beef shank bones. Months this went on, to no avail. They said they couldn’t get an answer…then they said no.
I could find them on the internet, but I’ll go to extremes to keep from having something shipped to me..for environmental reasons mainly..but also wanting really fresh bones. The local co-ops want 35. to 50. to join.. What to do? I finally sucked up and went to Whole Foods…whom I certainly don’t trust for lots of reasons, preferring to shop local, not chains..
But a friend called and said she had asked them about the bones and they had them…so I got up the next morning and schlepped all the way out there. and was told they didn’t have them. They apologized and gave me the meat managers card, who would be in the next afternoon. So I waited til then and called, spoke to him and made arrangements to drive out the next afternoon to get them..he would hold them for me.
He didn’t…or rather when I got there, again, the next afternoon in 5 o’clock traffic…he wasn’t there. Seems he had been taken to the hospital for diabetes. Why don’t health food stores teach people how to eat? Classes on nutrition? Anyway, I whine, they look all over, can’t find them. They talked to the store manager, who had them cut 4 the meat off of 3 shanks…a 40 minutes wait…but t5hey did it. While hanging out at the meat counter, I noticed that bison was on sale for 3.99 a POUND. Wow… bought three pounds… Finally heaved the bones out to the car, with help…and at a great price.
The burger I had that night was the best bison burger I’ve ever had, very fresh, perfect. Wow.
And this afternoon I came home and browned, then slow roasted all those shanks and they are gently simmering for the next 2 days..mmmmmmmm.
about 5 pounds beef shank bones
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
3 pounds meaty rib or neck bones
5 or more quarts cold filtered water
1/2 cup vinegar
3 onions, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together
Heat coconut oil to slightly above medium heat, place shanks bones in oil to brown. Brown on all sides, even the ends of marrow. Then place in a roasting pan, covered, and brown at 325 degrees in the oven for 1 hour.
Place the knuckle and marrow bones in a large pot with vinegar and cover with water. Let stand for one hour.
Place roasted bones the water with them knuckles and stuff. Slowly bring up to a soft simmer and simmer, covered for…the longer the better..up to 72 hours.
Pour the fat out of the roasting pan. Deglaze the roasting pan, add liquid to pot., Add additional water, if necessary, to cover the bones; but the liquid should come no higher than within one inch of the rim of the pot, as the volume expands slightly during cooking. Bring to a boil.
A large amount of scum will come to the top, and it is important to remove this with a spoon. After you have skimmed, reduce heat and add the thyme and crushed peppercorns.
Simmer stock for at least 12 and as long as 72 hours. You will now have a pot of rather repulsive-looking brown liquid containing globs of gelatinous and fatty material. It doesn’t even smell particularly good. But don’t despair. After straining you will have a delicious and nourishing clear broth that forms the basis for many other recipes.
After you have made the stock and reduced it as much as you want, place the pot in the refrigerator and let it cool overnight. All the fat will rise to the top. Boil that fat with twice the amount of water as fat, let it solidify again, and THEN store it in the fridge or freezer. This removes a good amount of the meaty taste, and whatever sediment is in the fat will sink to the bottom of the pot. Use it like you would schmaltz or any other solid fat — especially for frying or in pie crusts!
You can do this with bacon grease, too, although I don’t know why you would want to get RID of bacon flavor!!