making huge batch of beef stock/bone broth

liz_hMarch 14, 2014

I have about 20 pounds of beef bones in the refrigerator, and a 22 quart roaster oven.. I plan to start the stock in the morning. I've seen a few suggestions to parboil the bones first, in order to reduce the amount of scum in the stock. How much does this help?

I plan to cook this for 2 to 3 days. I assume that if I let it sit on the deck, I would have a big problem with animals. Please tell me I'm wrong. ;)

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Congratulations on your up and coming broth-a-thon. When you have cooked your broth to the point you like, you should strain it, and then cool it quickly in smaller container/s in a cold water/ice water bath in a sink or plastic ice cooler (good use for quart jars - I like to use frozen plastic blue ice blocks in the water, too) . Change the water to keep it cold (or add more ice).

Stir the contents frequently in order to move the warmer center portion to the outside of the container where it's colder. Once the broth is completely cool, you can THEN safely place it in the refrigerator if you want to cool it more (or overnight) to remove (and save) the fat from the top before portioning further.

I like to place a portion in ice cube trays, small portion plastic containers, and other user-friendly sizes, and sit them on a rimmed cookie sheet or 9x13 cake pan in the freezer to quick-freeze them. I then pop them out of the containers and stack and vacuum-seal frozen "broth cubes" in FoodSaver bags for longer storage.

It's no longer COLDER than 40-degrees here at night, and that's the magic number you want for food safety for a cooling temperature. The cold water/ice water method for cooling is the food safety method of choice, and the suggested method for cooling an large amount of hot food quickly before placing it in the refrigerator. Just be sure to divide it in smaller amounts (like quart jars or small pans) to do it quickly.

If you were to place a large container of hot liquid, even at 40-degrees F or colder to cool, the middle of the large amount can remain at an unsafe food temperature for many hours, and that's where the possibility for bacteria growth happens. Food cools faster in smaller amounts in a cold water/ice water bath and it also cools faster if placed in a shallow container. Not a huge stock-pot of liquid.

The cooking method I use is outlined in the article linked below by Sally Fallon (now Sally Fallon Morell). The USDA will have information about how to safely cool large amounts of hot liquid if you need to look that up.


Here is a link that might be useful: Broth Is Beautiful

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 4:58AM
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Are you following a recipe or instructions?
It is possible to get a very rich stock in one day. I don't par-boil. I roast the bones in the oven for an hour while i start the prep for everything else. On two large sheet pans or in a turkey roaster. It helps get those bones up to a nice hot internal temp quickly and a gives nice flavor. The hot bones will help get your liquid up to simmer temp faster.
For such a large batch i would coarse chop some of the onions, carrots and celery, and roast those in the oven as well. -just a way to multi-task the process and get things going.
The trick to a nice stock is 'do not boil'. Keep the temp around 190-200 and a simmer. Some skimming off the top a couple times an hour or two after simmering will be necessary. Not sure why this will take days. I would say 6-7 hrs after it hits a simmer.

I have way too many critters to leave something out on the deck.
Especially after sundown. I have a folding large breed wire dog crate stored in the garage that i would use if needed. : )

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 7:06AM
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Its perfect to make roasted beef. you have any recipe?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 7:42AM
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There are several lines of thought about "how long" to cook stock. I have one source that says "simmer no longer than 3-hours or you will degrade delicate amino acids".

Some other bits:

-If stock is simmered too high, the heat will break down and destroy the collagen.

-Ratio of bones to water. Chicken- 3-4 pounds bones to 4 quarts water.
Beef- 7-pounds bones to 4-quarts water. Too much water and your stock may not gel.

-I use another method where I add unflavored beef gelatin to the broth and make it into homemade bouillon cubes. The concentrated broth/gelatin bouillon cubes are dehydrate a little more in the refrigerator. The link for the information is found below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Nourished Kitchen

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 8:33AM
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I don't know if you were talking about letting it cool on the deck (not recommended, discussed above), or cooking on the deck? Do you not have a large enough counter to put the electric roaster in the kitchen for a day?

Roast the bones (veggies sound good too) in the roaster oven, then add water and turn heat down to simmer - you can do this all in 1 pan!

Skim as needed, strain, then you may can the broth (if you have a pressure canner) or divide into smaller containers and cool as discussed above, freeze.

I had started a thread on Harvest about organic beef bones/stock. Never did stop by the farm to get them. Just wondering, how much did you pay for your bones?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 8:45AM
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First, cook/roast the bones without water. Enjoy the marrow, then make stock.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 8:59AM
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I made a huge batch of beef broth (Silver Palette recipe) this past September. I still have some left in the freezer; is it still OK to use? How long can you keep broth in the freezer?
Thanks, MJ

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 9:17AM
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Your stock is fine in the freezer. I cycle through seasonally much more than most do.
Anything labeled 2013 gets used by this summer. I do date the month, so i use things up because of freezer space, and will have yet more stock when the winter moves on.
I have nothing labeled 2012 but i'm sure some do.

More important is the prep and how fast you can get it chilled by referencing grainlady's post above. With such a large batch, i would start the straining process after 6 hours in small 2 qrt amounts and get it chilled over an ice bath, (uncovered), or in a snow bank, or a snow packed box/cooler. (free ice around here!) Keeping the bulk of it still simmering....
chill another batch, etc.
Once cool it can go to the fridge in freezer containers, then off to the freezer.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 9:57AM
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Just as sleeve dog pointed out, your frozen broth will be fine for a long period of time - probably years - especially if stored properly (but it's best to use it and make more ;-). Food doesn't actually "spoil" (as in bacteria growth) in the freezer, but the flavors and texture can change, and oil/fat can eventually go rancid (freezing only slows that down if there is oxygen in the bag/container it's stored in), and nutrients are lost. And depending on how it's stored, some frozen food can absorb odors from other foods the longer food is stored in the freezer and onion and garlic get stronger.

One thing you may notice is the formation of ice crystals. This is when moisture migrates from the food item to the airspace surrounding the food (both before it froze solid, and after), and ice crystals form in the container and can get that "freezer burn" flavor. To avoid this, you can vacuum-seal the broth after it has been frozen in user-friendly amounts, remove from the containers and place in a FoodSaver bag and seal. Another method is to place the liquid broth (or congealed broth if you refrigerated it) in a zip-lock FREEZER-style bag and draw out as much air as possible (use a small drinking straw for this), and freeze the broth laying flat on a cookie sheet (in case you get a leak). Oxygen is the problem with all food storage. Eliminate as much as possible and frozen foods will last long time.

Another important point for proper freezing is to take the temperature of the freezer (as well as your refrigerator). Your freezer needs to be zero degrees F (or colder), and for deep freezing, -10-degrees F. A way to judge if you don't have thermometer (they are relatively inexpensive, so go ahead and get one) is if you have ice cream in your freezer and it's practically brick-hard. If it's easy to scoop when removed from the freezer, your freezer is too warm.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 10:47AM
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I have nothing to add, but wanted to thank you for starting this discussion. I don't cook in such quantity, however the info being shared is quite enlightening!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 11:33AM
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What do you stock mavens consider the optimal temperature for simmering broth? Obviously you don't want to boil the stuff furiously like pasta water or you'll get all sorts of cloudy proteins, but what is the optimal temp for extracting all the goodness?

Reason I ask, is that now that sous vide controllers are so cheap, it would be pretty simple to set a controller at, say, 190 degrees, and have the controller power a hot plate with a stock pot on it, or maybe a roaster oven, and you could leave the system alone for a day or so without any worry of boilovers.


---Oops, I missed that someone recommended 190-200. Everybody agree? How long do you simmer the stock? Somewhere I assume someone has done an extraction study--if you simmer it for 24 hours, how much of the goodness has been extracted, say, at 6, 12, 18 hrs? Looking for what the scientists call the "knee of the curve"--or, if I remember my math classes correctly, where does the curve approach the asymptote?

This post was edited by arley on Fri, Mar 14, 14 at 14:31

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:24PM
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Sleeve Dog & Grainlady,
Thank you so much fork your responses. It looks like I will be making short ribs next week-end!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:39PM
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How long....

-Meaty broth (only a small amount of bone), NOT roasted first and simmered 45-minutes to 2-hours. Light flavor, high protein.

-Stock, typically made with bones and a small amount of meat, roasted first, then simmered 3-4 hours. Rich in minerals, amino acids, and gelatin.

-Bone broth, roasted first, simmered at least 12-hours. Very high in minerals, amino acids, and gelatin.

-Reduction/concentration/demi-glace - simmer until volumes are reduced by half or more (great for taking up less freezer space).

-Temperature? Around 200-degrees F. I like to see a small amount of low-level bubbling towards the center of the simmering pot.

-According to Harold McGee in "Keys to Good Cooking - A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes":
*cook poultry stocks for 1-4 hours
*veal, lamb, and pork for 4-8-hours
*beef for 6-12-hours
Meats and bone from older animals take longer to release their gelatin. If necessary, add water to keep solids barely covered.

Another FYI from Harold McGee: "Simmering stock will take care of bacteria, but it does NOT kill spores and it does not destabilize all toxins. Heat-stable toxins can make stock unsafe."

That's why it's important to cool quickly and refrigerate or freeze.

The link below may be interesting reading for some. "Bending the Rules on Bacteria" by Harold McGee in the New York Times.


Here is a link that might be useful: Bending the Rules on Bacteria

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 4:42PM
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liz, I never parboil the bones. I put them into my electric roaster and roast them until they are nicely brown. I add onions, carrots, bay leaf, etc., water as it suits me (I never measure) and simmer anywhere from 12 hours to 18 hours, sometimes longer, until it tastes good. I find that the more water I use, the longer it takes to taste "beefy", go figure. (grin)

I'm assuming you intend to cook this on the deck for the 2 or 3 days you mentioned? If so, depending on your location and your deck, I'd venture a guess that you could attract every dog in the area at least, LOL. Here there would also be a few bears, some raccoons, a skunk or two. (grin)

Frozen broth lasts for a very long time, as long as it is sealed well the quality should be fine still.

I can mine, I can't afford the freezer space, that's saved for things like beef and pork that I can't/don't want to can.

Good luck, I'm making chicken stock this weekend, so we can be simultaneous stock buddies. Since my high temperatures this weekend will be 25F and lows will be 1F or so, I'll be cooling mine in the garage but I'll be simmering it on the kitchen counter. The problem won't be in properly cooling the stock, it'll be keeping it from freezing, LOL.


This post was edited by annie1992 on Fri, Mar 14, 14 at 19:50

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 7:48PM
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I do as Rulhman does. (In the linked article.)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 11:05AM
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We have a weather prediction of more snow again tonight. I thought it might make you smile to know that, inspired by this thread, I decided to go to this great meat place (Kingsley's Meats) about 20 miles away where I have a 50% off coupon. I would buy some bones. That amused me. Buying bones!

I have watched the butchers there bring out big haunches and cut them up. I talked to Gary about bones for stock. He showed me what I would get. Gorgeous meaty bones. At a pretty darn good price.

Tomorrow, when I would be once again snowed in, I could make some beef stock. I have quarts of chicken stock. No beef stock. I have plenty of carrots, onions, celery. . . .all that good stuff. I could do it.

It amused me. I was almost there when I realized today is Sunday. They are not open on Sundays!

I turned around and came home. 40 miles and no bones. And I must admit, that amused me, too.

And the snow is starting.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 8:06PM
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LOL, Bellsmom, sounds like something I would do. And the weather here sounds similar too!

I just finished canning 2 quarts and 5 pints of chicken stock. I think one pint did not seal, so I'll have to use it. It simmered for 12 hours at 300F in the Nesco roaster, but I spent about 2 hours at 450F roasting the bones first, then added the seasonings, vegetables and water. So, about 14 hours total.

After it finished I strained out the solids and put the broth in the garage overnight. I got about 1/8 of an inch of fat which I skimmed off and added to the bucket of scraps for the pigs. The remaining "jello" I heated and canned. I could have strained it, but I like the "chicken residue" that stays in the broth, it adds flavor but makes the broth not as clear and pretty.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 8:20PM
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Annie and others,

I LOVE my Nesco roaster. I bought it after reading comments here on GW. For me it is so much more useful than the "slow cooker" that I gave away when I realized how much more accurate and useful the Nesco was.
Absolutely the best slow cooker I have ever had. It cooks much "slower" than the crock pot I pitched.

The last chicken broth was wonderful--really simmered for hours in the Nesco.

I think I remember that I should pre-roast meaty beef bones to brown them, but marrow bones should not be pre-roasted. When I get my bones, is that right? I have never bought bones before, so this is new ground.

But, alas, no beef bones tonight.

edited on Monday to add:
Duh! I have that backwards. Roast bones before simmering. Do not roast meaty bones. Thanks, Grainlady and Sleevendog, as always.

10 pounds of bones were roasted and are now a-simmer.

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Tue, Mar 18, 14 at 10:44

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 8:59PM
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Sorry to be so late responding. I appreciate all of the advice. My e-mail has been acting up so I didnâÂÂt get any notifications and forgot to look here. I thought of cooking it outside just to keep the odor out of the house. Using the garage isnâÂÂt practical with our house design. It turned out not to be a problem inside. I think that I've cooked it a higher temp in the past - often a vigorous simmer instead of barely a simmer. Much better broth quality with the lower temp.

Grainlady, the homemade boullion cubes looks great! IâÂÂll remember that for the future. Ajsmama, the bones are from the half cow that I purchased last summer. Since most people donâÂÂt want them, I suspect I can get more from the processor quite inexpensively.

I love the effect of the parboiling. I put the bones in a stockpot, then covered with cold water. My stove brings this to a boil in a few minutes. After a vigorous 3 minute boil, all kinds of crud surfaced. I rinsed the bones, then roasted them, and made the stock as usual. There was almost nothing to skim during the stock making and the stock tastes wonderful.

I probably didnâÂÂt cool the stock as quickly as I should have, but it was all down to room temperature within 30 minutes from removing it from the stove, and straight into the fridge. I wish IâÂÂd thought to use the blue frozen packs as we have a ton of them.

I sadly ended up losing half of my bones before I started, so made this on top of the stove. Fortunately itâÂÂs easy to maintain a bare simmer on that stove. I found that the pan from my 24 quart roaster fits perfectly in my prep sink. We filled the sink with ice and water so that it came up around the sides of the pan; then strained the stock into the pan & stirred to cool. Since my stock was very concentrated, I also added ice directly to the stock, about 2 trayâÂÂs worth. This was a mistake, as I did lose the visible gelatin. It still tastes good, but I certainly won't dilute if at all when drinking.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:29PM
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This evening, I reduced much of the stock, cooled it and put back in the fridge. The rest went in the freezer.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 3:10AM
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liz, homemade stock is nothing like that pale stuff you get from the store, is it? My brother is always asking for home canned beef stock, he says the stuff at the store just tastes like water except the "cubes", which taste like salt. I agree with him.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:40PM
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Annie, I don't can, but I sure would love to have a pantry of home-canned goods! I manage with a freezer. I'm barely starting to do some lacto-fermentation of vegetables.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:48PM
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liz, whether it's canned or frozen, it's miles better than anything available commercially.

I'm warning you, though, the freezing of stock and the fermentation of vegetables is going to lead to other things, LOL.

I'd probably freeze my stock, frankly, except that I raise beef, pork, chicken and my family hunters keep the venison supply up. Plus we fish! So the freezer space is at a premium, vegetables and stock must be canned.

I do dehydrate a few things, like apples and garlic and herbs, but many things I don't care for dehydrated.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 8:59PM
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I read something about dehydrated stock on blog recently. She cooked the stock way down; almost like a thick gravy. This was spread very thinly on dehydrator sheets and dried. The results were then broken into a powder. The powder is great for traveling, and one of her kids prefers the reconstituted broth.

ps I have enough to do without getting too heavily into this. I am not getting a dehydrator. I am not getting a dehydrator. I am not getting a dehydrator. ;-)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 2:47PM
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Well, liz, it's too bad you don't want a dehydrator, LOL. I make yogurt in mine, and "gummy worms" out of zucchini and Kool Aid, and lots of fruit leather for the grandkids.

Plus, if I find a few morels, I can dry them, powder them and mix them with salt and make "Morel Salt", so I can flavor stuff without actually having to use many mushrooms!


    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 7:06PM
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