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What the heck is Bone Broth, anyway? How is that different than stock?

bone-broth-quart

Bone Broth is a delicious, full flavored liquid made by simmering bones, aromatic vegetables and herbs for a long time.  Most bone broths use a bit of cider vinegar, most stocks use tomato paste, either way, there is an acidic component.  Both use “knuckley” cartilage-rich joints and marrow-rich long bones.

So why the hype?  Bone Broth is being declared the best thing since sliced bread (actually if you watch the #Paleo crowd, it is being called much better than sliced bread).  The reason is simple: What we chefs have taken for granted for years as the foundation of a well-built kitchen, hasn’t been available to the home cook since the 60’s.  Home cooks have only had a few canned choices at the market and those are laden with sodium and not much else.

Quick history lesson — Whole carcasses of animals were shipped across the country by rail. In the early 70’s, the American highway system improved and, soon after, refrigerated trucking was born.  Every town had a butcher, and most restaurants had a butcher department.  Everyone had bones to either toss or cook with.  Home cooks could readily get beef and pork bones from their own butcher and they were cheap too!

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Bones like this used to be readily available

When refrigerated trucking was prevalent, it became common, and made more sense, to cut up the beef and pork carcasses at a central plant and then ship the meat in boxes and boxes stack neatly!  This represented one of the single most fundamental shifts in American gastronomy.  In my humble opinion.  Prior to that, meat was largely egalitarian.  Sure the rich people ate tenderloin, but tenderloin only represents a small percentage of a beef.  The restaurant still had to serve EVERYTHING else.  Suddenly, with box meat, you could buy a case of tenderloins.  Restaurants could specialize in that rarefied 1% of the animal leaving the remaining 99%, where?  For other socioeconomic classes to deal with.  Suddenly everything was viewed on a sliding scale.  Bones being at the bottom.

Didn’t take long before bones were discarded or turned into pet food by the majority of slaughterhouses.  Butchers around the country hung up their knives and the supermarket “meat cutter” was born.  This has historically been seen as progress.  However, many things have been lost along the way to our modern meat dystopia; bone broth being one of them.  Without bones readily available, home cooks had to turn to making their soups, sauces, and stews from manufactured “stock”.  With nothing to compete with, industrial giants turned out salty liquids with only a modicum of bone flavor, very little nutrition, and zero gelatin.  These quasi-bone broths were cooked with a minimum quantity of bones and for minimal time and always available at the market in the can or tetra-pak.  Regrettably, this then, salty, flavorless insipid swill is what has been used to make the gravy for many turkeys on the Thanksgiving holiday table.  Fear not!  We are brewing up an alternative that grandma would approve of!

The modern Bone Broth movement offers a radical alternative.  Finding an amazing rancher is actually kind of easy here in the Pacific Northwest.  We are blessed with an abundance of them ranging in size.  The hard part is finding a slaughterhouse that will agree to not throw the bones away but rather treat them as food not trash and most importantly– guarantee that they aren’t mixed with other factory farmed bones. This takes a lot of time and relationship building to secure a steady supply of sustainably and humanely raised bones from small to mid-sized family farms.  We are proud of our grass-fad/finished USDA inspected beef grown here in the Pacific Northwest.

These gorgeous bone are then simmered just long enough to extract all of the flavorful, nutrient dense collagen and then brightened with fresh aromatics veggies and herbs.  Remember, we never add salt!  We do recommend salting your bone broth when sipping or using in a reduction for sauces or gravies etc.  How much salt is entirely up to you. Enjoy!

Suddenly bone broth has real flavor, velvety body, and an origin that we can trust.  It’s about time!

Pressure Pot

#bonebroth #sustainable #grassfed #paleo #ancestralhealth #thirdplate

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