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dcarch

Make No Bones About This

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Bones make wonderful stock. Pretty much everyone does that. You save all the bones; you buy bones to make your own flavorful stock.

Really? Has anyone done this following experiment?

I have always wondered how much flavor is actually in the bones.

I bought some pork shoulders and saved the bones. I scraped all the meat off the bones, cut the bones in smaller pieces, and with just enough water to cover the bones and a little salt, I cooked the bones in a pressure cooker for one hour.

Result?

The stock is just rather tasteless salt water. There is some flavor from the marrow, but not worth that one hour of BTUs in cooking it.

Anyone else want to confirm this result?

dcarch

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bones are traditionally used for stock I think because

1) you have them 2) there will be some meat on the bones 3) its easier to extract that flavor (roasting or not) in water than taking the time and expense of scraping out all the meat 4) you might get some marrow flavor

i think its an issue in time and economics.

America's Test Kitchen , The Authority on all Subjects Cooking ( :blink: ) did a show on Chicken Soup. They didnt use chicken bones, but browned some ground chicken then used that for a quick soup stock.

I made this exactly as they said to do. It was easy, quick, and delicious. I wasn't a fan of throwing out the ground meat after extracting all its flavor, so my cat got to enjoy it!

:laugh:


Edited by rotuts (log)

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I've never used bones with no meat attached. But I don't think that's really the done thing. Bones are used because they contribute gelatin, and also because they are usually attached to a fair amount of meat and gristle that would otherwise be unusable.

As for the leftover meat, if you have done your job the leftover meat should be dry, mealy and flavorless because you have extracted all the flavor, gelatin, fat, etc. into the stock. I've never been able to get a free-feeding cat or ferret to show much interest at all in leftover stock-making meat (most dogs of course will eat anything if they think it's "people food"). I certainly wouldn't want to eat it myself, because it has the taste and texture of sawdust.

It's also worth pointing out with respect to dcarch's experiment that pork stock is not a particularly intensely flavored stock to begin with. Compared to beef, veal, chicken, duck or game stock, pork stock is certainly the least intensely flavored.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

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the stock from the ground meat was not cooked that long, so maybe the meat still had a little flavor in Cat-Think. but correct: nothing picky like a picky cat!. you are absolutely correct about dogs: Ive had two labs, and if I touched it they thought it was terrific!

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The idea is not to throw away the bones.

I was in the store, I saw chicken bones for $0.99 a bag and chicken drum sticks for $1.15 a lb. I was wondering which can make more and better stock. So I decided to find out if bones have any taste.

The pork bone stock I made does gel, but not very thick. That is probably from ther softer cartilage in between the joins. If you like gelatin, Go to an Asian market and get beef tendons. Inexpensive pure gelatin.

I am also not sure if roasting bones gives you more flavor. Roasting cannot create flavor that is not there. I think roasting changes flavor profile of what is already there by caramelization. But if you go beyond and carbonization happens then you probably will be losing flavor because carbon is very stable.

dcarch

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"Creating flavor that is not there" reflects an incomplete understanding of how flavor works. Fundamentally, flavor is molecules. This is to say that the perception of flavor is created in the brain out of a variety of sensory perceptions such as taste, smell, temperature, texture, chemesthesis, etc. that all result from different molecules acting on the various receptors. If we take a piece of pork and roast it, we are creating molecules or molecular forms that did not exist in the raw pork, and therefore we are creating flavors that did not exist in the raw pork. Some of the molecules and molecular forms resulting from this roasting may have a stronger or more persistent flavor than the molecules and molecular forms present in the raw pork. Indeed, this is generally speaking the case: a stock made with roasted chicken bones and browned vegetables has a stronger flavor than an equivalent stock made using equal amounts of raw ingredients that are not roasted and browned. This may not be the flavor you want, of course, but that's another question all together. Roasted meats and bones are maillardized rather than caramelized for the most part. All of which is to say that your pork stock might not have had tons more flavor if you had roasted the bones, but I bet it would have had more. If you're just saying that no amount of roasting could make a "bones only with no meat" stock flavorful, I would agree with that.

Regardless, I think you are correct that meaty flavors for the most part come from meat and that the bones are there to give body to the stock. Most of the time, as I said before, the bones used for stock have meat scraps on them. In the cases where they do not, meat is usually added. If given a choice between making a stock using $0.99/pound chicken bones and $1.15/pound chicken drumsticks, I would absolutely choose the drumsticks. That's a no-brainer. But, for me, while I wouldn't like a "bones only" stock, I also wouldn't care for a "meat only" broth. What you want is to find a good balance between the richness and mouthfeel that comes from gelatin and the meaty flavors from the meat.


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The bones you show up top have almost no meat on them, so roasting them wouldn't do much at all. Next time, don't scrape all the meat off but, instead, brown meaty bones a bit (you can do it on stove top if you don't want to use the oven). That gives the deeper roasted meat flavor. Scraped bones don't have much flavor to give, roasted or otherwise.

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So if it's meat that provides flavor, and bones are there to provide gelatin, why not make a meat stock and add gelatin (as a powder, sheet or whatever)?

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With respect, I don't think bones contribute gelatin. How could they? They're basically rocks. I'm pretty sure It's the meat and connective tissues attached to the bones which produce gelatin. Years ago, a butcher sold me veal bones for stock. It was a special order and designated as such by the supplier. Unfortunately, the bones were almost completely devoid of meat or connective tissue. Like the OP, I ended up with a very weak stock which even aggressive reduction couldn't save.

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With respect, I don't think bones contribute gelatin. How could they? They're basically rocks. . . .

Well, no: bone contains a good bit of collagen, since proteins comprise the bone matrix in which the minerals are suspended.

Michaela, thanks for this.

It's a common misconception that bones are solid like rocks. They aren't. They are pourous and fibrous.

When you insert a meat thermometer into meat that has bones, conventional wisdom always says to keep the thermometer away from bones to prevent a false reading. Many have assumed this was because it would be hotter near the bones (as if they were rocks). But it's the opposite. Due to their construction, bones actually disperse heat causing a lower temperature reading near them.


 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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After my "bare bone" experiemnt, I ate the marrow. It was pretty nice with most of the fat rendered out.

To cut big bones yourself, this is how I do it:

1. Table saw with a carbide blade.

2. Wrap bone in plastic.

3. Cut.

It is very easy and messy.

dcarch

.

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you cut bones on a table-saw? :blink:

I have a PowerMatic and wouldnt think of it. What a mess to clean up. :huh:

all that organic marrow mixing with all that saw dust. Yum Yum but not for me.

even my band saw would need a through cleaning. And the 'tires' on the wheels?

full confession: i thought of getting a really small band saw for just this purpose: a small table mounted thing-y

I now use this:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003EZUHLK/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1/179-9556859-3893068?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_r=1V5CKGTCD73REQ9T9VE1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_i=B003EZWK42

its not cheap, but light enough and I use it for all sorts of things: pruning tree branches, etc

Its just the thing for the Home-Owner to feel good about :hmmm:

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I made veal stock once, just from roasted bones (the butcher had to dig deep into his freezer for these). There is definitely "gelatine" in the bones, as soon as the stock had cooled it turned into a very thick jello. Was a great stock, added the often quoted "mouth feel" to sauces immediately. It also smelled pretty bad while boiling and I've never made it again, since I rarely make sauces to begin with. I do make chicken stock for soups, left over chicken pieces and sometimes a pack of chicken feet, so there's definitely meat in there (and fat, which I don't remove unless it's excessive). But seeing that boiling chicken meat produces little to no gelling, I'd say most of the gel comes from the bones?


"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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if you think of a bone as the complex calcium structure that hold you and those animals up, then no.

if you think of the bone as the above and its attachments (cartilage, tendon, periosteum,

http://www.google.com/search?q=periosteum&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=sff&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=aFIHULmBGMil6wGRsomBCQ&ved=0CFsQsAQ&biw=1184&bih=1003&sei=e1IHUL7cAcfI0QGZooyEBA

marrow and some muscle, then yes.

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Mjx, I'll admit to being surprised to learn that bone is 30% collagen (by weight, I assume). I knew there was some, as I understand bone is a calcified protein matrix. Rocks was a metaphor and I did say basically. But I didn't realize the collagen content is so high. OTOH, how easily that collagen is extracted is another matter.

In that regard, my experience (and that's what the OP asked about) is that bones as such don't add much to a stock. I've done this at least three times that I can recall. One was the stock mentioned in Post #11. Another was assisting a coworker make a similar stock with similarly bare veal bones. It was thoroughly disappointing. A third was making scrapple with a Smithfield ham bone, not well trimmed but ham is also low in collagen. The scrapple didn't set up as I'm used to using smoked neck bones, which are high in connective tissue. I'm curious whether you've ever tried making a bare bone stock and what your experience was. As my experience is that it's the stuff attached to the bones, not the bones themselves, which furnishes the overwhelming majority of the gelatin. And, of course, as everyone seems to agree, pretty much all the flavor.

The point being that it's one thing to use bones to make stock because we have them. That's economical and, if we do it right (not using bare bones), we'll get a good stock. The question is whether it makes sense to buy bones to make stock. IMHO, we're usually better off (and it'll cost less) if we use a little meat for flavor and something else for the collagen, e.g., skin, tendon or foot. The bones are mostly dead weight. "Everybody knows" one uses bones to make stock. But everyone has been wrong before. The OP is asking whether this is another one of those times.

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