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Why is my bone stock disgusting?

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  • Why is my bone stock disgusting?

    I thought I did everything right, so I'm baffled by this. I roasted several grass-fed beef shanks in the oven for about 40 minutes, and then slow cooked them in the crockpot for a day or so, adding in carrots, celery and onion a few hours before the end, as well as salt, pepper, and basil. (Basically I just handled the bones as I would making any other stock.)

    I was looking forward to my first taste, even though the smell wasn't as yummy as I expected, but it was awful!! Now the stuff is in the fridge, staring me down every time I open the door, and I'm just trying not to make eye contact! I hate to throw it out, but is it supposed to taste this way??? Like, gross??

    (I'm not a picky eater--I ordered roasted beef marrow in a restaurant once and loved it, before I ever heard of Primal, so it's not that.)

  • #2
    Did you add any meat to it, or was it just bones and veggies? I've found that pure bone stock is kind of musky. I've had much better success when I've added meat as well.

    Also, did it ever come to a boil? Think of it as steeping tthe bones/meat/veggies in 180*F water for a long time. It gets icky if it boils. Also, did you skim the protein scum from the top? That can make it icky too.
    Poke it quickly, with a stick.


    • #3
      I would not have thought that basil would be a natural addition to the stock. Probably better to add thyme and peppercorns, if anything.

      The woman from nourishing traditions says you need marrow bones, meaty bones and I also use some boiling meat with bones. The meaty rib bones should be roasted, the others should be soaked in water for an hour with vinegar to get the calcium out. I put the vegetables in at the beginning as well. When the meat is cooked and tender I take it out and eat it and then put the bones back in.

      Knee bones are good for gelatine.

      The water has to be cold and then brought to he boil and then a very low simmer. As the water level gets low, top it up. I think the stove top might be more forgiving then a crockpot when it comes to temperature (just my opinion, I have nothing to back it up!).

      If you really do not like the taste for eating, then freeze it in the ice try and use them one at a time to enrich other food, the other goodness is there and the bitter taste wont appear (hopefully!)
      Life. Be in it.


      • #4
        for whatever reason, whenever i cook broths long like most people do, they turn out icky. i simmer mine for 6-8 hours either in the crockpot or on the stove and don't normally add veggies until i actually make the soup.
        my primal journal:


        • #5
          Originally posted by Saoirse View Post
          for whatever reason, whenever i cook broths long like most people do, they turn out icky. i simmer mine for 6-8 hours either in the crockpot or on the stove and don't normally add veggies until i actually make the soup.
          I never add vegetables to the stock - just bones and pepper corns, water and lemon juice. You can add veg to your soup, stew or whatever later. I found, from bitter experience, that a stock made with veg in it just doesn't keep as well as a pure bone stock. It seems to sour faster.


          • #6
            I always add my veggies at the beginning, along with a slug of apple cider vinegar to draw out the minerals. I overdid the ACV once though and that was horrid! The only herbs I would recommend are woody, such as thyme/rosemary/bay & whole spices e.g. pepper corns, juniper, star anise, cinnamon etc. as they seem to work best for me. I use marrow bones, knuckle bones, chicken carcasses and feet; anything with cartilage or meaty bits basically. The only thing I can think of to improve the taste is (as mentioned above) skimming, and also once you are done, transfer your stock from crock pot to stock pot on the stove, give it a good slosh of wine and reduce - this will enrich it and make it more palatable for drinking. Hope this helps a bit.


            • #7
              I think the basil is part of the problem.


              • #8
                I do mine in the slow cooker - without adding any veg


                • #9
                  Thanks y'all. I'm surprised by the suggestions that basil is the problem. I use it in chicken stock all the time, but maybe you're all right--not suitable for beef....?

                  Other than that, it seems that there's not really any one way to do this: long vs. slow simmer, veg in vs. veg out at various points in cooking, etc. Most of you recommend using meaty bones, though, which I think I'll try next. If I have to juggle it on the stove, though, and can't use the crockpot, it's probably going to be more than I have time to fool with. I already cook from scratch almost everything I eat, even though I live alone, and that becomes kind of arduous sometimes, though I'm the first to admit that I definitely eat better than most singletons I know.

                  Saoirse, I think I won't simmer as long next time, either, even though that's what I thought Mark was recommending. I had planned to stop midway through and crush up the bones, too, but somehow I now think that would have made the stock even more gross.... Six to eight hours, as you say, sounds more reasonable.

                  Prodistat, yes, it simmered like the crockpot does, though not what I'd call a full-on boil. Maybe I should keep it on the low setting? And, no, I didn't skim off the protein scum, so I'll do that next time. Thanks!

                  And Belforte, I'm surprised by the nourishing traditions woman's advice to soak non-rib bones in vinegar to remove calcium. I thought the point was to get the minerals INTO the stock so we could consume them. Does the calcium makes it taste bad??

                  Thanks so much for your input!! I guess I'll throw away that stuff (can't even face it in ice cubes, though that's a good suggestion!) and try again!