Dear Mark: Bone Broth Edition

Broth in a saucepanWith bone broth bars popping up in cities, broth-based cookbooks appearing on Amazon, and grass-fed bone broth now available for order online, hot bone water is experiencing a renaissance. And not just among Primal devotees. Dr. Oz is recommending it as a coffee replacement and Kobe Bryant uses it to support his aging body. The renewed popularity has brought an endless string of questions from readers, and today I’m going to answer some of them. Is bone broth truly a miracle food? Yes, but maybe not for the reason you suspect. Should you make deer bone broth? Yes, with a caveat. Does adding vinegar to your water really increase the mineral content of your broth? Probably not as much as you think. Do beef brisket bones work? Yes. And finally, what are the best parts from each animal for making broth? I give a slightly more detailed answer than “All of them.”

Let’s go:

Some people talk about bone broth as if it’s some kind of miracle food—particularly people in the paleo world. What’s your take? I know you suggest people make and consume it, but is it really all people crack it up to be? I mean, how much nutrition can really be pulled from bones? Thanks, Mark.


The biggest nutritional takeaway from bone broth is the gelatin. Excessive methionine, the amino acid found in steak, eggs, dairy, and other “evil” animal foods, can reduce longevity in animal trials, which is why the life extension/calorie restriction crowd is so preoccupied with limiting it. They want to wring out a few extra years, and they’re willing to abstain from everything delicious to make it happen. It turns out that full-on methionine restriction may be unnecessary if you eat enough gelatin; glycine, the primary amino acid present in gelatin, “opposes” the methionine present in muscle meat. Adding glycine to a methionine-rich diet has even been shown to mimic the life extension seen with methionine restriction.

A bone broth habit, then, may allow you to enjoy the benefits of a diet rich in animal protein—good body composition, superior recovery from training, strong bones, overall robustness—while avoiding the downsides. Gelatin’s (particularly the glycine component) also good for sleep. A big mug of broth an hour before bed always puts me down.

Broth should contain hyaluronic acid, a promising pro-joint nutrient. Race horses with bad osteoarthritis get intra-articular shots or IVs of synovial fluid, and studies on oral administration indicate that hyaluronic acid is the active component. You can also find hyaluronic acid in the bones and the connective tissue of an animal, and they even make a high-hyaluronic acid extract from chicken combs—that fleshy red waddle that sits atop a chicken’s head—which improved quality of life and reduced pain in patients with osteoarthritis.

Chondroitin sulfate is a popular but controversial joint health supplement. Skeptics say it’s a scam. The osteoarthritis patients participating in the study which found that six months of chondroitin sulfate supplementation reduced their cartilage loss probably have a different opinion. Since the supplements are made from animal cartilage, and the keel cartilage of the chicken back bone is a particularly rich source of water-soluble chondroitin sulfate (PDF), a broth made with plenty of cartilaginous substrate should be a good option.

Minerals? The vast majority of bone broth as it’s commonly made is not a good source of minerals. It simply isn’t acidic enough to pull calcium phosphate from the bones. Older studies indicate the bone broths richest in calcium are actually the ones made with vegetables, and a more recent study of bone broth’s mineral content commissioned by Sally Fallon of the Weston A Price Foundation—who has been touting the calcium and magnesium content of broth for decades—came up mostly empty.

Nutrition aside, broth remains a miracle food because it’s absolutely indispensable for high-level cooking. Go to a great French restaurant and there’ll be a stock-based reduction sauce in just about everything you eat. Home cooking becomes otherworldly when you have ample amounts of bone broth on hand for hearty soups and to reduce into syrupy sauces that coat the mouth.


It’s hunting season and I will probably take 4-5 whitetail deer this season. I have read about the benefits of bone broth on your site and would like to know is it feasible to make bone broth from the bones of the deer I will harvest. Also, would making the broth from deer bones be the same process as making it from grass fed cow bones? Lastly, do you have a recipe for bone broth that I could follow for the deer bones?



Making broth from deer bones should be about the same as making it with any ruminant’s bones. Roast, add spices/herbs, cover with water, boil, reduce to simmer. Or roast and throw in a pressure cooker to save time. Maybe throw in a few juniper berries to counter some of the gaminess, if that’s a problem for you.

I gotta say that I’m jealous. I’ve never made deer bone broth, but what with all the running, leaping, and general high intensity movement these beasts do, I’ve got to think they’ll have some dense connective tissue, sinew, and gristle. That’s the stuff you want for great stock. It’ll turn into gelatin and make your broth gel at room temperature.

There is chronic wasting disease to consider. Although the pathophysiology is still unclear, and no human cases have been recorded or observed to date, you should probably make sure chronic wasting disease isn’t a problem among deer in your area before using the bones (or the meat, for that matter). The prions that may cause it tend to accumulate in bone, brain, and spinal tissue and are highly resistant to cooking.

Hi Mark,

I’ve read everywhere that adding vinegar to bone broth helps bring out the calcium of the bones. But I know that vinegar is an acid and calcium is a base and they neutralize each other and become new molecules when combined. So, when the vinegar brings out the calcium, is it changed to something other than calcium and not as helpful to us?

Thank you,


I used to religiously add a big glug or two of vinegar to every batch, but not anymore. I’ve never actually noticed a difference. Gelatin is water-soluble. Chondroitin sulfate is water-soluble. Flavor is water-soluble. What about the minerals?

To really extract the calcium in bone, your medium needs to be very acidic. I’m talking close to pure vinegar, with a pH of 2.4. Stick a chicken bone in a jar full of vinegar and it’ll get bendy and pliable after a few days. That’s because the calcium phosphate has leached into the water. Unfortunately, swapping water out for vinegar doesn’t really work when making broth. It’s expensive and completely unpalatable. Adding a few tablespoons doesn’t lower the pH enough to make a difference. So, out of luck?

Maybe not. In a 1933 study (PDF), researchers wondered how Chinese women were getting enough calcium without consuming dairy, particularly in a calcium-intensive phase: right after childbirth. They looked at a traditional meal that Chinese women would eat three or four times a week for over a month immediately after giving birth. The dish in question consisted of pork feet simmered in vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar. To quantify the amount of calcium being drawn out of the bones and into the sauce and meat, the researchers tested a similar dish using pork spare ribs instead of feet. Same concept: meat and bones simmered in a vinegar-based (3.2 pH) sauce for about an hour. This produced high calcium levels in both the sauce and the meat.

Looks like a pH of 3.2 is plenty acidic for adequate leaching of calcium. How to do it without turning your broth into a vinegary abomination?

Simmer the bones in red wine before adding water. Red wine has a pH between 2.9 and 3.5, so it could work without involving vinegar at all. Plus, red wine tastes better than vinegar. I’ve thrown an entire bottle of zinfandel in with a batch of bone broth; it worked. Why not pre-cook the bones in wine to draw out minerals, then add the water?

Smash or blend the bones before adding vinegar. This will increase the surface area exposed to vinegar and make it easier to submerge everything. You’ll probably want to precook the bones to make smashing/blending possible/easier. If you want to blend, use a high-powered blender like a VitaMix.

But for the most part, adding a couple tablespoons (or even a half cup) of vinegar to a ton of water won’t affect the pH enough to draw out appreciable amounts of minerals.

This is my first time to make grass fed beef bone broth. I have done a lot reading in how to make it.

My grass fed beef bone was delivered today from Slanker grass fed meat and it is still frozen. I have six pounds of beef knuckle marrow bones that I plan on cooking to make beef broth. I also have 12 pounds of beef brisket bones suppose to be the dog bone edible brisket.
My crazy question is, can I use the beef brisket bones to make bone broth? If so, is it any different than the marrow bones?

Thank you,



I’m not clear on what a beef brisket bone looks like, but any bone works. Some better than others. Brisket is a “tough” piece of meat, which is code for “contains lots of collagen” which is code for “will leach into cooking water and produce a rich broth.” If there’s a lot of meat, you might want to pull them out and strip the meat once it’s fall-off-the-bone tender. Save or eat the meat and return the cleaned bones to the pot. Letting large amounts of meat boil in a broth for more than a few hours can mar the taste.

Beef knuckles are probably the best beef bones for making bone broth. Between those and the brisket bones, I suspect the broth you’re going to make will be incredible and demand you send me a sample.

I’ll be waiting.


Can you make broth from any bone from any animal? Are some parts better than others?


For the richest, most gelatinous broth, favor bone junctions and intersections—where one bone meets or crosses another—and moving parts. Those bits contain the most collagen, which translates into great bone broth.

If you’re making poultry broth, be sure to include feet, necks, backs, and wings.

If you’re making beef or lamb broth, include knuckles, tails, feet, and necks.

If you’re making pork broth, include ears, tails, feet, knuckles, and hocks. Use an entire head if you can get one.

If you’re not sure, or you’re making broth from an unknown creature or cryptid whose anatomy hasn’t been catalogued, just stick to joint intersections and moving parts. These will reliably make the best broth.

That’s it for today, folks. Thanks for reading, and if today’s post brings up any new broth-related questions, shoot them my way or leave them in the comments.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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84 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Bone Broth Edition”

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  1. Great info here, thanks Mark. I used to make bone broth regularly at home, and found nothing produced a thick, gelatinous stock like chicken feet. Although feet have a very strong “game-y” taste, so I would usually only add a few feet.

    Lately I’ve been lazy (read: we have a newborn) so I’ve found Prather Ranch here in the Bay area is about the best bang for my buck for stock. $7 for quart (I think) and it’s incredibly thick, especially the pork stock.

  2. After putting assorted bones, legs, necks/backs, ox tail pieces, etc. to the pot, I then fill it with flat mineral water. Yes, mineral water can be boiled. The best deal I’ve found on flat mineral water is in the baby section of a grocery store–gallon jugs of Gerber Pure, which contain purified water, potassium, and calcium. I add the sodium.

    The refrigerated broth gels just fine.

    1. I highly recommend pig feet for making broth–the hooves dissolve in the boiling process, and add rich (whatever hooves are made out of). Chicken feet can also dissolve into bits when boiled long enough, but the skin should be removed from them, and the nails clipped first.

  3. We cook with a lot of beef tongue. Years ago, I used to throw out the water, but one evening, I stuck the whole pot, tongues and water in the fridge. The next morning, it was a solid block of jello indicating to me it was gelatin rich…

    Needless to say, I haven’t tossed the cooking water out since! It makes a delicious soup…

  4. I made broth with chicken feet once. It came out very clear and to me it seemed like nothing was happening so I left the feet in the slow cooker for 2 days. I figured all was lost because after 2 days it still looked like water, but I made a soup with it anyway. Oh man, it was the best broth I have ever had. When it cooled it was like jello.

  5. I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but IMO bone broth is overrated. The few times I tried making it with nothing but bones, water and a little vinegar (according to various recipes I found), I couldn’t get it to jell at all, not even using raw bones. The longer it cooked the worse it smelled. It was also completely lacking in flavor and bore no resemblance whatsoever to a good homemade stock.

    Compare this with throwing a whole raw chicken or chicken parts (or beef short ribs) into a pot along with water and plenty of vegetables and simmering for 3 hours or so–or quickly pressure cook in an Instant Pot. The aroma and flavor are wonderful and the resulting broth jells every single time. It’s called SOUP.

    1. Definitely agree. We always have made stock and reduced it to a thick syrupy semi liquid. I’m not sure when everyone started calling broth “bone” broth instead of broth. Just sounds more primal I guess. But a good stock needs those aromatics as you say. I use knuckles, tail bones and whatever else the butcher has. But the veggies are a must IMHO and any serious chef would agree.

      1. I make stock all the time. Here’s what I do:

        Beef: Roast the bones in an oven at 400 F for 30-40 mins. Then add them to the pot.

        Chicken and pork: Add them raw straight into the pot and then enough water to cover. I simmer the chicken and pork bones for 30 mins before adding the other ingredients.

        Beef, pork and chicken stock ingredients:
        onions (twice the number of onions to celery and carrots, eg. 6 whole onions, 3 celery and 3 carrots. Leave onion skins on for beef broth and remove onion skins for chicken and pork. Onion skins make the broth brown in colour.)
        celery (cut in big pieces)
        carrots (peeled and cut lengthwise for access to the sweet center)
        30 or so black whole peppercorn,
        10 bay leaves
        1 bunch of fresh parsley

        Add these veggies and herbs to your stock pot which will already contain the bones (for chicken and pork stock, you will already have some water in the pot too). Once all ingredients are in, add enough water to reach the rim of the pot. I cook it very gently (barely a simmer) for 24 hours with no lid. After that, I strain off the liquid (throw away the bones, herbs and veggies) and very gently reduce it down for another few hours (2-6 depending on how much liquid evaporated during the night). The longer you cook it down, the richer the flavour. Be careful not to burn it though! If you reduce too far, the stock/broth will burn. Cool the pot in your fridge with no lid or on the counter and put into containers and freeze until you need it.

        You can also make a fish stock by boiling the peeled heads and shells of raw shrimp. Use that to make a base for other fish soups. Delicious!

        Bon appétit

        1. Thanks! I had a question about roasting beforehand from reading Mark’s blog above. I had never heard of that and you just answered my question.

        2. A couple of things to note:

          1) add salt only in your final recipe, including if you’re just going to drink the broth
          2) roasting the bones often causes smoke, which is normal. Just check to see that the bones are not turning black. You want browned bones, not black


    2. I use duck carcasses, ACV, water, salt, and any old veges I might have lying around.

      The broth gels beautifully after a 12-18 hr simmer, and it tastes sensational on its own, or used as a base for soups/stews. I freeze a big batch in silicone muffin trays.

      My fav quick meal: heat some duck broth, add some fish sauce (fermented anchovies), chopped raw fish, and chopped bok choy. So good.

      I reckon that duck broth has a more pleasant cooking smell compared to other carcasses.

    3. You could try adding gelatine to hot drinks, it’s great in cocoa and spice teas like “Yogi Tea Classic” with a teaspoon of cream as well.

  6. I buy chicken and turkey bone broth at Sprouts. It comes in those small boxes, but I usually add some miso-soup powder to give it more flavor. And I also chop up a green onion or two and put it at the bottom of the bowl so I get some fiber in my broth as well.

  7. Hi
    Is it ok to eat this raw..? ( bone marrow )
    Anyone knows this.?
    Regards Fred

  8. Hmm, I wonder if you could skip the “broth” part and just gnaw on/eat the cartilage from chicken drumsticks. I usually do this and find it to be a delicious part of the animal!

    1. I always do that when I accidentally overcook my chicken. I often wonder if I have a mineral deficiency because it’s seems like I crave the stuff. I also always eat the sinews. In fact, I remember doing that even when I was a kid.

  9. I loved nibbling on chicken feet when my grandma made broth when I was a kid. But we moved (very far) away, where there were no chicken feet available. So I tried chicken feet in my broth, and I have to say I couldn’t look at the broth–the feet look like human hands. UGH!

    So I use wings. I’m amazed at just how gelled my broth is. I usually use about 3 lbs of wings and a few chicken thighs. I like the meat in my soup. You can literally stand a big ladle in the resulting broth.

    OTOH, despite a lot of bones and cartilage, my attempts at beef broth have not yielded a good gel yet.

    If you want to become a broth afficianado, I can highly recommend an electric pressure cooker. Loan it up, press one button, walk away. You have beautiful broth in about an hour, but you can leave it all day if you like.

  10. I’ve tried making beef bone broth a couple of times and the taste was so horrible that I was unable to eat it. Sort of like eating your first grass fed beef but multiplied exponentially. Yuck!!

    Anyone else encounter this and find a way around it?

    1. I roast my bones before boiling, this ups the flavor. Use some marrow bones, lots of flavor in the marrow. At the initial boil, you must remove any scum that rises to top. All broth will taste like crap until it is properly salted, don’t skimp on the salt!

      1. Jim, I’d just like to point out that salt is a flavor enhancer, not a flavor. If the broth has no flavor to begin with, all you will be tasting is salt, no matter how much you pour in. Good broth made with bone-in meat, veggies, and herbs doesn’t really require much salt.

      2. Yes, when in doubt add salt. Fish sauce, anchovy paste and dark miso are also helpful.

        I like parsley stems, carrot peelings, onion & leek trimmings for beef, no celery. I think the celery gives it a kind of metallic taste. It’s fine in chicken broth, though. Go figure.

    2. I agree with the other suggestions — I usually just add a small amount of Better Than Bouillon and a splash of red wine, which both greatly improve the taste and add lots of complexity.

      If you still can’t get past the taste, collagen hydrolysate from Great Lakes Gelatin might be a good alternative. It’s tasteless and texture-less and mixes well into almost anything. My post-lift drink is usually a few scoops of whey protein and some collagen, mixed with coconut water. I feel noticeably better combining these, which might be due to the glycine bringing the amino acid content into better balance, or maybe just better digestion from less whey!

      1. Better than Bouillon is full of MSG and other neuro excitotoxins. If your own stock comes out humble, better to enhance it with a well prepared purchased one; without hydrolyzed yeast extract.

    3. Please discover the miracle that is oxtail. Take your 3 lbs. of bones, toss in an onion cut in half, 2 stalks celery & 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Then add 3/4 pound oxtail.

      Your life will be changed. The oxtail meat is also delish. 😉

      1. And more expensive than ribeye when last I looked. At least around here.

      2. Oxtail stew is wonderful and a staple in my house through out the winer. And unlike other cuts (for a change) it isn’t expensive. I brown the pieces, put in a cast-iron pot, add some chopped carrots, parsnips root and celery root, a couple bay leaves, peppercorns and half a glass of red wine, let the alcohol evaporate, cover with water and cook over slow heat for about two hours and until the liquid reduces.

        The omission of vinegar from bones soup came as a surprise; comes to show that 1. one must always be vigilant and 2. That life is a constant learning curve …..and I am no spring chicken ????

  11. Been hearing about fish head broth, for the thyroid. I haven’t made any, but I do live in trout country. Any one have knowledge in this?

    1. I quite frequently make fish head broth. Its good. VERY gelatinous. Take the gills out first as they can give an off taste.

      Use the backs too if you keep them.

      I’ve never made broth with freshwater fish, but I’m assuming its the same.

  12. I generally make two, maybe three batches of broth from the same chicken carcass.

    After the last trip through the pressure cooker blitz the hell out of the bones and strain it to get rid of the big bits that didn’t break down. Add it back to your weak broth (you can boil it down to concentrate the flavor) and you will have a thicker, tastier, mineral rich broth/gravy. Also cuts down on waste.

    I tend to use this thickened broth for sauces and save the first batch for soups and drinking.

    1. Also using a chicken carcass – I’d slow cook a free range chicken from Trader Joe’s and then use all the non-meat pieces to make the broth. Anything wrong with this method?

      1. That’s good household management. ????

        Don’t buy chicken parts to make broth, use the carcass after you’ve eaten the meat.

        If you happen upon necks or backs or feet or gizzards of clean poultry at your co-op or market then certainly buy them if you want, but broth, at least poultry broth, should be an essentially free food. That is, using what you would otherwise throw away.

        Because so little beef is sold on the bone in the market anymore, that’s an entirely different story. Unless you are butchering your own beef or buying locker beef from a farmer you are unlikely to have access to bones without buying them especially for stock. Even buying locker beef you will probably need to request bones to get them.

      2. Speaking of good household management. . .

        Keep a stock baggie in your freezer. Veggie trimmings & herb stems go into that for stock. Don’t add brassicas and you might not want to add peppers, depends on your personal taste.

        Another stock baggie for meat trimmings and bones is good. If you cut gristle out of beef before cooking, stick it in there. Throw in porkchop bones, poultry bones, skin and fat. When your bag fills up make stock.

        1. I have been doing that for years, too, Andrea! And when I make stock, and do not want to use it immediately, I cook it down to demi-glace, and freeze it in an old ice cube tray. That way it takes up less space in the freezer!

  13. Bone broth is the best. I like to use those little lamb t-bones after grilling and enjoying the two little meat bits. It makes a thick gel but it is too gamey to savor on its own. I use it as a base for curry with coconut milk and pureed kabocha squash. One other trick when making chicken stock is to take the stick blender to the bits of skin and cartilage that don’t fully dissolve. Fish broth from the head and bones is great too. Most people just throw it away.

  14. I’ve made bone broth from venison bones many times, and I find it more delicious to sip in a mug than beef broth. A pinch of salt and it is perfect for a cold afternoon of whatever outdoor activity is on your agenda. Beef broth can be too rich or too… something, but venison has enough flavor to keep life more exciting than “chicken stock again” but isn’t so gamey as to be off-putting. It’s my favorite of the four I make (turkey, chicken, beef, venison).

  15. Bone broth comes highly recommended in AIP circles, because of its gut-healing properties. I therefore tried it with great hope … BUT: It resulted in the most severe headache imaginable, including vomiting, that lasted for a whole day. Since I had a similar reaction to Chinese food a few months before, I did some research and found that people CAN have an equally severe reaction to the glutamine in bone broth as to MSG. From what I can tell, it happens when the glutamine converts to glutamate in your body, which excites neurons, and for some people that is a highway to hell. My question is if you have run across this dilemma before, Mark? As far as I can tell there is only way to address it, and that is – as beneficial as it otherwise sounds – to stay away from it if you find it triggers this reaction in you.

    1. You should should be okay with meat stock and gelatine.

      Obviously, everyone is different but I too can’t eat any MSG but I’m okay with meat stock and gelatine. I’ve never tried bone broth, though.

    2. Timing is important here. I believe the levels of histamine and glutamine rise as a broth is cooked longer. It may be worth some experimentation.

      I find I get a very histamine-y response in a 24 hour broth, but seem to tolerate a 12 hour one fine.

  16. “So, when the vinegar brings out the calcium, is it changed to something other than calcium and not as helpful to us?”

    Nope. Calcium is an element, and cannot be changed from Calcium into something else via chemical reaction. It can however, be changed into a different mineral through chemical reactions, but no matter the end result the Calcium will still be Calcium.

  17. When you boil to the point that your water is cloudy white and bones are soft is it safe to say that the water is calcium rich?

    1. There isn’t actually a great deal of calcium in a bone broth (I have had a few batches analysed at a food laboratory, and my results seemed to tally with others online).

      But the little bit of calcium that is present is in a highly bioavailable form, and is presented with nutrient co-factors that promote a good mineral balance.

      The form and origin of calcium has been greatly underrated in our current reductionist nutritionism approach to dietary recommendations, which has shifted the focus entirely onto quantity. Much as I love the odd bit of cheese, the dairy industry, along with companies producing supplements, have had altogether too much influence over public health messages.

      In summary – don’t worry too much about the minerals – just eat real food.

      1. I have never been one to worry about calcium, but I also don’t buy into the “just eat real food” nonsense. Being deliberate about getting certain micro-nutrients is important when addressing overall health. I do believe the RDA for calcium is much higher than it should but at the same time I know that my one and four year old’s bodies do need lots of calcium in their growing states.

    2. Not really. But what IS getting pulled out of the bones is the collagen, which is more important. Bones are more than 90% collagen, with calcium and other minerals adding rigidity. The collagen, or gelatin, once it is cooked, is what your body uses to build a scaffold for all tissue building. When you are getting your gelatin/collagen from bones and other body parts, it comes along with traces of the minerals, which helps your body use it effectively. But most broth cannot pull out much of the calcium. This is not usually a problem – you get lots of dietary calcium in meats, leafy greens, and other foods.

  18. I usually use Chicken, Duck, or Rabbit Bones, Rabbit makes a delicious broth!

  19. I make bone broth every other week as our grass-fed cow and pork provider gives us all the extra bones for free. We have a mug every morning – it’s so warm and comforting in the morning and serves as a mini-breakfast. If we’re feeling run down I add a raw garlic clove. A couple time-saving tips I use:
    1. Make sure to roast the bones first for better flavor, but if they’re frozen, you don’t have to defrost first – just throw them in the oven at 425 for a while until browned.
    2. I keep a bag of carrots and celery in the freezer so I always have them on hand to throw in the stock.
    3. I’ve often mixed types of bones – chicken with pork or beef, and it still tastes awesome. I add a big glug of vinegar.
    4. I simmer for 2 days – I do notice that the bones dissolve a bit into the broth, so I feel like I’m getting access to the bones’ nutrients.
    5. When I go to put it in the fridge, to cool it off faster I add a few handfuls of ice cubes. The broth is plenty concentrated so it doesn’t water down the taste at all.
    6. I end up with broth that is so gelatinous that it’s almost completely solid like jello!

    1. I agree with all these tips, and thought I would add a few of my own. I make a batch every couple weeks, and store it in containers in the freezer. Various sizes for various uses. I always label them with the type and date (beef 4/15 or Pho 8/14)
      7. Keep the temp low, just up to a low low boil every few hours to keep it hot, but NEVER do I let broth come to a full boil anymore. The heat breaks down the gelatins I think. (Read it somewhere and seems to be true)
      8. I love the flavor of veggies in beef bone broth, but have found through trial and error that they get bitter if they are in there the whole time. I will usually add an onion or two with the meat and let cook 24-36 hours. (And 8-12 peppercorns) The last morning I add carrots, celery, leeks, a big slab of seaweed, couple Roma tomatoes, garlic cloves… whatever, and let it simmer that day. Strain it that afternoon or evening and cool overnight. The next morning the fat can be removed, if you wish, and the broth divided into containers.
      9. For chicken broth, I usually don’t bother cooking a full two days, doesn’t seem to add much, a full day or an overnight is fine. Veggies and all, right from the start.
      10. A fun (if weird) gift for someone who looks at you askansk when you mention bone broth, is a starter Baggie. In a gallon ziploc add in all your washed up veggies, cut up a bit (one white and one red onion, with skins, 4 carrots, 4 celery stalks, 4 halved roma’s, 4 garlic cloves, a leek) Add in a pound of chicken gizzards, a pound of thighs and a pound of wings. Peppercorns, tablespoon salt. Zip it up and freeze it. You can make up two or three baggies pretty easily at the same time and either gift them or keep them for a very low maintainance batch in a couple weeks. Cut the bag open and put the whole dang thing in a stock pot and add water. (About a gallon) Bam.
      11. Pho broth, yum!! Follow rule 8 above but on the last day add onions, celery, carrots, a full palm of ginger, cut in half, (roasting the onions, carrots and ginger first will increase the flavor) one anise pod, half a cinnamon stick, several cardamom pods, several cloves garlic and the juice of one lime. Let simmer a full day and strain and cool overnight. There are lots of pho recipes out there, but starting with good pho broth is the key to all of them!
      Enjoy everyone!! I’m so excited to try red wine venison bone broth. I love this MDA community.

      1. ooh I love your tips! Thank you! And pho! Brilliant! Love pho and it’s never occurred to me to make pho broth – definitely doing that next time! Am saving this whole post.

  20. Love having a new bone broth article to pass along to others—thank you!

    In Chinese Medicine, we consider bone broth a way to extract the deeper “essence” of animals so it can be easily digested. The idea is that it nourishes us at the deepest level—supporting our bones, joints, marrow, brain, kidneys and reproductive system, in particular.

    We also use different bones for different reasons. Beef bones, for instance, are more grounding and supportive of overall health. Chicken bones are more warming and stimulate the immune system. Fish bones produce a wonderful tonic that’s especially helpful on the reproductive-system level. Various shells offer other effects (oyster shell is grounding and calming, for instance).

    At clinic, when we can get patients to start making their own broth and eating it on a regular basis, they’re nearly always excited about the results. In particular, we recommend it to people who need to restore a messed up gut and digestive system…and to people who are generally tired, depleted, worn out and such. Bone broth really gets to the “root” of what’s going on…healing at a deep level.

  21. From my own experience, bone broth made from DEER BONES is the BEST!

  22. I just Dutch-ovened a chicken last night, removed the meat, and added the bones and skin to my crockpot. I filled the crockpot with water about an inch or so below the top. Planning about 24 hours on low. After I store that broth, would I be able to add more water and get some more broth out?
    I guess I’m wondering how much bone broth I could get out of a 4 lb chicken.
    Thanks pals

    1. I use the crockpot for chicken broth too… I buy two roast chickens, pull off the meat and bag it for the fridge and freezer (ok, I actually just eat a lot of it), then stuff both carcasses (skin and bones) into a regular-sized crockpot, along with all the drippings from the container (that I don’t eat lol). I cook for three days… progammable crockpot on high for 6-8 hours, then turn off overnight, repeat twice more. It is done when all that’s left is dry brittle bones. Don’t ever take the top off (we don’t want any bacteria in there). Result is amazingly thick and delicious, and yes, it’s concentrated enough to reconstitute with more water when used, but I usually just cook some water-emitting fresh vegetables in there for a rich soup or stew. The fact that you can store smaller containers in the freezer is a nice bonus.

      1. I think turning it off overnight is a risky thing to do. Not opening it will not prevent bacterial growth. My crockpot certainly isn’t airtight by any means.

        1. Good point. I guess it’s just one of those risks we decide to take or not. For me, the key is to start with fresh (that day) fully-cooked chickens and to set the crockpot on high.

          I’ve been doing this for years and never had a problem, but I totally agree that starting with raw meat and/or cooking on low would be… well … not smart.

          To answer Drewski’s question more directly, in my experience adding more water to a single carcass is going to result in too-weak broth. Once my teenage daughter drank a fair amount of the in-process broth and added more water to hide the fact (teens, gotta love em), pretty much ruining the rest of the batch.

        2. Airtight is not absolutely necessary. Leaving the lid undisturbed is, however. Bacteria would have to FALL into the broth. The lid prevents that, and keeps your broth from getting inoculated with bacteria.

  23. If you consume enough natural vitamin K2 from ferments, then whatever the amount of daily injested calcium would be, it is ensured to be properly directed to the bones.
    No need to leach the calcium forcefully.
    Also acid broths require a special cookware that doesn’t leach metals.

  24. I am new to this. I want to try by purchasing first as I don’t eat beef or chicken (yet). Could you recommend a ready made brand to try?

    Thanks for sharing your passion and expertise of wellness.

  25. I cook my chicken in the crockpot (nothing added, it sits on 3 crimpled foil pieces) and the resulting liquid is given to my dogs with their meals over the next couple of days. I have 2 small dogs. That liquid gells in the fridge.

    For my cooking uses, I simmer 12 hours with some veggies. While it’s more liquid than solid/gell, it still works pretty well.

    Perhaps my dogs get the better part, but they need good stuff too.

  26. Your local Game and Fish should be able to test a deer for chronic wasting disease. Ours do upon request here in Wyoming.

  27. What’s the reason behind roasting bones before boiling them up? Is it just to draw out the flavour? The only time I use roasted bones for broth is when I’ve roasted a chicken. Otherwise, I just toss the raw chicken carcass / lamb joints / beef bones into a pot with the base vegetables and simmer for about 3 hours.

    1. Speaking as an ex-chef, the reason is to change the flavor and color of the stock. Browning the bones gives you a browner stock, and a “roasted” flavor. It comes from the caramelization of the sugars in the meat and bones.
      However, from a health standpoint, you are probably better off NOT roasting the bones, since that subjects them to pretty high temperatures.

      1. Ah, thanks, Marg, that’s brilliant – advice from professionals is so appreciated! 🙂

  28. I used beef shin bone to make a broth and after a few hours I recognised a smell from my childhood – neatsfoot oil! A leather-softening oil my mum used to use on saddlery.

    Quick Google turns up that animals with “thin shins” (i.e. the muscles are not on the leg, but up in the body and operate the limbs by tendon) have a special oil instead of normal body fat in their shins. It stays liquid at low temperature because the legs don’t stay as warm as the rest of their body.

    Very interesting, but the smell of broth made from the top of femur was nicer!

  29. Interesting about the ph requirements of the liquid. Isn’t stomach acid ph low enough to fulfil this? I mean that requires eating the bones but I do that after cooking them for long enough anyway.

    I’m too lazy personally to make seperate stock so I just continually throw the bones from previous meals in with the next. Eventually they crumble to dust.

  30. Is it possible to buy good-quality broth from the store, an online supplier, etc? I’d love to let someone with more expertise, tools, free time, etc take care of actually making it!

    1. More specifically, I should’ve asked if any MDA members have had good luck with buying broth from the store or online.

  31. I absolutely haven’t been able to stomach any of my attempts at fish broth. Just yuk! They smell and taste nasty. No more attempts for me.

    My bone broths always work well and all but one batch have been rich and gelatinous… I add chicken feet which I think helps alot.

    One question I have, if you use marrow bones how do you not lose all the good stuff when you scrape off the layer of fat on the top of your chilled broth? (I tried to eat it without scraping it off and felt sick after – too much fat I think). Seems to me if you specifically use marrow bones you’re going to lose all your marrow.

    I also like to add in my chickens eggs shells on occasion. They’re free range and as organic as I can realistically make them… I figure this could add some minerals and calcium – do you agree?

    1. If you MUST scrape the fat off, save it separately. Use the fat from the top of your stock for sautéing. Remember that the fat holds all those fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, and helps your body absorb them. And there are essential fatty acids in it that your body needs to build cells….

  32. I have been making bone broth (or stock) all my life without knowing it! Just to make delicious soups and sauces.
    I have always saved the bones from meats in my freezer, until I have enough for a big pot of stock. I always add onion, celery, and carrots, and a few herbs. I cover everything generously with water, bring it to a boil, let it sit, bring it back to a boil when I have the chance, etc. for a day or two, and, voila, stock!
    I think the controversy about what is in the stock is pointless. We all can tell that the collagen in the joints, bones, and other tissues is pulled into the stock. That is what makes it gelatinous. (Collagen and gelatin are chemically pretty close…) However, stock tastes meaty and delicious, whereas gelatin is flavorless. I say that is your evidence that vitamins and minerals are present, whether they are in high concentration or not. And many of these vitamins or minerals are important in trace amounts anyway. Stock, or bone broth is great!

  33. I make bone broth regularly, mostly from chicken. The other broths I include are beef, lamb, and yak. Lamb ribs create a very gelatinous broth. Yak is like no other, everything feels good after drinking yak broth. We drink a warm cup each morning, though I like the idea before bed, going to try that.

  34. Animals contain (small amounts, but still some) PUFA. I think especially chicken is reach in them. Will they not oxidize or rot when they are cooked for long hours? Is it safe to eat such fat then?
    Thanks for any clues.

  35. I used the turkey bones leftover from Christmas lunch which I boiled for 12 hours to make a broth . It was the best tasting, gelatinous broth I have ever made. It will be hard to go back to beef bones after tasting this!

  36. Thanks for the enlightening post, Mark! Question about marrow: should I let the marrow simmer in the broth for as long as the other parts of the bones? I’ve heard the marrow is highly nutritious but that it’s fats are delicate (prone to oxidation with long application of heat) – are the nutrients extracted from it into the broth? Would then eating the slow-cooked marrow do more harm than good due to oxidized delicate fats? Thanks in advance!

  37. Hi Mark! I’m a little late to the party on this subject, but I have a question. We regularly cook whole chickens in the crock pot. We eat the meat, feed it to our 2 dogs, and strain the bone broth for later use: soup, for the dogs, sauces, etc. My question is, does cooking in the crock pot harm the nutrient value of the meat or broth due to length of cooking time? Is enough leeched from the bones or should I be adding vinegar? Is there something better/different I should be doing with the chickens to maximize the value? Thanks! 🙂

  38. I’m wondering the same thing as Madeleine: Should I let the marrow simmer in the broth for as long as the other parts of the bones? If so, won’t that destroy many of the nutritious benefits of marrow? And if left in, since marrow is mostly fat, it will rise to the top. And I read that people skim off the fat and discard it. That seems like a waste. Also, does the fat have to be skimmed off, or can it be left in and drunk with the broth?

    To me, it would make more sense to remove the marrow from the bones before making the bone broth, and then eat the nutritious marrow as unadulterated as possible.

  39. I’ve been making bone broth for many years – beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, and different combinations of these. Lamb and chicken together is delicious. For turkey bb i used 2 big drumsticks and it jelled perfectly. My last batch of beef bone broth was a bit strange. I used marrow bones and also brisket bones – BIG MISTAKE. Brisket bones – they’re the breast bone with ribs of bone and cartilage. While the broth itself gelled up incredibly well, it contained small globules of what I thought was marrow but wasn’t. In my mouth was the most disgusting sensation – slimy gritty stuff. Yuk!! After considerable questioning with a couple of butchers we discovered that the little white very porous bones I found after straining the bb must’ve been where the cartilage starts to becomes rib bone as I could scrape it with my finger and make more of those yukky little globules. The strained broth was great, but those mucousy bone-grit things just about made me throw up. Has anyone else had that experience? And Dear Mark thank you for all your info and all the other comments that are so helpful. Happy BB’ing everyone 🙂