How to Make Brown Beef Stock

Feb 3, 2015 by     2 Comments    Posted under: Cooking 101
Homemade Brown Beef Stock

Homemade Brown Beef Stock

Until recently, I haven’t really pursued making my own beef stock.  I’ve been making chicken stock for years, and I’ve always been tremendously pleased with how much better it tastes than store bought stock.  But when it came to beef broth, I always just reached for the box in the pantry.  So when I picked up my quarter of local farmed beef this year, I took a big bag of bones home with me, determined to try my hand at making traditional brown beef stock.  How is it that such simple things like this bring me such joy in life?

What’s the Difference Between Brown Stock and White Stock?

When it comes to making beef stock, it’s important to know that there are different kinds of stocks you can make; namely white stocks, brown stocks, and fumets.  White stock is made by simmering bones and meat in water with celery, onion, carrots (called a mirepoix), and whatever flavoring agents you like (peppercorns, herbs, bay leaf, etc.).  It’s what you make when you make chicken stock.  Brown Stocks are made by browning bones in the oven first, as well as browning the mirepoix in some fat, before simmering in water.  This browning process results in a rich brownish color.  Fumets are made by sweating all the main ingredients before simmering, often with the addition of a dry white wine.

When I first made beef stock, I ended up making white stock, following the same steps of making chicken broth.  My white beef stock worked well enough for basic flavor boosting techniques (adding broth to rice or potatoes when cooking for extra flavor), but missed the mark for rich gravies and soups.  I wanted the rich brown stuff sold in the stores.  I wanted brown beef stock.  So this go around, I cranked up the oven and went to work.

Where to Get Beef Bones

Most people don’t make beef stock anymore because they don’t have easy access to beef bones.  It’s easy to save bones and scrap chicken meat (unless all you ever do is buy boneless skinless breasts), but beef bones are another story.  If you have the luxury of living close enough to cattle ranches to buy a beef from, make sure to take the free bones from your beef along with your meat.  If you live in an area that has local butchers, you will have an endless supply of bones available to purchase from them.  But if you live in a major metro area, you may have to search a little harder.  However, I occasionally see beef “soup” bones being sold in grocery stores, so I’m confident anyone that wants too can get their hands on some bones.

When choosing your bones, try to pick ones with some meat and sinew on them.  Most bones are stripped pretty clean these days for burger, but do your best.  The meat will add additional flavor to your broth.  Bones from younger animals contain more gelatin than older animal bones, so will result in a fuller bodied stock.  Chose knuckle, back, and neck bones for best results (though any will ultimately do), and request your bones to be cut into 3-inch pieces.  3-inches will allow the bones to cook faster as well as give better extraction of the gelatin, flavor, and nutrients.

Homemade Brown Stock Recipe

The following is a traditional French brown beef/veal stock.  It is delicious!  Far superior to any store-bought stock I’ve ever tasted.  Its color is a rich dark golden brown, and its texture is thick and velvety smooth.  I encourage you to make it exactly as shown for your first go around before modifying with mushrooms or different herbs.  But the beauty of stock is that you ultimately are free to use whatever you have on hand to make a flavorful base stock.

Beef Bones for Stock

Beef Bones for Stock

  • 2 fluid ounces vegatable/canola oil, or as needed
  • 8 pounds beef/veil bones, including knuckles and trim
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound large-diced onion
  • 1/4 pound large-diced carrot
  • 1/4 pound large-diced celery
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 parsley stems
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
  • 1 garlic glove

Preheat oven to 425°.  Add the oil to a roasting or jelly pan large enough to hold all the bones.  Place pan in oven until oil is hot.  Remove pan from oven, swirl oil throughout the pan, and place the bones on the pan.

Beef Bones Ready for Roasting

Beef Bones Ready for Roasting

Return to oven and roast the bones, stirring and turning every 10 minutes or so, until they are deep brown in color, roughly 30-45 minutes.

Roasting Beef Bones

Roasting Beef Bones

Turn Bones While Roasting

Turn Bones While Roasting

Roasted Bones

Roasted Bones

Transfer the bones to a stockpot and add all but 1 cup of the cold water.  Deglaze the roasting pan with the remaining 1 cup of water, scraping all the brown bits off the roasting pan, and add to the stockpot with the bones.  Add the salt.  Bring the stock to a simmer slowly over low heat, adjusting the heat if needed to maintain an even, gentle simmer for 5-hours.  Skim off surface foam as necessary.

Place Bones in Stock Pot

Place Bones in Stock Pot

Scrape Fond from Pan

Scrape Fond from Pan

Add Fond to Stock

Add Fond to Stock

Cover Bones with Cold Water to Simmer

Cover Bones with Cold Water to Simmer

While stock is simmering, heat a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add some oil to the pan, then add the mirepoix and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown, roughly 15-20 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the paste becomes a rusty brown color and gives off a sweet aroma, roughly 2-3 minutes.  Add a few ladles of the stock (or additional water) and stir well to release the fond from the pan.  Add this mixture to the stock after the stock has simmered for about 5 hours.

Saute Mirepoix

Saute Mirepoix

Browned Mirepoix

Browned Mirepoix

Add Tomato Paste to Browned Mirepoix

Add Tomato Paste to Browned Mirepoix

Mirepoix after Tomato Paste has Browned

Mirepoix after Tomato Paste has Browned

Mirepoix After Pan is Deglazed

Mirepoix After Pan is Deglazed

Add the parsley stems, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, and garlic to the stock at the same time as the cooked mirepoix.  (you can wrap the herbs in cheese cloth with butcher twine for easier removal later if you’d like, though everything will be strained later anyway.)

Add Mirepoix and Herbs to Stock

Add Mirepoix and Herbs to Stock

Continue to simmer the stock, skimming as necessary and tasting the stock from time to time, until it has developed a rich flavor and a noticeable body, about 1 hour more.

Simmer Beef Stock

Simmer Beef Stock

Strain the stock in a large colander set in a large bowl.  Do a second straining through a fine mesh strainer to create a very clean stock.  Allow to cool to room temperature, then place in refrigerator to cool.  Once completely cooled, the fat should congeal on the surface.  Remove the fat and discard, saving the delicious stock in the bowl.  Refrigerate for up to a week, using as needed for soups, gravies, risotto, etc.

Strain Beef Stock

Strain Beef Stock

Strain Beef Stock a Second Time

Strain Beef Stock a Second Time

Refrigerate Stock to Skim Fat

Refrigerate Stock to Skim Fat

Homemade Brown Beef Stock2

Homemade Brown Beef Stock2

The completed stock will be rich, full bodied, and velvety smooth.  Mine was so flavorful, I could have thinned it out with a few cups of water and still had a better than store bought broth.  But instead, I made a big pot of beef and barley soup with it straight up.  Best beef and barley soup I’ve had in a long long while.

Beef and Barley Soup from Homemade Beef Stock

Beef and Barley Soup from Homemade Beef Stock

How to Make Brown Beef Stock
 
The following is a traditional French brown beef/veal stock. It is delicious! Far superior to any store-bought stock I’ve ever tasted. Its color is a rich dark golden brown, and its texture is thick and velvety smooth. I encourage you to make it exactly as listed before modifying with mushrooms or different herbs. But the beauty of stock is that you ultimately are free to use whatever you have on hand to make a flavorful base stock.
Author:
Servings: 12 cups

Ingredients
  • 2 fluid ounces vegatable/canola oil, or as needed
  • 8 pounds beef/veil bones, including knuckles and trim
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ pound large-diced onion
  • ¼ pound large-diced carrot
  • ¼ pound large-diced celery
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 parsley stems
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
  • 1 garlic glove

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Add the oil to a roasting or jelly pan large enough to hold all the bones. Place pan in oven until oil is hot.
  3. Remove pan from oven, swirl oil throughout the pan, and place the bones on the pan. Return to oven and roast the bones, stirring and turning every 10 minutes or so, until they are deep brown in color, roughly 30-45 minutes.
  4. Transfer the bones to a stockpot and add all but 1 cup of the cold water.
  5. Deglaze the roasting pan with the remaining 1 cup of water, scraping all the brown bits off the roasting pan, and add to the stockpot with the bones. Add the salt.
  6. Bring the stock to a simmer slowly over low heat, adjusting the heat if needed to maintain an even, gentle simmer for 5-hours, skimming off surface foam as necessary.
  7. While stock is simmering, heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add some oil to the pan, then add the mirepoix and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown, roughly 15-20 minutes. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the paste becomes a rusty brown color and gives off a sweet aroma, roughly 2-3 minutes. Add a few ladles of the stock (or additional water) and stir well to release the fond from the pan. Add this mixture to the stock after the stock has simmered for about 5 hours.
  8. Add the parsley stems, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, and garlic to the stock at the same time as the cooked mirepoix. (you can wrap the herbs in cheese cloth with butcher twine for easier removal later if you’d like, though everything will be strained later anyway.)
  9. Continue to simmer the stock, skimming as necessary and tasting the stock from time to time, until it has developed a rich flavor and a noticeable body, about 1 hour more.
  10. Strain the stock in a large colander set in a large bowl. Do a second straining through a fine mesh strainer to create a very clean stock.
  11. Allow to cool to room temperature, then place in refrigerator to cool.
  12. Once completely cooled, the fat should congeal on the surface. Remove the fat and discard, saving the delicious stock in the bowl.
  13. Refrigerate for up to a week, using as needed for soups, gravies, risotto, etc.

2 Comments + Add Comment

  • I need to try this.

    I can’t remember if I ever shared with you the process I learned in Vietnam for making beef pho broth. It’s a bit less involved than this recipe, but anyway you’d use them for different things.

    • Yes, it was a fun process. As for the pho, you did email your notes on beef pho (thank you!). You only sent a recipe for chicken pho from that class you went to in Vietnam, but I think that’s all you had. I have an oxtail in my freezer from our beef as well, and guess what my plans are with it? …….

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I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.