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Old 06-21-2007, 09:11 PM   #1
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Beef Stock 101 - long, lots of pics

Ok, here's how I make Beef Stock:

I went and bought about 10 lbs. of beef knuckles from a local Chinese grocery store, which is the only place I can seem to find them around here. I paid about $1.00 / pound for them. Here they are before I roasted them.



Here's the other ingredients that I used to roast the bones with. Unfortunately, I didn't have any carrots at the time I roasted everything, or I would have put them in as well. I roasted the bones for an hour total before mixing with some mirepoix. It fact, the first hour was at 350 degrees F, but they bones weren't caramelizing enough for me, so I increased the temp to 400 degrees F.



Ok, after the first hour of roasting, I mixed the onions, celery, and tomato paste with the bones, and put them back into the oven to caramelize the mirepoix. I think I roasted that mix for 45 minutes, but I forgot to record that. However, I will tell you that I should have either roasted at a higher temperature, or roasted longer, as my beef bones just weren't as caramelized as I would have liked. I think that's because this is really the first time I've used bones this large.



I ended up cooking my stock for 30 hours. Normally, I go 36 hours. However, I got called in to work on my last day off, so I had to finish it off earlier than I wanted. Here's the stock, before I strained it. It's hard to tell in this pic, but that layer of fat is about an inch deep.



Ok, this is one pic, of two, that shows how long I cooked the bones. You'll notice that the marrow fell out of the bone. Also, most of the meat, cartiliage, and other tissues have cooked away.



Here's side two of the same bone. This is part of the femur, and is actually the hip joint. I was going to try to show how this bone will fall apart when it's cooked long enough. Another six hours and it should have happened. Basically, the rounded surface, even though it's solid bone, will detach from the rest of the bone, like a fixed joint that separates. I've noticed this more with the knee joints than hip joints, so maybe this is the wrong bone to show. Unfortunately, I took this picture yesterday, and have since gotten rid of the bones.



Time to strain the stock. In this pic, I've already strained the stock out of my 22-qt stockpot, and into my 16-qt stockpot. This is easily accomplished with my "China Cap" strainer. This is a commercial product. The strainer itself is conical, and fits down into the pot. It's help up by the handle, and a hook on the other side. The pitcher on the right is full with about a quart of nothing but GREASE! After I strained the stock, I reduced it for 45 minutes, to concentrate it, so I don't completely fill up my freezers with stock.



And now it's time to chill it down. Luckily, my 16-qt stockpot just barely fits into my sink, and actually doesn't fit all the way down. This is a good thing. This means a little water will circulate under the pan, as well as around it. This helps the product chill down faster. I've also taken a 2-liter pop bottle, filled it with water, froze it, then plunged that straight into my stock. 2 gallons of boiling stock cooled down to 40 degrees F in 30 minutes. Here, you can see that fat that is starting to congeal on the surface.



I didn't take a pic after I removed the stock from the ice bath, but the majority of the fat in the stock congealed onto the 2-liter. Some of the fat was dispensed with the stock into ice cube trays and frozen. However, by the time I was ready to portion and freeze the last of the stock, all the grease had congealed and was removed from the stock. I won't need the gravy separator for a lot of my sauces this time around!

One more pic to post, but will have to do in the next post after this.

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Old 06-21-2007, 09:18 PM   #2
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Nice pics. Words, please.
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Old 06-21-2007, 09:43 PM   #3
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Are those beef knuckles? Where do you get them?
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Old 06-21-2007, 10:24 PM   #4
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Sorry folks. I hit the "Post" button after I got all the pics in. I had to edit it to get the text in, and while I was doing that, I got a phone call from my g'mother.

Ok, here's the last pic:



This is after the stock is removed from the ice cube trays. I now have two of these bags, full, plus a little more that needs to get packaged. As slowly as I use beef stock at home, this will probably last until this Fall or Winter, which is probably when I'll really start using it, as I don't do much with beef sauces in summer, as I'm always grilling.

skilletlicker, yes, those are beef knuckles. I got them at a Chinese grocery store nearby. It's the only place I can actually find these things, as the mainstream grocery stores don't even carry soup bones, and Oxtails are getting VERY expensive.
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Old 06-21-2007, 10:47 PM   #5
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Allen. Very good description and photos.

How much did you reduce the strained and defatted stock?
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Old 06-21-2007, 11:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenOK
skilletlicker, yes, those are beef knuckles. I got them at a Chinese grocery store nearby. It's the only place I can actually find these things, as the mainstream grocery stores don't even carry soup bones, and Oxtails are getting VERY expensive.
I haven't checked at the Chinese grocery. There is pretty good one nearby but it's tricky to shop at because it is usually staffed by one overworked person who doesn't speak English. When I need help I bring in a picture captioned with the name of the item in English and Chinese. Can anyone tell me if this 牛肉指关节 is Chinese for beef knuckle?

If anyone else can't find knuckles, which are meaty with alot of collagen and marrow, an alternative is a combination of shanks and feet. The feet are
very high in collagen and inexpensive, I recently paid 79 cents per pound.
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Old 06-21-2007, 11:29 PM   #7
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Not quite half. I didn't really measure it, but the 16 qt stockpot was a little more than half full, so I've probably got somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 qt or so of beef stock.
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Old 06-21-2007, 11:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenOK
Not quite half. I didn't really measure it, but the 16 qt stockpot was a little more than half full, so I've probably got somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 qt or so of beef stock.
I'm sorry to be so dense but does "not quite half" include the volume reduced by straining out the solids? If that is the 16 qt. in the picture it looks to have 12 or 13 qts. before straining.
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Old 06-22-2007, 09:32 AM   #9
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The pic with the "China Cap" strainer in the 16 qt stockpot (the blue one) is after it's been strained. In that particular pic, the stockpot is practically full.

Also, in the pic of the stock being chilled, the stockpot looks more full than it actually is from displacement by the 2-liter.
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Old 06-22-2007, 09:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllenOK
Sorry folks. I hit the "Post" button after I got all the pics in. I had to edit it to get the text in, and while I was doing that, I got a phone call from my g'mother.

Ok, here's the last pic:



This is after the stock is removed from the ice cube trays. I now have two of these bags, full, plus a little more that needs to get packaged. As slowly as I use beef stock at home, this will probably last until this Fall or Winter, which is probably when I'll really start using it, as I don't do much with beef sauces in summer, as I'm always grilling.

skilletlicker, yes, those are beef knuckles. I got them at a Chinese grocery store nearby. It's the only place I can actually find these things, as the mainstream grocery stores don't even carry soup bones, and Oxtails are getting VERY expensive.
That's awesome. Thanks so much for teaching me that one - if I use it in a recipe which I will soon, I will make an ode to you hrhrhrhr.

By the way, that is cheap as chips! In the UK where I am, the same amount of beef would have cost around $35-$40... :(
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