We love meat – we really love lamb and beef. We used to eat mainly steak (Hmmm – a good ribeye!) and roasts and Gavin loves turn a good slab of London Broil into Biltong, which is a South African dried meat akin to jerky. We had not really thought beyond that when it came to use use of beef – that is until we read Deep Nutrition. In Deep Nutrition Dr Cate Shanahan identifies the four pillars of nutrition common to traditional cultures across the world and so began our exploration of all the is beef beyond just the muscle meat ie. a good steak.
Our first step was to try and find more meat on the bone which proved more challenging that one might think and still is. Cuts like O-Bone and Oxtail are not readily available – we’ve sourced these cuts directly from farms like Scott River Ranch and have been trying to find an easy way to get bone-in cuts locally. We were beyond excited when our local Jimbos started having Oxtail, Short Ribs and Back Ribs available on a pretty regular basis. We still need to find a local source for O-Bone roasts which other than Oxtail and Osso Buco is our favorite bone-in cut. If you haven’t tried one yet you owe it to yourself to find one.
Beef Bone Broth / Stock
Once we started eating more bone-in cuts of beef we now had a steady supply of bones and so the next step was to try making some bone broth or stock. The list of reasons to do this are numerous and already much blogged about. Our guest video blog on Functional Patterns describes some of the benefits. There are many broth recipes online and various theories (to skim or not to skim the skum) and personal methodologies for getting the best broth.
Through trial and error we have found a system that works for us which we demonstrate in the video. We do not skim and we do not add vegetables because we found they tended to get overcooked and make the broth bitter. Also, we like to turn some of our broth into bouillon so the vegetables are not really necessary.
We use the term broth and stock interchangeably but if you really want to get technical, a stock will be completely strained leaving only a clear liquid whereas a broth will typically include some bits of meat, marrow etc and can be used as a light soup.
The reasons not to use store-bought broth are not only that they are typically loaded with questionable ingredients but that they are also typically packaged in containers lined with BPA (bisphenol-A).
The fat from any ruminant animal (cow, lamb, sheep or goat) is called tallow. Tallow is a wonderful fat for cooking, frying and deep frying because it is extremely stable fat, due to it’s high degree of saturation and has a high smoke point due to the low level of polyunsaturdated fatty acids. Saturated fats like tallow are important to ensure that calcium can be effectively assimilated into bones and skeletal structure so it is a good complement to bone stock/broth. ‘Nourishing Traditions’ (Weston A. Price Foundation President, Sally Fallon Morrell) There is a high concentration of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) in beef tallow which research has shown can be a potent cancer fighting addition to your meals.
One of Gavin’s standard additions to any meal he is making has always been a stock cube or two or three. When we started becoming more aware of ingredients in everything we soon realized that most store-bought stock cubes are loaded with MSG (monosodium glutamate) so we looked for an alternative and settled on ‘Better Than Bouillon’ which had a list of ingredients that seemed pretty benign if not entirely beneficial – that was until we read a post at FoodRenegade.com decoding the ingredients. We discovered that it does in fact contain MSG so it was relegated to our No-No list. Fortunately we quickly realized that we could use some of our bone broth to make our own bouillon and it is fantastic.
We eat a bone-in slow cooked roast or stew at least once a week so we always freeze the bones if we are not going to make stock immediately and then dig them out when we need them – that way we can always have a supply of stock, tallow and bouillon.