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How to Make Beef Bone Broth!

I love my life!

If you’ve been reading my blog the past few months, you know that I’m a huge fan of the book Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Foods by Dr. Cate and Luke Shanahan.

I liked it so much that the Shanahans came all the way to San Diego to hang out and show me how to make Brown Beef Stock.

The stock is loaded with glycosaminoglycans, which are phenomenal for healing and building up collagen. If you have aches and pains, you gotta prepare this recipe!

I had Luke send over a list of the ingredients, as well as the instructions. Check them out below and watch the step-by-step video we put together.

Let us know how yours turns out!


* grass fed soup bones and a joint bone (knee or other joint) w/ some meat on them (2-3 lbs)
* 2 12 oz. cans of tomato puree
* 1 small can tomato puree
* celery, 6 stalks
* onions, 2-3
* carrots, 5 medium-large
* fresh parsley
* bay leaves
* fresh thyme
* black peppercorns
* 2 or 3 cloves
* red wine, nothing labeled “cooking wine,” inexpensive but drinkable
* sea salt
* olive oil
* flour, 1 tbsp
* cold, filtered water, about 3 gal


Step 1) Lightly coat bones and meat trimmings with olive oil. Then rub tablespoon of tomato paste mixed with one tablespoon flour onto bones and roast alone in a large roasting pan for 30-40 mins at 400 f., or an hour at 350 f.

Step 2) Add lightly (olive) oiled mirepoix (rough cut onions, carrots, and celery) and continue roasting for another half hour (check color; caramelize, but don’t burn).

Step 4) Add the bones only to a large stock pot. Put the roasted vegetables aside and refrigerate. Add a cup of red wine, half a can of the tomato puree and enough cold water to cover bones plus one inch.

Step 5) Deglaze the hot roasting pan by pouring in some red wine or water to remove the nice caramelized drippings. (If you have the kind of pot you can put on the stovetop, you can get it a little hotter this way to aid deglazing.) Add this rich liquid (called “fond”) to the stock pot. That’s extra flavor!

Step 5) Heat stock at medium heat, stirring every few minutes and watching closely. Bring to a low, low simmer–but NEVER BOIL with the bones in the stock (as this extracts bitter proteins and clouds the finished stock).

Step 6) Low boil or steep at around 200 f. (just short of making boiling bubbles) for 12-24 hours, no more, no less. You can leave uncovered or partially covered. But never cover (as in seal, with no way for steam to escape) your stock when hot as doing so “sours” the stock. Every once in a while, use a slotted spoon to remove any scum that forms at the top of the liquid. That scum can make the stock bitter, so remove it every half an hour for the first few hours.

Step 7) For the last hour (or two) of low simmer, add those roasted veggies you put in the refrigerator. Throw the bay leaves and cloves in when you add the veggies. If your a fan of tomato (as I am), add another 12 ounce. can of tomato puree at this time if you’d like.

Step 8. For the last half an hour of the low simmer, toss in the fresh parsley (plenty, as in the full bunch) thyme (half as much as the parsley) and a flat tablespoon of peppercorns. (If you only have dry spices, you can steep them in the stock using one of those big tea balls, dangling it from the side of the pot by the chain a full hour before you take the stock off the heat.)

Step 9) Remove the dry herbs tea ball, if that’s what you used. Let the stock cool for a while on a cooling rack, until it’s cool enough to handle and strain. Strain through a fine wife mesh strainer into another big pot. (The bones are big and heavy, so you might want to remove those with big tongs or a solid slotted spoon before straining.) You can also use cheesecloth to strain, as Sean did so expertly when straining his chicken stock.

Step 10) Once the stock’s in the other pot, chill in an ice bath in the sink. Stir both the stock and the ice water to cool quickly. Once it’s at room temperature, put the stock into the refrigerator to chill.

Step 11) After it chills overnight, you’ll notice that the stock has formed a cap of fat on top. This can be as much as an inch thick. Remove this by cutting into quadrants with a knife and gently lifting it off of the gelatinous stock.

Step 12) If you like, reduce the stock by up to a half. Season with a little sea salt, but keep in mind that the more you further reduce, the saltier it will get–so under-season! You can always add more salt later. Now warm the stock for a couple minutes on the stove to make it easier to pour, and pour into little plastic or glass containers and store in the freezer for up to several months. I use painter’s tape to label the date of the stock, and the type of stock. Just remember to leave a little room to allow the freezing liquid to expand. Enjoy!




25 thoughts on “How to Make Beef Bone Broth!

  1. Luke Shanahan

    Ask your butcher, even if he or she works in a store. Purveyors of grass fed beef tend to be more willing to take these specific requests. They might say, “You mean you want a knuckle bone?” If they do, just say yes and see if they give you a joint. You can always ask them for any leg joint and see what they come up with.

    Oxtail is kind of pricey, but it has that good stuff you want as well and, if you get a few pounds of it, will add good gelatin and flavor to the stock. So, if you have a hard time finding a grass fed beef joint, use the oxtail.

    If the chilled stock thickens up in the fridge and wiggles like jello, then you can be sure you extracted plenty of joint-building, joint-repairing material. Enjoy!

  2. Geny

    Sean, another good one for making stock! You know, I love their book so much that I just ordered another book from your store to send to my aunt. Hopefully, she gets it soon. I’ll make this one as well and see how mine turns out. Your blog is awesome, thanks so much!! 🙂

  3. Luke Shanahan

    Hi Joe!

    I like to remove the fat so that the finished stock is a little cleaner and not so oily. Also, I like to use the stock to make a steak sauce, a kind of demi-glace, a simple reduction which I finish by “mounting” butter (adding butter to the finished sauce just before serving). If I didn’t remove the fat (which, by the way, collects some of the impurities and bitter components in from the stock as it forms), the finished demi would be too fatty for my taste.

    I don’t toss the fat, though. When I make the occasional batch of French fries (Bourdain’s books have a great recipe), I often add the beef fat to the frying oil (peanut oil–NEVER vegetable oil, of course).

    But hey, Sean and his crew finished off the chicken stock the night he made it, fat and all, and said they loved it. So it definitely boils down, pun intended, to what you like. Try both ways: Leave the fat in one time, then take it out the next. Add fresh spices early in the boiling process, then try my method of adding them in the last half hour. Trust your palate and your culinary senses. The best stock recipe is the one that you and your guests want to gulp down!

    Good question. Good luck!
    Luke Shanahan

    p.s. If you’d like the steak sauce recipe–as well as the #1 secret to making a perfect grass-fed steak–drop us a note through, and I’d be more than happy to set you up! Cheers!

  4. Joe

    Awesome! Thanks for the info. I was specifically curious about any nutrient content in the fat or is most of it in the stock itself. Any concentration of amino acids, etc. (Love the idea of using it for frying though).

    Will definitely drop you a note to get that recipe for sure.

    Off to order Deep Nutrition now. Thanks again!

  5. skj

    There was no mention of skimming the top. My CIA (Culinary Institute of America) book says it’s a must! Sally Fallon mentions skimming as well in her book Nourishing Traditions. Bring it to a boil and skim the scum. Works great, no off flavors 😉

  6. Luke Shanahan

    Hi Skj!

    Thanks for your comment! If you get a chance, please take a minute to check out the step-by-step instructions above, specifically step 6: “Every once in a while, use a slotted spoon to remove any scum that forms at the top of the liquid. That scum can make the stock bitter, so remove it every half an hour for the first few hours.” I’m guessing that’s the skimming part you referred to, removing the yucky scum that forms at the top of the simmering stock. (You probably only had a chance to watch the video. Hopefully, the accompanying instructions should clear up any omissions or confusions.)

    I’m so grateful you brought the skimming step up though; it is an important step. The scum that rises to the top during the simmer, as I mentioned, “can make the stock bitter.” So you’re right on that it’s good to get it out of there. It’s definitely worth reiterating the point.

    I like the CIA cookbook too! As you’ll notice in my instructions, I’m not a big fan of boiling the stock with the bones in, and so it would seem my recipe departs from whatever recipe you’re currently following. Also, I don’t recommend sealing the stock with a lid, though I’ve seen a couple recipes that do. If your Sally Falloon recipe recommends boiling–or, for that matter, covering the stock with a lid–and you’ve had good luck with the finished product, then I say stick with that recipe. Bottom line: Whatever recipe works for you wins!

    Happy cooking!

    Luke S.

  7. Troy

    Hi Luke;

    My wfie and I want to try this recipe but our grocery store just has hip bones. How much difference in nutritional value will there be between the knee bone you use here and a hip bone?


  8. Luke Shanahan

    Hey Troy,

    Any articulating joint will have some of the joint-rebuilding stuff in it. If the hip the butcher gets for you is modest in size, get a couple of them along with a couple pounds of soup bone (make sure there’s some meat on ‘dem bones, for flavor!). It’s a bit of a hassle for the butcher to get this stuff for us, so I keep that in mind when thanking him. One butcher friend of ours with joint pain started making stock himself, and now he swears by the stuff.

    Check my response to Brenden on how to test the chilled stock for lots of good collagen content.

    Good luck.

    p.s. Get grass fed/ grass finished if possible. It makes a difference to the animal as well as to the quality of the meat, joint, and bone you put into your stock.

  9. Tana

    Hi! I am new to your blog. I found it after your synopsis of “Sugar the bitter Truth” and think you’re doing a good thing! In light of your recent post on “When Vegans Attack” I want to send you this link to a video for your thoughts. It’s in six parts but also very interesting. It’s compelling enough for me to try eating a more vegetarian diet but I don’t think I can entirely go, “all the way.”

  10. Ari Freyr

    Hi. I have a question. But first of all. Thank you so much for putting this out there. If this really works its going to add joy and longevity to my practice of Karate and Ju Jitsu. Those are obviously all about strong bones and joints. Im very excited to try this stuff out. Here is the question though. Im from Iceland and up here we have good access to fish and fishbones. But my research online says that fishstock should only be simmered for 30-45min or the taste will go bad. Do you think this will be enough to get the beneficial material into the stock? And, perhaps firs of all, are you aware of any research indicating that fish stock has similar benefits as the other kinds?

    Thanks again.

  11. Luke Shanahan

    Hi Ari,

    Thanks for the compliment. I think that cooking the fish stock as recommended in your research is just fine. 30-40 min. is exactly what my CIA cookbook recommends. The big robust bones and joints of the joint material of the cow requires the full 12 hours, yet you get a ton of gelatin (and other components) from the more delicate bones and joints (and skin) of a chicken in just a few hours. Although you might not get quite as much of all that stuff out of your fish stock, no doubt your extracting a good amount in a relatively short time.

    Avoid recipes that go beyond the times I’ve recommended. The stock doesn’t come out as good, and the research shows that you get little, if any, benefit in gelatin extraction.

    I remember seeing a show a few years back about some strongman-type body builders in Iceland (as you probably know, Magnus Magnusson’s from Iceland). These massive fellas were doing their routine in some elite club that was fitted with a professional kitchen in the back, where an elderly woman was preparing–you guessed it!–fish stew made with fish stock. They loaded up on the stew and then headed back out for to pump more iron.

    For a lot of body builders and martial artists, the thing that stops their progress is that their connective tissue’s growth can’t keep up with muscle growth, promoting soft tissue injury. Their exercise send the signal to their body that it’s time to grow muscle, bone, nervous system tissue, and joints, but too often they give the body the raw materials to build muscle only.

    Last thought: With all that fish up there, try to cook your fish whole as often as you can, as this will get you more of the joint-building stuff than, say, a fillet.

    Check out Deep Nutrition for more on the biochemical details of all this and some useful kitchen pointers. Our cookbook should be coming out soon, and I just might include an extra fish stew recipe in your honor.


  12. Ari Freyr

    Thanks very much. This looks like a whole new dimension for anyone who is thinking about athletic performance not to mention overall health. Im excited to try all the different stocks including beef, but if fish stew is in any way responsible for helping Magnus win his world strongest man titles you should definitely include it. A copy of Deep Nutrition is allready in the mail and Ill be on the look out for the cookbook. If I find fish stew in there Ill be telling everyone that Im responsible 🙂 Thinking back to summers spent in a fishing town when I was a kid I used to admire how some of the men had hands that looked like bear claws. Those were some sturdy old guys. Obviously, aside from hard work, it was the traditional diet that helped them and now I feel like I have a missing puzzle. Will be eating alot of soup, stew and gravy in the near future 🙂 Tried the chicken stock yesterday and made some soup only adding a chopped carrot, little coconut milk and some chicken pieces fried with garlic and ginger. Delicious.

    Ps if anyone is interested in seeing a 70 year old guy pounding a rock with his bare hands check out this youtube clip 😉

  13. ann diet drops

    This is awesome! I am really looking for a blog where you can get some informative ideas and I’m glad I have found one. It is very interesting and exciting to watch those people cooking and sharing their craft to other people. Thanks

  14. Rebecca Latham

    I was looking at another recipe for beef bone broth, and it said to add vinegar to get the nutrients out of the bones. You say to add red wine – does this do the same thing?

    Also, I think there might be a typo in the recipe above: Should the “one small can tomato puree” be “one small can tomato paste”? If so, you might want to change that. 🙂

  15. Ben

    Luke, can a crock pot be used instead of a stock pot on the stove? Will it be as affective at releasing the nutrients and minerals from the bones?

  16. Traci G.

    I’ve been looking for a way to make my beef bone broth more palatable and this might be it! Thanks for sharing. I normally use it to make soups and then puree it = no ‘funky’/strong beef bone broth taste. Two questions for you though:
    1) Have you, or anyone else, made this grain free? Maybe using almond flour with the tomato paste to coat the bones? (I’m on the GAPS diet)
    2) When avoiding alcohol is there a substitute for the wine? I know it adds heaps of flavor with the deglazing and all.
    I’ve also read that you want to add the apple cider vinegar (unfiltered/unpasteurized) to the bones and water and let sit 30-60 so it can start extracting the minerals.
    Thanks so much for the tip about the lid. I hope the fat doesn’t add too much off flavor as I leave it in preferring to eat the ‘whole food’ and know that it, too, helps heal the gut.

  17. Andrea

    Hey Sean + Cate, love your work! But I’ve just gone through the recipe… Flour? What kinda flour? I can only assume this was a typo, or that it was meant to be another kind of flour!??

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