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I’m a dietitian who loves the stuff—but influencers want you to think it’s magic.
Bone broth has become popular among the health conscious crowd. But is it for good reason? Or is another fad made popular by influencers?
At its core, bone broth is actually pretty simple. You make a batch by gathering up bones, inedible parts, and connective tissue of animals. Then, in a big pot, you simmer those ingredients in water until the collagen and nutrients seep into the liquid.
Essentially “bone broth” is just another name for “stock,” the rich, flavorful liquid chefs and home cooks use to make soups, sauces, and tons of other stuff taste amazing.
Some of the popularity of bone broth comes from the paleo diet, followers of whom say that the drink is inspired by hunter-gatherers who used every inedible part of the animal for sustenance.
Now, the wellness community argues that bone broth has a whole host of benefits: vitamins, minerals, protein-rich amino acids, and collagen, which is said to enhance everything from joint health to skin vibrancy. (Though I wouldn’t describe our Paleo-era ancestors as “vibrant,” given that they tended to die in their 30s.)
Actual research shows that bone broth as the elixir of life is more influencer-hype than the results of rigorously investigated data.
That doesn’t mean you need to pour out your mug of bone broth just yet. I do admittedly love me a nice, warm cup of bone broth in the winter months as much as the next guy. And I’m fortunate that I have a great butcher shop near me to source it for ¼ of the price and 1,000 times the flavor. (More on that later.)
So even if bone broth doesn’t seem to lead to major joint and skin benefits, it does contain vitamins, minerals, and—if the recipe includes carrots, celery, onions, and garlic—disease-fighting antioxidants.
So, go ahead, enjoy.
There are many pre-made mainstream bone broth products you can find online or at grocers nationwide.
That said, the flavor—especially when compared to bone broth from a local butcher shop product or the kind you make yourself—doesn’t even remotely compare.
Want to test your culinary might and make your own?
Head to a local butcher and ask them for the bones of the animal, which is a great way to reduce food waste and dump some dollars into the local economy for these otherwise inedible parts, which may normally get tossed.
Then follow the recipe below from Executive Chef Noam Blitzer, of Red Hog in Louisville KY, where I get my own.
What You’ll Need:
1 lb free-range chicken bones (backs, necks, feet recommended)
½ lb grass-fed beef bones (marrow femur bones recommended)
½ lb smoked heritage ham hock
1 heritage pork trotter
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 whole Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
1 inch fresh, unpeeled ginger, thinly sliced
Cloves from 1 head garlic, crushed and peeled
3 bay leaves (fresh recommended)
2 star anise, toasted
2 Tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
1 tsp fennel seed, toasted
1 tsp black peppercorns, toasted
½ tsp whole allspice, toasted
How to Make It:
1. Preheat your oven to 450°F. In a large roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack, roast the chicken bones, beef bones, and pork trotter. Roast everything until the fat renders 30 to 45 minutes.
2. Adjust the oven to 250°F. Allow the bones to brown until a deep pecan or light maple color has form on the outside of the bones, about 15 minutes more.
3. Transfer the roasted bones and smoked ham hock to a 2- to 3-gallon stock pot and fill the pot with 1 gallon of ice. Add cold water until the bones are covered by 2 to 3 inches of water.
4. Transfer the pot to the stovetop over medium heat and allow to gently simmer until for 8 to 10 hours with the lid cracked about 1/3 of the way. The stock should never be at a rapid boil lower the heat if needed. Allow the bones to simmer slowly insures collagen and gelatin extraction and will keep the stock clear.
5. Once the bones have simmered turn the heat to medium high to reach a slight boil. Add the toasted spices, vegetables, apple and herbs and allow to simmer for 1 one hour.
6. Turn the heat off and remove the large bones from the pot using a slotted spoon or tongs. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer. Place in quart containers and allow to cool in the refrigerator overnight. You will see a firm white layer on the top of the broth this is fat. You can reserve the fat for cooking your next favorite meal, discard the fat or allow it to melt back into the bone broth. The bone broth will last in the freezer for 3 months. Makes 6 quarts