Some cooks are just drawn to bones. You know the type, always saving the bones from a roast chicken or a pork butt to boil with odds and ends from the fridge — limp carrot, exterior piece of celery, maybe spinach stems. The thin results are just the thing for making grains. And then there are cooks who go a step further, specifically buying bones to use – and not just as treats for their dogs. They’re buying beef knuckles, marrow bones, pork neck bones. If you read food magazines and websites lately, it seems like the only thing there is to make with these bones is (trendy) bone broth. We love bone broth (here’s our take on how to make it) but it’s far from the only thing you can cook with bones.
We keep our bones in our retail freezer, not in our vending machines. So if you’re in the market for bones, make sure to visit us during retail hours. Then try these recipes. Or make bone broth. Up to you.
Neck bones are inexpensive, easy to work into a number of dishes, and full of flavor. They have a small amount meat on them, which can fall off the bone after a few hours of cooking and add a special something to whatever dish you’re making. Try this with a pot of beans and you’ll know exactly what we mean. If you haven’t yet tried pork neck bones in your spaghetti sauce, do it now. Or use them to make a soul food/Southern-inspired gravy and rice. Josh Applestone likes to boil then bake them, and cover them with sauce – currently he’s loving them with fresh tomatillos. For more ideas, here’s whole post on the best way to cook pork neck bones.
Marrow is in shank bones — the center shank cut in pieces. It’s only edible when cooked. But you can use raw marrow to finish a steak instead of butter (just place a marrow chip on the steak and let the oven bake it off). If you want to do that (it’s delicious!), custom order marrow chips. We like to heat up the bones, season to taste, and eat with a little spoon and toast. Or render and chill it with butter to make a marrow butter. Follow a recipe, like this Food Network one, for either if you’re new to cooking marrow. One thing we don’t suggest using marrow for is soup. People do it but it’s an expensive way of making soup — we have soup bones (beef knuckle) for that.
Lamb neck can be cooked in similar ways to pork neck. We like to braise it low and slow and pull the shards of meat off the bone. It’s not a lot of meat, but it’s great in heavily spiced stews, soups, and curries. If you’re interested learning more, read this ode to lamb necks on Serious Eats, which includes a recipe.
What do you like to make with bones?