In the interests of utilizing as much of our kills as possible, and because we love a good homemade stock, I decided to use the bones from our deer and elk this year to make bone broth. Dad used to do this when we were growing up but for whatever reason, it’s something I have never bothered with. I guess having dogs to give the bones to gave me an easy out but dogs can only chew so many bones and there are enough buried in the back yard as it is.
Step one (after removing most of the meat from the bones) was breaking down the bones into smaller pieces so that they could be tightly packed into a stock pot, especially the elk which is a large animal with large bones. This was accomplished by separating all of the joints with a knife, then using a reciprocating saw to cut the larger bones into smaller pieces and exposing the bone marrow.
Click on images to enlarge.
Next, the bones were coated in a little bit of oil, salt and pepper and then roasted in the oven at 400°F for about an hour (rotating once half way through to ensuring even roasting). The goal is to develop some colour and flavours.
Then the bones were tightly packed into the stock pot and barely covered with water. We had some of the elk neck sticking out of the water because we didn’t break it down enough but after a few hours of cooking it began to fall apart and ended up under the water line.
The bone broth was then simmered for around 10 hours. At this point, I roughly chopped up approximately 6 large onions, a head of garlic, 10-12 carrots, and about 4 parsnip, and a bulb of fennel, enough vegetables to generously fill a half sheet, lightly covered in oil, salt and pepper and then roasted in the oven for about an hour at 400°F and stirred half way through.
While the vegetables were roasting I added some allspice, cubeb berries, fenugreek, nigella seed, mustard seed, and bay leaves to the stock.
Once the vegetables were done roasting, they were added to the stock pot along with a head of raw red Russian garlic, a head of celery, some dried shitake and porcini mushrooms, a bunch of fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano from our indoor herb garden which is still alive despite getting no direct sunlight in well over a month.
The stock was then simmered for an additional 2 hours (making a rough total of 13 hours).
At this point, the stock was poured through a strainer and allowed to cool overnight so that the fat would rise to the top and solidify so that it could be removed the next morning.
After removing the fat, the abundance of collagen was clear at about 4°C
Next the stock was re-heated and run through a strainer with a layer of cheesecloth to remove any remaining solids and clarify the broth a bit.
Finally, the hot broth was put into jars and pressure canned. This was my first time pressure canning and it seems to have gone really well. I guess we will find out soon.
Before canning, we gave the babies a taste of the broth and it was clear that Ewan was a big fan.