If you can boil water, you can make this simple, versatile recipe for making beef bone stock or broth. My dear chef friend, Ted, once developed a 2,000-word missive on the perfect stock. This simplified version captures key points of his méthode. This recipe is for a ten- to twelve- quart stockpot. Adjust the recipe as needed to fit your pot.Ask your butcher for “soup bones,” or joint bones such as knuckle with a bit of meat on them. I also keep any and all bones from steaks and freeze them until ready to make a batch of beef stock.You can use this same recipe for making chicken or turkey stock. I’m partial to backs and necks, or the leftover carcass from a roasting chicken or turkey.
Remove impurities from the bones. Place thawed and/or fresh bones in stockpot or bowl and cover with water. Let stand for fifteen minutes and then drain, discarding the water. This helps to remove freezer frost, blood, and other undesirables. Dry well.
Roast the bones. Preheat oven to 400°F/ 210°C. Roast the bones on a sheet pan or roasting pan until they achieve a rich brown color, about 30 to 45 minutes. If desired, you can add vegetables and roast those, too.
Simmer. With tongs or a large spoon, transfer bones to the stockpot. (Leave the vegetables aside for later.) Cover with cold water. Pour the fat out of the roasting or sheet pan, add water, and gently loosen the pan drippings. Pour this into the stockpot. In either case, the water level should be at least three inches above the bones. Apply high heat until the stock comes to a gurgling simmer. Then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a simmer. For the next couple of hours, use a ladle or large spoon to regularly skim the foam and fat from the surface of the stock. Don’t let it boil.
Add vegetables and aromatics. For beef bones, simmer the uncovered stock for a minimum of eight hours; for chicken, two hours. Skim every hour or 90 minutes. Add water as needed to keep the bones submerged.
Remove bones and strain. Don't try to pour out the contents. Use tongs to remove bones and vegetables and put into bowls. Ladle or pour the remaining stock and vegetables through a colander set over a large bowl. Repeat until all the stock liquid has been strained through the colander. You will probably need two or three large bowls.
Strain through cheesecloth. Line the colander with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Let the stock cool a bit. (I add a few ice cubes.) This will help the fat collect on the surface. Strain through cheesecloth again. At this point, taste it and add a bit of salt as desired.
Use or cool and store. Cool the stock/broth quickly. (One tip: plop freezer bags with ice into the bowls.) Once at room temperature, put into the fridge. Refrigerate and use the stock within five days. Mason or glass jars work well to keep in the fridge. Otherwise, ladle into freezer-proof glass, silicone or plastic containers and freeze. Use within three months.
If using an Instant Pot, follow the steps except instead of simmering for several hours, set on manual pressure cook for 2 hours. Let the pot depressurize on its own, carefully remove bones with tongs and then proceed with straining.