Pork Broth: The Delicious Stock You’ve Probably Never Tried

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist June 15, 2013

Pork StockMaking homemade bone broth is arguably one of the most important techniques a Traditional Cook must incorporate into the kitchen routine on a very frequent basis.

I make stock almost every week, not just because our family flies through quarts of it so quickly, but also because keeping a ready supply of mineral and gelatin rich broth in the freezer for when illness unexpectedly hits is important in order to facilitate rapid recovery without meds.

Getting sick and realizing there is no homemade bone broth to be found in the freezer gives quite the sinking feeling, I can assure you! Simply running out to the store to pick up some canned or tetrapack soup or broth is not going to solve the problem – not by a long shot!  These industrially produced products even if organic are just water and MSG with little to no nutrient value and certainly no gelatin!

There is nothing worse than a tummy bug striking your children and knowing that a pot of gelatin rich stock that will halt the illness in its tracks is a full 24-48 hours away. Unless, of course, you can quickly source the right kind of fishheads, then a pot of stock can be ready in as little as 4 hours.

With plenty of stock on hand for whatever your cooking or wellness needs might be, the next question is how to source quality bones at a price that is within a typical family’s food budget.

The highest quality pastured pork bones for making homemade stock tend to cost between one half and three quarters as much as grassfed beef bones or pastured chicken in my experience, particularly if you source an entire hog.

Some might question how pork bones could make good pork broth given the fattiness of the meat.  Culinary purists consider soups and sauces made with fatty stock to not yield the best results, but this problem is easily remedied by chilling pork stock in the refrigerator which will allow the congealed fat to be removed from the top of the container of stock with a spoon.

If you’ve never tried pork broth or pork stock before, why don’t you give it a try?  Here is a very simple and basic pork broth recipe to get you going, inspired by the beautiful book Beyond Bacon, Paleo Recipes that Respect the Whole Hog, by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry,

Basic Pork Broth (Pork Stock)

Joel Salatin on pastured pigsMakes about 2 quarts

Ingredients

3 lbs pastured pork bones

1 TBL organic apple cider vinegar

Ground peppercorns

Sea salt

Instructions

Put all of the bones in a stockpot and add enough filtered water to cover.

Cook on high until the water comes to a boil and scum rises to the top.  Cook for 5 minutes.

Dump the entire pot of water and refill with fresh filtered water, enough to cover the bones.  Mix in the apple cider vinegar and bring the water to a boil once again.

Carefully skim off any foam that comes to the top. It should be minimal given that the water with most of the scum was dumped in the previous step.

Reduce heat and simmer on low for 9-24 hours.

Remove the pot from the heat, strain and taste. Add salt and pepper as needed.  Let cool and then refrigerate in one or more airtight containers.  Skim the congealed fat off the top of the chilled pork broth the following day.  Use this clarified pork stock as the base for soups and sauces the same as you would use chicken or beef stock.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

 

Comments (62)

  1. Pingback: Happy 1st Birthday, Beyond Bacon! - Paleo Parents

  2. Pingback: Pork on sale, we've hit the bottom of the barrel | Ninja Cow Farm

  3. Thanks for this recipe.

    I have a couple of questions — first, has anybody tried browning the pork bones beforehand (as is typical for a beef stock)? If so, what were the differences?

    I’ve been experimenting with pork stock and I can’t seem to shake that piggy taste, which I find unpleasant. Does anybody have any remedies for this? I haven’t tried the quick boil and discard at the beginning and this may be what is causing me trouble.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Regarding pouring off the first pot of water and scum, does this affect anything other than taste? I started my pot of pork bones before reading to boil the water for 5 minutes then pour off. My pot had been boiling for 30 minutes, and no sign of scum. Am I safe to proceed without the rinse cycle?!

    As my crockpot died, I am needing to brew this batch of bones on the stove top. I added the ACV. If 9 hours suffices, I will remove the broth before bedtime. Otherwise, it will need to go 17 hours till tomorrow morning. Thank you!

    Reply
  5. Do you think wild boar would be good too. My husband hunts them quite frequently, and have thought about it but haven’t really found anything by searching. One thing about boar is they are very lean, there is not much fat at all. Thoughts?

    Reply
  6. Does anyone feed the end bone “mush” to their cats? Would that be safe? I plan to get a kitten in the not to distant future and would like to start it out on a raw meat diet. Does anyone know of a resource on raw food diets for kittens? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Dr Becker of mercola healthy animals (on YouTube) has awesome and well researched raw pet food info and wrote a book with nutritionally balanced recipes. She also makes bone broths for her pets!

      Reply
    • I do to my dogs and cats. Chicken bones too. Once they become soft I either process all the extra stuff and the soft bones, add a little broth, the extra veggies if you add them, and they gobble it up.

      Reply
    • Im sure it would be fine, although I dont know whether its really a raw meat diet once the bones have all been boiled up.

      One thing to be careful of, if you plan to boost your stock flavour with onions or garlic, there are compounds in these vegetables which are VERY toxic to cats.

      Reply
  7. Helllo. Anyone have recipes for what to do with the meat scraps after making the broth? i have heard of something that you mix it with buckwheat flour, make a loaf and then slice and fry this up. Don’t know what it’s called. Thanks

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Pork stock: another reason to love the pig | Sunshine & Soup

  9. I have read on a box somewhere that the small lid jars are not recommended by the mfg for the freezer, only the wide mouth and not any of the quarts.
    So I started saving stock in the freezer in a different way than I read here. I do use the little rubbermade containers that have stackable snap-together lids so they can be stacked up in a smaller space. That means I don’t have to premeasure the contents time after time. When they are frozen solid, I pop out the chunks, wrap them in glad wrap and stack them in a FoodSaver bag and suck all the air out. I label each inside pack. When I need broth or soup, I take out what I need, reseal the FoodSaver bag and restore. It’s slightly more work and pennies more money, but I’m not worrying about broken glass and storage is still tight in the freezer.

    Reply
  10. Lori, I can my broth because the freezer is full. Don’t know what the change in nutritional profile is but it is still better than throwing it away. We use broth for making soup, etc and it tastes good. I would say , go for it. Clear broth 15 lbs for 25 minutes in the pressure cooker. Canning meat takes 90 minutes according to the book . Seems like a long time but oh well.

    Reply
  11. Does anyone can their broth? I’ve run out of freezer space. This question was asked earlier, but I didn’t see an answer.

    Reply
  12. I’ve never tried making stock before but when I already have kids, I always make this. I usually make beef stock and the kids love it. This time, I will make pork stock. BTW, thanks for the link! ;-)

    Reply
  13. Katrina, I would get all of the pig that they don’t put in packages for something else. the head, feet, backbone, tail etc. everything that they would “normally” throw away and cook it all down. I skinned out all the parts and cooked them down and got lots of stock for “free”

    Reply
  14. I would also like to know about using a pressure cooker to make stock. Is it a good thing or not? It is so much easier.

    Reply
    • I think you are damaging the good stuff in the stock by cooking it so quickly. but pressure cooked stock may be better than no stock. not sure. i like the crockpot because i don’t have to watch it. it takes longer but my actual hands on time is very little.

      Reply
      • Pretty sure I’ve read it can be ok to use the pressure cooker. If the stock still gels, it should be ok. We live in the desert, so in the summer, the slow cook method makes the house too hot and the pressure cooker allows us to have broth when we otherwise wouldn’t make it. I love the pork broth, it’s great in beans. I remove the fat too and find that it may have too strong a flavor in some dishes so, I use part broth and part water in my beans.

        Reply
  15. I am getting 1/2 a pastured pig next month- it goes to the butcher the end of this month and I will be able to let them know the parts I want to keep. What kind of bones do I ask for?

    Reply
    • ask for everything that doesn’t go in the other packages. Bones, head if you can get it, feet, fat (for rendering lard), everything. Did this with our pig this year and brought home a box with 30 pounds of trimmings which did not include the head or feet. they were extra. Makes great broth, and beautiful lard.

      Reply
  16. love your site and learn so much! what does everybody freeze their stock in? every time i try to freeze in mason jars they break and then i am so sad…..does anybody have a trick out there? i know it needs to cool before freezing, which i’ve done before…..don’t fill to the top, don’t cover too tightly……am i crazy? how do you do it?
    also, i have canned stock before to be shelf stable……is that okay to do? or does it destroy good stuff?
    would absolutely LOVE an answer.
    thank you!!!

    Reply
    • I too have been careful to not overfill my jars for freezing and still had them break.
      Such a drag when there is breakage and all that work and nutrition goes into the trash! I now only use canning jars (as opposed to recycled pasta sauce jars) and they don’t break.

      Reply
      • I know this is not the healthiest or most sustainable option, but I have resorted to using quart-sized freezer bags. I have had trouble with glass breakage in my freezer (even with canning jars) so I don’t like to use it for that application anymore. The quart bags work great because they hold 4 cups of stock, they lie flat and take us less room in my tiny freezer. However, I feel they are safest when I allow the stock to cool completely before filling them. I don’t defrost the stock in the bags either, I cut the bag open and pop the stock cube in a cooking pot or bowl.

        Reply
    • Try the pint-and-a-half, straight-sided Ball jars, available at most Ace Hardware stores and other places. There’s a fill line that’s about an inch from the top, and no “shoulders” to trap the expanding broth as it freezes.

      Reply
    • I am usually only freezing in small portions, but this works for me. I pour stock/broth/any liquid I want to save into a regular bowl; just make sure it is smaller at the bottom and wider at the top by a good difference. I pour the liquid in, freeze the whole bowl somewhere safe in the freezer. Once it forms the shape of the bowl, I let it sit out for about 5 minutes, then pop/slide it out of the bowl into a ziploc bag and put back in the freezer. (Sometimes, I use a butter knife to loosen the edges). This way, I can pull it out in smaller portions (the blocks stay frozen individually) and I can reuse the bag over and over.

      Reply
      • I do the same thing. I use little plastic bowls. Yogurt containers, even ice cube trays sometimes. Since the stock is not hot when I pour it in, I don’t think it can leach much of anything harmful from the plastic. I’d love to have all glass but it takes time to transition. Anyway, once frozen I pop them out of the container and put them all in a ziplock bag together and label it. Anything from an ice cube which is 2 Tablespoons, to a yogurt container, which is about 2 cups.

        Reply
      • Excellent idea. My freezer is stuffed with bones, dog bones, dog food, venison, hog, chickens, etc. and sometimes we just don’t have enough room to put containers in. Thanks.

        Reply
    • Hi Aimee,

      I use glass jars with plastic lids and are careful to make sure that I leave about an inch of air space on top. This way, when the broth freezes and expands, it has some room to expand. Also, in a worse case scenario, if it needs more room than I have allowed, it just pops the plastic lid a tiny bit. When I see that happen, I just use the stock that day. It rarely happens but when it does the stock tastes just fine. No freezer odor.

      These are the jars I use:

      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/working-glasses-with-lids/?cm_src=AutoSchRel

      I have had mine a very long time and they have never cracked or broke. They are extremely durable. You can also find them on amazon.com Sometimes the jars and lids are sold separately.

      Good luck!

      Love,
      Mary
      Mary\’s last post: Motherhood

      Reply
    • I use Gladware square containers – sandwich size I guess – they hold over 3 cups. They stack well in the freezer. No more avalanches like when I used bags or breakage when I used glass jars. Just make sure the stock is well cooled and no issue with plastic.

      Reply
    • Aimee,
      I freeze in jars all the time! One very important thing is to make sure any bevel or tapering of the glass is not reached by the broth. You must leave also some room, like 1/4 of an inch or more, to allow the broth to expand upwards. I also stand all my jars until they are frozen. I cool before freezing. I have been doing for years now. A stand up freezer makes it easier if you do a lot. I have done in a regular freezer.
      No Canning kills too much of the nutrition in broth.

      Reply
    • re canning jars breaking in the freezer. the reason is they sometimes do not have enough space for the liquid to expand into, even if you provide room at the top of the jar.. the way to deal with that is to place the jar, with the cooled stock, upright in the freezer and just rest the metal lid on the jar. do not put on the metal ring. or if you are using regular jars, just place the lid lightly on the jar. do not screw it down.
      when the stock freezes it can just push the metal lid up if more space for the freezing stock is needed.
      if it does this I take the jar out of the freezer and with a warm knife slice off the excess frozen broth. then I replace the lid and add the metal ring. don’t do this too early. wait a day or 2 to be sure the broth is completely frozen, otherwise the jar might still crack.

      Reply
  17. Sarah,

    I noticed you add vinegar when you cook stock. Is the vinegar for flavor or is there another reason for adding the vinegar?

    Reply
  18. Sarah, can you provide any insights about the recommendation to dump the water and refill? Would this be beneficial regardless of how the pig was raised? Also, is skimming the fat optional? Do you like to use the skimmed fat like you would rendered lard, or do you discard it for some reason?

    Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist June 17, 2013 at 6:39 am

      Hi Beth, dumping the water just makes it easier to remove any foam/scum with pork broth. You can just skim if you like.

      Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
      Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist June 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      Pork is a staple food for Southern Japan which (and still does today) has one of the longest lived and healthiest on earth.

      Reply
      • They are good for sneaking out of their pens and munching all the nasty cabbages your parents were planninng on feeding you :)

        Reply
  19. my original experience with pork stock was cooking a shoulder in the crock pot for 12 hours, the broth was so amazing, I couldn’t get rid of it! I found all kinds of soups to make with it, a totally different taste, but I love it, and now that we raise our own pigs, I make pork broth along with our beef, lamb and chicken. so yummy! pull meat from the bones, simmer brown beans (cooked) in the broth, throw in some sauerkraut, cooked pork and caramelized onions when it comes off the heat, grate a little cheese over and enjoy.

    Reply
  20. If I mix chicken and pork bones do I still need to dump the 1st water and what do you think about using the pressure cooker for stock?

    Reply
  21. I started making pork stock and broth last year when I bought a pastured hog. Also grassfed beef. I made chicken and turkey stock and broth too. Save the bones and freeze them until you have enough to make broth. So easy and so good for you.

    Reply
  22. When my neighbor and friend butchers pigs, one is mine, I get all the extra bones, heads , organ meat, etc. for nothing cause no one else wants it. Cut all the meat off that I can then boil the bones and heads and make oodles of broth. Great soup stock. So much thrown away because people haven’t been raised to appreciate it. Same with cows and chickens.

    Reply
  23. I’m always learning new things and getting new ideas from your blog. I’ve never made pork stock, although I’ve recently been searching for a good pork supplier. I’ll give it a try once I find some good bones. What kind of soup would you make with pork broth? Maybe lentil or bean soup would be good?

    Reply
  24. I have taken to making a mixed bone stock with beef, pork and sometimes lamb bones, whatever I have. It makes a rich superior tasting stock – Asian cultures use pork stock all the time. I have not noticed that it’s more fatty because I do what you have recommended here – chilling the stock and then removing the fat (which I save and freeze and use later for cooking). Thanks for bringing up this tasty option :))

    Reply
    • This is a great idea. I wish I had thought of doing this, especially when you don’t quite have enough left of one but do others. Because if you mix them, you will not get a distinctive taste from one in particular, like lamb for instance, so it could be used in most any dish. Love it. Will be doing this myself and feel rather stupid for not having thought of this :)

      Reply
  25. I make my broth in a pressure cooker to save time. Takes about 2 hours and the bones are melted. Sarah, do you have any objection in using a pressure cooker? It cooks food in extra high heat. Does that create HCA since, like in your article about grilling, you said that high heat and pressure and duration create HCA? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Please be ultra careful with pressure cookers!!! After using pressure cookers for years and years….I had one blow for no apparent reason and I ended up with over 30% of my body covered in 2nd and 3rd degree burns!!! What saved me was that I had some heavier clothes on.
      I still make bone broth…usually pork…but now I use a pot on the stove or a roaster.
      No more pressure cookers in my house.

      Reply
    • Slow cooking is the best way to extract collagen from bones and to bring out the taste. Pressure cooking may destroy some nutrients and burn other proteins that makes it carcinogenic. Pork, beef and chicken bones (with skeletal muscles) soups are hope remedies used by old folks in the Philippines during cold season and fever and flu cause by “cold winds”, it warms the body and balance energy. Just make sure that those pork, beef or chickens are organically raised. In my case I am not a pork person but prefer chicken or beef.
      Ronnie B\’s last post: Stretching: An Essential Exercise

      Reply

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