Homemade Beef Stock in the CrockPot

Day 147.

mmmm. Doesn't that look appetizing? It's a big pot of cold swirly beef juice. Yum.

Like a bunch of things I've done this year, I've never before attempted to make my own beef stock. I've made chicken--but not beef. It was Erin's idea, because I wanted to make her Pho (coming tomorrow!) Homemade beef stock tastes much better than the canned stuff. It is well-worth the effort involved.

I used a combination of a recipes that Chris and Kalyn posted as a guideline, but with ingredients I had on hand. I put the broth on at 5am, and had a sick kid in the house. Running to the grocery store was not an option.

The Ingredients.

--4 lbs oxtail (leftover package from when I made oxtail stew)
--1 cup baby carrots
--1 onion
--head of romaine lettuce (supposed to be celery)
--8 cloves garlic
--1 T Italian seasoning
--1 t kosher salt
--1 t pepper
--1 T apple cider vinegar (not pictured)

The Directions.

This will take two days. Prepare yourself.

I used oxtail because I already had it in the freezer. Ox tail is rather expensive to use for beef stock---I ended up cutting the meat off the bone and mixing it with barbecue sauce to have over rice for lunch. Kalyn recommends saving scraps of meat for a few months in the freezer, and Chris recommends asking your butcher for free bones, or stealing them from the neighborhood dog. Your choice.

Roast whatever meat or bones you are going to use in a high-ish sided cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

While the meat is roasting and releasing a bunch of flavor, wash and coarsely chop your vegetables to put in the crockpot. They do not need to look pretty.

When the meat is done, let it cool a bit, then scrape the meat and the juices into the crock. Add your spices and vinegar, and cover with enough water to fill the remainder of the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours.

--about the vinegar-- My broth was half-way through the cooking time and I received an email from Chi who mentioned that a nutritionist recommends adding the vinegar to help suck out the flavor from the bones. So I added it then. You should add it with the spices.

Let your crockpot cool down on the counter top, and then place the removable stoneware in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning the fat will all have floated to the top. It will be really gross.

Pick off the fat with a wooden spoon. Put a colander inside of a large pot or bowl, and pour the contents of the crockpot into the strainer. Discard the bones and vegetables.

Your stock is now ready to be used in your favorite soup or stew, and can be frozen for later use.

The Verdict.

I used this beef stock the next day for Vietnamese Pho--coming tomorrow! It worked well, and was full of flavor. But it was a lot of work, and took a lot of time. I'll probably make stock again, but not for quite some time. Touching the gelatinous fat is not something I am eager to do anytime soon.

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at May 26, 2008

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What they say about this article

  1. Anonymous5/26/2008

    I only make stock in my crockpot.

    One thing I do is strain out the solids before I put in the fridge. I still let it cool on the counter though so I dont burn myself! I strain out the solids and put it into a pitcher to cool. This makes the surface smaller, so the fat has to be thicker, its easier to get off the top.

    Next time Im going to try putting a layer of cheesecloth on top of the liquid before I refrigerate. I wonder if then I can just pull off the cheesecloth and the fat will all come off with it.

    Im not into the fat business either...if you cant tell :)

  2. i wait with bated breath for the PHO! you're awesome! happy memorial day!

  3. I was just referred to your site by a friend after reading my Crock Pot post. I WANT to love my Crock Pot, but I don't yet. I am learning but needed some cooking ideas. Boy, have I come to the right place!

  4. Anonymous5/26/2008

    We like to make chicken stock with the bones from a roast chicken. It works great. I keep a bag with parsley stalks and bits of celery in the freezer (cos I hate celery) and put the bones in the crock with a stick of celery, a few parsley stalks, a couple of bay leaves, a carrot, an onion, and a few peppercorns, and add just enough boiling water to cover it all. (Sometimes I have put aside the neck part of the chicken before I roast it, or some wing tips or something.... and put these in too(

    When it's done I scoop out the solids then cool it in a jug. Then when it is cool, I scoop of the fat and run it through a sieve with a bit of muslin or Chux Cloth in it, which clarifies out the dreggy bits in the bottom. We love our stock in soup.

  5. Anonymous5/26/2008

    I'm glad it seemed like the idea (sort of) worked out. I always go for low fuss stock because even if it is marginally less tasty I am a MUCH happier cook in the end :)

    I hope the Pho works out for you. I am eagerly wondering how the pho will work in the crock.

  6. Hey - wanted to ask a quick question.
    I have published a couple of planner ebooks - you can see them on the left sidebar of my blog. I wanted to put in a section of recipes in the "menu plan and grocery list" section. I was wondering if I could put a link to your blog there under slow cooking sites? Would that be alright?

    Thank you for an answer asap - you can email me at julientexas at sbcglobal dot net - or comment on my blog.

    I love this blog!

  7. I have been checking your site from time to time after it was mentioned on the celiac listserv and I've been enjoying it. :-)

    Just wanted to note that it's my understanding that the vinegar actually helps extract calcium from the bones and is not supposed to affect the flavor. I use it whenever I make chicken or beef stock.

    Pho is supposed to be so healthy for you. Hope it turns out great!

  8. I have a crockpot question for you oh wise one. I "made" some spaghetti sauce with meatballs (i.e. combined 2 jars of Trader Joe's organic marinara sauce with 2 bags of Trader Joe's turkey meatballs and turned it on) in my crockpot the other day and the sauce leaked out and stained the outside of my white crockpot. Any idea how to get the tomato stains out? I'm talking about the part that heats the thing up, not the stoneware. Clorox Gel Pen and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser did not work.

    Note to self: next time buy a black or stainless steel crockpot.

  9. Shirley, that is such a neat thing to know, thank you!

    tspwlv, woah, that totally stinks. No, i don't have any cleaning suggestions other than what you tried (which is what I would have used, also.) I'd try emailing or phoning Crock-Pot. Every time I do, I am impressed with the customer service. They may have had a similar problem come up before.

    And if you learn what to do, let me know!


  10. Great idea to use the crock pot to make stock and get the most flavor from the bones. I'll have to try it this way.

  11. I'm not sure if I can make stock in my crock anymore. The last time I couldn't get the smell out of my house for days. But I do so love a good hommade stock, so I will try this recipe in my regular stock pot on the stove.

  12. I'm so glad I found your site. It's great. I don't use my crock pot near enough and how often do you find beef stock recipes complete with detailed instructions. I put a link from my blog to yours so I can find you again and again. I hope you don't mind.

  13. Anonymous5/17/2009

    Oooohhhh! I'm so excited to find this recipe. We love soups, but I discovered how much MSG is in canned broths and bullion, so I have been avoiding beef broth recipes. Now I can indulge!

    I make homemade chicken stock in big batches, and then freeze it in canning jars, with gives me 2 c. per jar for recipes. When I need broth, I either thaw it out the day before , or remove the lid from the frozen jar, and just heat it in the microwave.

    ~Gwen Brown

  14. celiac reader8/31/2012

    Love the blog!

    For those celiacs out there...

    Most canned and boxed beef broth has hidden gluten...so do give this recipe a try.

    For all of us "fat phobics" LOL - There is a "fat or gravy separator" sold in grocery stores and most places that carry such items. It is like a measuring cup with a tall spout. Once the broth has cooled a bit you pour it into the separator and let it sit for a second until the fat rises to the top and then pour the broth into your container and the fat remains in the separator to be disposed of. Some of these also come with a strainer top. Works great!

    Thanks for all the great tips and recipes.