Beef Stock

beef, stock, thrifty, marrow, bones, frugal, living, life, cooking, food

Regardless of whether it is freshly made or in cube form, stock is an essential part of many meals, particularly soups, stews, casseroles and broths. Of course, there isn’t always time enough to make one’s own stock, but when one can find a few minutes it is certainly a worthwhile undertaking. It has the power to bring food alive – it’s not difficult to distinguish between freshly made stock and the slightly suspect supermarket hexahedron.

The local butcher will forever be one’s foremost ally in the pursuit of cracking homemade stock. As you might have guessed, a frequent by-product of their line of work is a hefty supply of animal bones. These are virtually worthless in monetary terms – mere superfluities to most meat eaters – but they do make for jolly tasty stock. So, simply pop down to your local butcher and ask for some stock bones (pork, lamb, beef… whatever) and you’ll almost certainly walk away with a clutch of bones, full of delicious marrow ready to add richness to anything it touches. Now, that really is frugal!

The beauty about stock is that one can impart to it any flavour one desires, a characteristic that will be reflected in the recipe below. For instance, I wanted this particular batch to be as beefy as possible, so I omitted any trace of rosemary or thyme. It is always a good idea to be partially cognisant of what delightful dish you’ll be using the stock for, since you may find yourself with a flavouring that detracts from the resultant meal.

beef, bones, stock, marrow, frugal, thrifty, life, living, healthy, meals

There is but one more tit-bit of advice I feel duty bound to impart – if the bones are two feet long and you intend to boil them, ask if they can be cut in half before you get home! As you can see, I had to make my stock in the oven and while this is a perfectly acceptable method, it is a little less convenient and the stock tends to be ever so slightly less flavourful. Still, whatever method you use your homemade stock will almost certainly be superior to stock cubes – it will also be a darn sight more thrifty!

Beef Stock

Makes 2 litres


• 1kg beef rib or leg marrow bones

• 1 carrot

• 1 onion or leek tops

• 6 pepper corns

• 3 bay leaves

• Large sprig of thyme or rosemary (optional)

• Stick of celery (optional)

• Garlic (optional)

• 1 tsp salt


1. Make sure the bones are in manageable chunks if you intend to boil them. Pop them in the oven at 200C in a deep tin, to roast for 30 minutes.

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2. Transfer the bones to a large saucepan, pour over the water and add the carrot, onion/leek, pepper corns, bay leaves, salt and any optional extras. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer for 2-3 hours minimum. Strain and use immediately, or leave to cool and freeze for use at a later date.

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Cost: The best thing about this stock (and any stock) is that the bones are free! As such, all you’ll ever likely to need are a few odds and ends that you can actually save up in the freezer – don’t throw away those vital leek tops! Indeed, the entire batch of stock should set you back no more than 30-50phow very frugal!


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95 comments on “Beef Stock

  1. Somer
    November 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Homemade stock is the best! I’ve been making a powdered veg stock out of dried veggies. So much cheaper and so much better than the store bought stuff!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Exactly, Somer! That sounds great… where does one get dried veggies?

      • Somer
        December 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm

        I found this recipe on a friends blog:

        I liked the idea, but wanted more depth, so I added 10 snipped dry pack sun dried tomatoes, 1/2 package (1/2) ounce dried shitake mushrooms, a tablespoon of raw sugar, an extra tablespoon of salt, increased the parsley to a Tablespoon and added a teaspoon of dried mustard and oregano.

        I blended the mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes into a fine powder in the power blender. Then added the rest of the ingredients and blended til super fine. You could also blend this in batches in a coffee grinder. I use a tablespoon of powder per cup of water 🙂 It’s delicious….

        • frugalfeeding
          December 2, 2012 at 11:23 pm

          I’ll check it out! Thanks for the tips, Somer 😀

  2. baconbiscuit212
    November 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Looks good, Nick! Good tip about the oven too . . .

    So now I have question: what’s the difference between this and beef tea?

  3. fleurdeselsf
    November 27, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Fantastic post! This stock would be delicious in a French onion soup! Yum!

  4. oceannah
    November 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    GREAT!! I have a freezer full of beef and chicken stock. It’s like a secret ingredient that can enhance ANY dish. well done.

  5. fissionerror
    November 27, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    <3 homemade stock!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 2, 2012 at 12:19 am

      Don’t we all?! 😀

      • fissionerror
        December 2, 2012 at 12:25 am

        Some people just aren’t hip to it. I used turkey bones/leftovers to make turkey soup this week, and when BF brought it to work for lunch his coworkers freaked out. “What is that?” “It smells SOOO good!” “Your girlfriend MADE that?”

        Like i’d performed fucking witchcraft, you’d think. 😀

        • frugalfeeding
          December 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm

          You’re quite right 😀 – you’ve got cracking magic skills.

  6. narf77
    November 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    My siblings and I were practically raised on the results of bone stock. Whenever we hear the telltale signs of crowing from our previously genderless chickens the hapless crower ends up in the stock pot. I have to say that Steve adores stock and soup made from our own chooks. He says that it tastes so much better than store bought chook. No plans to turn the back acre over to cows quite yet though 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      December 2, 2012 at 12:18 am

      It never did anyone any harm! IT definitely tastes better… that would be a little extreme in the pursuit of stock!

  7. susanevershed
    November 27, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Wow! Looks incredibly flavorful…can’t wait to try it!

  8. naturalbornbaker
    November 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Not to mention when you make your own stock you’re avoiding any potentially harmful chemicals that leak into your food from the lining of cans and cartons. Oh and it’s just much better tasting and much cheaper. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Year Of Healthier Living
    November 27, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    I love making stock, especially on those rare, lazy weekends! Sooooo much better than from a can or carton and a great use of all those leftover veggies!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 2, 2012 at 12:17 am

      Absolutely – great that it can just sit there and boil!

  10. Food and Forage Hebrides
    November 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    I wish I could get a hold of bones for beef stock here in North Uist. I always end up gathering at a mainland butcher. My dogs must be driven mad by the smell in the car on the way back, but always worth it! Like your suggestion to leave out aromatic herbs like rosemary, etc, Makes the stock more ‘flexible’.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 2, 2012 at 12:16 am

      Absolutely and good on you for doing that!

  11. lifelibertyeducation
    November 27, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    All those years of using cubes because I never even thought of making my own stock. The butcher back home is my father in law as well.

  12. lorrielorrieb
    November 27, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Such a beautiful thing. Stock just adds so much happiness to so many dishes!

  13. Maryam
    November 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    love homemade stock. When I was in cooking school that was the first thing we learned to make.

  14. Conor Bofin
    November 27, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    I do my own chicken and fish stocks. I floated the beef idea but was shot down on the grounds of no room in the freezer “particularly with that half deer you are getting”. I had no counter argument.
    Looks awesome,

    • frugalfeeding
      December 2, 2012 at 12:13 am

      Haha – seems like a legit argument… half a deer? colour me interested…

  15. ldhankey
    November 27, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Just to point out the obvious here and remind everyone that when you do make that delicious home-made stock, don’t forget to freeze some. An ice-cube tray is great for those sauces where you just need a few spoonfuls, and small lunch boxes can be used to freeze the right amount for when you need a bit more. I make a beef stock infused with 5-star anise, cinnamon and ginger which serves as a base for pho, a Vietnamese dish (you can find details on my blog). I make it once a month, and we have pho twice a week, with the exact right amount frozen in little tubs.

  16. jeksca
    November 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Another thing I really want to try one of these days.

  17. NativeNM
    November 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    You’ve added some great flavors to your stock. Love the leeks!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 2, 2012 at 12:12 am

      Thanks – yes, leeks are always a good addition to stock!

  18. For The Love of Food
    November 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    There is nothing better than making a homemade stock! Love that you added leeks, will have to try that next time!! I like to add Ginger to mine sometimes 🙂 YUM!

  19. thatoldschoolgirl
    November 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Just a side note – this can be frozen or canning for later use 🙂

  20. fromtheloftabove
    November 27, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    yum! you could make beef jus over that lovely stock, i love doing that!

  21. My French Heaven
    November 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Incredible photos as usual! The first one should be framed!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm

      Thanks so much! I was rather pleased with them!

  22. Susan
    November 27, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Love homemade stocks. Great photos!

  23. MonkeyBreadandSweetPea
    November 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    So true! I’ve been getting lazy & not making my own. I need to get my act together!! haha Thanks for sharing!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      I flit between both, but I much prefer homemade!

  24. Catherine
    November 27, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Stock! I love stock! Ever since I discovered how much better the homemade stuff tastes than anything you buy, I haven’t been able to go back.

    Actually, my favourite thing about slow-cooking a roast is that it generates, usually, several cups of really beautiful, rich stock – the kind that sets to a jelly in the fridge. There’s just something about jellied stock that feels incredibly nutritious and warming.



    • frugalfeeding
      December 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm

      Me to :D. I go back, but only because I don’t always have the time!

  25. chiamiablog
    November 28, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Yum! Cant wait to try this. Beef stock is great for easing inflammation, arthritis, helps repair your stomach lining and is great for your hair and skin so i will definitely be giving this recipe a go 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      December 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      How very interesting – thanks for the info!

  26. cbriantx
    November 28, 2012 at 2:01 am

    I’m going to have to try this homemade stock. We make chicken stock all the time but I’ve never tried the beef stock. It sounds great!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      Oh you should – definitely worth the time!

  27. imayahya1
    November 28, 2012 at 2:41 am

    Love it-great photos too!

  28. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen
    November 28, 2012 at 3:01 am

    Thank you for your tidbits:) I hadn’t thought of just requesting the bones.. I’m going to now. Those bones of yours are massive.. must have been some incredible marrow flavor going on in that stock!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm

      tit* :D. Yes, rather a lot… aren’t they impressive? 😀

  29. skybunnies
    November 28, 2012 at 3:29 am

    I never knew how easy it was to make delicious beef stock until your recipe, and talk about added nutrients from the bone marrow- homemade > salty grocery store stock cubes.
    Will be trying the recipe for my new stews, broths and everything in between.

    Cheers,Sky aka “the foodie handicap”!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      Exactly and yes, it’s very simple! Let me know how it goes!

  30. Kimby
    November 28, 2012 at 4:37 am

    Supermarket hexahedron… 🙂 Yup, homemade is definitely better.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 1, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      Haha – was hoping someone would mention that phrase!

  31. petit4chocolatier
    November 28, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I love it! I never knew it was that uncomplicated to make and store! So much better!

  32. christina @ smallkitchenchronicles
    November 28, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I am so impressed that you can make beef bones look so pretty! Gorgeous and wonderful post as always, Frugal. You just cannot beat homemade stock … especially when it looks this beautiful =)

    Have a wonderful week!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      Haha – thanks! Exactly… home made stock beats all!

  33. nurulthecook
    November 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    How could I make this last longer without a fridge/freezer?? Any ideas on making it preservable without destroying the taste-and without chemicals. I live in a hot country. Oh-I don’t have an oven either but could do it without.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      umm… add salt – don’t do that though, it needs freezing!

  34. shermangerherd
    November 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    JayC store will not give/sell bones. They say it is illegal. So it is to the Amish or road kill, whichever is first.

  35. accordingtocarey
    November 29, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I’m so glad you showed this recipe because usually what I hear is not to bother with making beef stock, that it’s too difficult and canned is just as good… no way can that be true. This stock looks delicious!

  36. Locaholic
    November 29, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Looks delicious! I will try this next time I make onion soup.

  37. Life Done Domesti-Cali
    November 29, 2012 at 4:13 am

    Amazing! This looks easy enough for someone who has never made stock.

  38. Villy
    November 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    This sounds as a great idea even to a lazy. let’s buy the stock ready, person like me. Plus it looks awesome!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      haha – definitely. Give it a go or I’ll be sad 😀

  39. arkiegardener1234
    November 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    After making stock I always reduce it down to save room in the fridge/freezer/or jar if I can it that day. You can make convenient ice cube stocks with reduced broth. In addition to bones from venison, beef, pork, etc. I make stock out of baked poultry carcasses that have been picked over, or the carcass of a fresh chicken with the breast removed to be saved for other dishes. I also soak my fresh bones/chicken in a light brine before roasting or boiling. This helps to break things down and give a more hearty stock. So many ways to make stock and virtually impossible to mess up. And don’t forget all the nutrition fresh stock gives a dish. Good for the body and the soul! For those on the adventurous side- you must try chicken foot soup one day!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 1, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      Yep, you can do all these things… I tend to make it and then use it the same day anyway…

  40. Sibella at
    November 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Great beef stock! I add a piece of celery root and parsley twigs to mine….

  41. StefanGourmet
    December 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Homemade stock is great! Beautiful photos in this post.

  42. sethsnap
    December 3, 2012 at 4:39 am

    Looks so yummy!!!! 🙂

  43. Jim Sully
    December 3, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Sully's Blog and commented:
    Homemade Beef Stock is THE BEST!

  44. FarAwayPeachGarden
    December 9, 2012 at 2:06 am

    As always, beautifully done!!

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