Yesterday I was FINALLY ready to go to the butcher and get the ingredients I needed to make my first batch of bone broth. Seriously, it has taken me forever to get to this point, because I needed to read and re-read and understand why I would suddenly start to embrace all of these foods and practices that my whole life my nose had been trained to scrunch up at in disgust.
Unfortunately, I discovered that the butcher I was going to had changed their practices in the time I had spent mulling it all over. Now they no longer advertise a grass fed beef program, they switched to a NatureSource Natural Angus program. Admittedly it is probably a world better than what I would get at any chain grocery store, just in the fact that it’s beef guaranteed to be vegetarian fed, but all of the beef now has a minimum 120 day finishing on corn. I literally shed tears of frustration.
Just as an aside, is it not disgusting that non-human-consumable animal parts are incorporated back into the feed of animals grown for slaughter?
Still, I called the butcher to see if they had the parts I needed for this broth. They had only one of the four parts I was looking for.
Let’s just get this out of the way, these were the suggested parts: marrow bones, knuckle bones, neck bones or rib bones, calf foot.
At this point I needed to decide if it would still be beneficial to make the broth if I had to use standard issue grain fed cow parts purchased at the grocery stores available to me. I still don’t know the answer to that question, truly. I decided to go ahead with the project anyhow, and I spent my Saturday on a goose chase trying to find the best quality available to me. I checked a really large Asian market, because I had seen that bone broth was a huge part of Korean cooking. I thought that there was a chance they might carry some of the things I was looking for that seemed less common and/or harder to find. I couldn’t read much of the packaging, and left empty handed. Whole foods was next. Their meat counter has a rating system on the meats, so it was an easy choice. Unfortunately they didn’t have everything either, and the items they did have weren’t rated because they were in the freezer rather than the fresh meat counter. I took a chance that they were still better than the everyday average products found at the big chain stores. Finally I went to a local grocery store that I had noticed sold “different” products in the past. BINGO!! I got my last couple of items. Not grain fed, not organic; available was my only criteria at this point. I never in my life would have imagined that a calf foot was easier to find than knuckle bones.
The best part of all of this went down at the last store. I had to ask for the neck bones at the counter because I didn’t see them. The man came out and grabbed a couple off of the shelf to show me. I stood there looking at them in a stupor, and he said to me “I don’t know which one you want…. they’re for your dog, right?” to which of course I answered ‘uhhhhhh, yea. my dog. yep.’ I’m such a dope sometimes.
The stock simmering in my oven gives new meaning to the expression “put a foot in it.”
Anyone who can answer whether using standard-issue non pasture raised beef parts in my stock is going to be detrimental rather than beneficial, please comment. I’d love it if you could either put my mind at ease, or let me know not to waste my time on this again unless I can find pasture raised parts.