With a bit of luck, you’re about to have a whole bunch of bones on your hands. I hope the start of your season and mine both yield a bunch of bones from all kinds of game animals.
Those bones are covered in nutritious stuff that you can’t really access with tools or teeth. The tendons and cartilage are good sources of collagen, plus all the marrow and fats that are contained in the bones. Coming from the free-range critters with highly diverse diets you are hunting, there’s a lot of value in those bones.
Bone broth is also very simple to make and you can use it in all kinds of recipes that call for stock or broth. Roasts, soups, curries, etc. It’s also awesome that you can use even more of the animals you love to hunt and eat. Use deer, elk, bear, turkey, grouse, ducks, rabbits…
You can make the broth using either a pressure cooker (Insta-Pot style) or a pot on the stove. You can add vegetables, including peels and end cuts, and dried-out cucumber slices for more flavor and nutrition. Save these in the freezer until you’re ready to make broth.
What You Need
- Bones. You can use raw bones or those from a roast or smoked meat.
- 1/4 Cup Apple cider vinegar per gallon
- Vegetable stuff (optional)
- Pressure cooker or stock pot
What You Do
Get your bones. You can use raw bones after processing your meat or use the bones left over from a pot roast or smoked meat. Here, I used two shoulder blades from a mule deer that I smoked and pulled the meat off.
Add all your ingredients to the pot and cover with water. In the pressure cooker, don’t exceed the maximum mark; in a stock pot, leave at least an inch below the top of the pot.
In the pressure cooker, set the pressure to low for 2 hours (120 minutes). It’s important to use low pressure because the temperature remains a little lower and that helps protect the proteins in the bones from breaking down to nothing. Once the two hours are up, you can release the pressure. I like this method because you can let off the pressure outside without making the whole house smell like tasty soup.
On the stove, bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it cook for about 24 hours. I like this method because it makes the whole house smell like tasty soup.
Strain the broth to remove large chunks. Personally, I don’t mind the tiny bits, so I just pour it through a colander. You could use something as fine as cheesecloth to remove more particles.
If you’re a canner, you can seal the broth in Mason jars. I store it in jars or freezer bags in the freezer — remember to leave room for it to expand as it freezes. It’ll keep for a few days in the fridge. Most importantly, I use it in all my cooking and even drink it straight like soup.
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