Forget meat. The trendiest animal product is cow bones, which are sawed open, harvested for their marrow and gently stewed for hours to yield bone broth, which can be served like a soup or in cups that you sip from like a mug of coffee.
“The nutrition in the marrow is where it’s all at,” says Scott McGowan, who owns The Butcher’s Block in Sarasota. He keeps a constant stock of beef bones for customers who make their own broth at home. If you’re buying bones, he says, make sure they’re white and not yellow, which can signify that they came from an older cow.
Whether or not to include the marrow in the broth is a matter of contention. Chris Snyder, a butcher at Sarasota’s Southern Steer, suggests making bone broth by gently simmering cut-up bones for hours and then straining the liquid. Other chefs and butchers recommend roasting the bones, consuming the marrow separately (scrape the marrow off the bone with a knife and then spread on crusty bread drizzled with olive oil and sea salt) and then using just the bones and root vegetables to make the broth. (One technical aside: Bone broth isn’t a broth, which is made from meat, not bones. It’s a stock.)
Whichever recipe you choose, be patient. Some versions call for the bones to be simmered for up to 18 hours. As they cook, the cartilage in the bones breaks down and releases large amounts of collagen. “The perfect product would be a clear gel when it’s cold,” Snyder says. At Café Evergreen in Nokomis, they flavor their broth—made with just bones—with simple ground ginger, but opportunities for experiments abound. Sip up.