How to Make Your Own Meat Stock and Bone Broth
How to Make Your Own Meat Stock and Bone Broth

How to Make Your Own Meat Stock and Bone Broth

I got this idea from the excellent GAPS Diet book by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride.

This is a cheap, really easy and extremely healthy way to cook meat and I wish I had discovered it years ago. I've used a chicken here but you can use many types of meat. When using other types of meat, buy large bones from the butcher (which should be very cheap).

Make Your Own Meat Stock and Bone Broth - Equipment This is the equipment needed. It's also a good idea to also have a strainer/sieve and some containers to store the liquid stock in the fridge.

You need a pretty large pot for this. You could also use a slow cooker, though the one I have isn't really large enough for a whole chicken.

How to Make Your Own Meat Stock and Bone Broth - Chicken This is the chicken I've been using. These are available in Australia in most ordinary supermarkets, and they are not expensive. Expect to pay around $10-12 for one of these. Its more healthy if you can use meat that hasn't been raised full of chemicals and drugs.

Bow Drill Fire Kit - Fireboard

Put the chicken in the pot and add water and salt. Then you are ready to cook it. Cooking doesn't get much easier than this.

How to Make Your Own Meat Stock and Bone Broth - Filling Fill it to about halfway between the top of the chicken and the top of the pot. It doesn't have to be exact. You could also add vegetables to make it into chicken soup rather than stock.

I found that when boiling, the chicken floats 1-2 cm out of the water, so after a few hours I turn it over just to make sure all of it gets boiled well. I don't know if you really need to do this.

Make Your Own Meat Stock and Bone Broth - PotPut it on the stove and turn on high till boiling, then turn down to a simmer (which means a very slow boil so that its only just bubbling). On my small low-power stove it takes 20 minutes on high (number 6 out of 6 on the dial) to boil, and then simmers well on the half power setting (3 out of 6).


Boil it up on the stove for several hours. I found that 8 hours is a good time for a chicken. The longer you boil it, the more nutrients transfer from the chicken to the water, and the softer the bones will get. Most of the websites I read say that to call it a "bone broth" it should be boiled for 24 hours.

How to Make Your Own Meat Stock and Bone Broth - MugWhen its done, take off the stove and strain some of it into another container (like a saucepan). The stock can be drunk like a cup of tea. It tastes kind of like a cup-a-soup but about 100,000 times more healthy.

The chicken itself will fall apart and can be eaten for a meal.

Meat Stock and Bone Broth - FridgeWhen it is cool enough transfer to glass jars and keep in the fridge. Then you can boil it up again in a saucepan and keep drinking it over a week. It keeps for up to a week like this in the fridge.

Under the plate is a bowl with the remains of the chicken that I didn't eat all at once. More on this below...

I'll Grind Your Bones to Make My Bread

You can eat much more of the chicken using this method than the usual ways of cooking chicken (like baking). The cartilage and small bones go so soft that they can all be eaten. Most of them are not even crunchy.

Apart from sometimes in tinned fish, and in other processed foods where the bones are so well ground that you don't notice that they are there, I had never eaten bones before this. I don't mean eating the meat off the bones, but eating the bones themselves.

Be very careful when eating animal bones.

Warning - Edible Weeds WARNING: Not long before I made this for the first time, I heard a story about a man who accidentally ate a small, sharp chicken bone (that was probably baked or fried and not boiled for hours). The bone pierced his intestines from the inside, and he caught some septic condition from that and died in hospital. Be really careful when chewing and/or eating any kinds of bones. So I am very careful now. Chew a lot and be absolutely sure that you don't swallow anything even remotely sharp.

Fee Fi Fo Fum

The first couple of times I ate this dish, for some reason I kept getting the phrase "I'll grind your bones to make my bread" in my head. Along with "Fee fi fo fum". I also got a lot of images of medieval witches boiling up huge cauldrons with ingredients like wing of bat and head of rat. This made me wonder how much of our lost connections to the natural and spiritual worlds are a result of our sterile modern diet.

Many people say that eating only muscle meats (like most people do in modern society) limits our nutrition, and ideally we should eat much more of the animal including the bones and many of the organs (not the contents of the intestines though). I've heard that some people in long-term survival situations have even died of starvation from eating only muscle meats and nothing else, when there was plenty to eat, and they would have lived if they had eaten more parts of the animals.

Meat Stock and Bone Broth - BonesThis is all that was left after eating about 1/3 of the chicken. The larger bones were the only thing not soft enough to eat.

Meat Stock and Bone Broth - SternumIt's hard to see on this photo but this is is one of the two sternum bones of the chicken, soft enough for the fork to go right through it as if it was part of the meat.

How to Make Your Own Meat Stock and Bone Broth - VertebraYou can eat the spinal column, here is one of the vertebrae. These go really soft, after 8 hours they aren't crunchy at all.

How to Make Your Own Meat Stock and Bone Broth - Bones This was the remains after another 1/3 of the chicken was consumed the following day.

How to Make Your Own Meat Stock and Bone Broth - Bone MarrowAfter a few meals of eating meat and bones, I discovered that the ends of the long bones are also quite soft and you can get to the marrow. The middle of the shafts was still too hard to eat. See the warning above about eating hard bones. If you boiled the chicken for longer than 8 hours, these would also become soft.

Make Your Own Meat Stock and Bone Broth - BonesThis is all that was left of the final 1/3 of the chicken.

The three photos here of plates with bones left on the plate, added together, represent everything that I didn't eat of the chicken in the photo at the top of the page.

Now it is time to start drilling. You begin slowly, perhaps one second per complete stroke back and forth with the bow. Press down with the handpiece, but not too hard at first. As you drill, wood dust (punk) will fall into the notch, and you will start to see smoke. You need to heat it all up to something like 800 degrees before it will ignite, so take your time here.

I like to count as it all seems to happen faster when I count. After counting to about 30, maybe 50, there should be a fair bit of smoke. At this point, go really hard and fast for a bit longer, maybe another 20 or 30 counts, although you may need more. When there has been a lot of smoke, for a while, stop drilling and take the drill away. Blow gently on the pile of wood dust. If it keeps smoking after you have stopped drilling, you have a coal! If it goes out, you need to keep drilling. It is easier in hot, dry weather than in cold, damp weather.

Recommended Reading

Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills, by David Wescott. Awesome book. From a reader's review, “This is, in my humble opinion, the BEST single source for Primitive Skills out there - PERIOD. If you've ever looked through a scientific journal or periodical, that is the basic layout for this book: a compendium of articles, each one detailing a different tool, task, method, or application of a primitive skill. It isn't a high-cut book you need a PhD to understand. You can take this out in the backyard and follow right along, and succeed!” I would agree completely.

Purchase from Australia $28.62 AUD (free shipping)
Purchase Wilderness Awareness School (US) US$24.95

How to Make A Bow Drill Fire in Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills, by David Wescott

See Also

Overview of Firemaking
The Hand Drill Fire Kit
Bow Drill and Hand Drill Firemaking Woods
Survival and Wilderness Skills Books
Return to Firemaking
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