Where to buy bones for stock?
February 9, 2007 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Cookingfilter: where do people buy bones for stock?

I'm in central Jersey, and supermarket butchers here give you a blank stare when asked about bones for stock... I tried to call a couple of halal butchers from the phone book to no avail so far.
posted by Finder to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm surprised that your butchers aren't more helpful.

This is not quite answering your question, but I usually just save (poultry) carcasses in my freezer until I have enough for stock. I generally crush them up to minimize the volume, then vacuum-pack. I suppose you could do the same with beef ribs, if you eat enough of them.
posted by janell at 12:09 PM on February 9, 2007

Have you tried a regular non-supermarket butcher?
posted by mckenney at 12:09 PM on February 9, 2007

Best answer: chicken or beef?
in general, butchers--ie some place that cuts its own meat.
for chicken, i would generally just cave and use wings + a whole chicken minus the breast meat. But a butcher that cuts up lots of whole chickens could sell you backs and necks. Some super markets may carry backs and necks.
For beef, ask a butcher for a beef shank cut up into one inch slices, "osso bucco style".
posted by alkupe at 12:09 PM on February 9, 2007

janell--i would strongly encourage you to use some raw meat in your stocks. that will be a much better stock.
posted by alkupe at 12:10 PM on February 9, 2007

similar, for fish, many fish mongers will be happy to sell or even give you fish heads and bones. Be sure and remove the guts and gills and soak the rest for while to get rid of some gross stuff...this is kinda messy but makes a great stock.
posted by alkupe at 12:12 PM on February 9, 2007

Best answer: Don't specify that it's for stock, just that you want the leftover bones from the next side they get; bones are leftovers, and they may think you're asking for something for sale.

In a supermarket, find the head meat person (they usually have a photo spread of the various managers)- he/she is the person to talk to, not a line person. I also don't see why your neighborhood butcher would scoff at all- I usually have to give a bit of notice so they hold the bones from the next batch instead of tossing them.
posted by mkultra at 12:13 PM on February 9, 2007

It seems to me as of late, that most large supermarkets across the country are making their meat and fish sections look more like their freezer sections with pre-prepped meat and fish wrapped up tight in individual freezer ready packages.

I think a lot of people end up buying cuts of meat that have the bones in them if possible and then as they prepare to use the meat, take the bones they want and freeze them for later stock making.

Also, maybe it's worth trying to look for butchers by a different name. Check the web for a carniceria you can call (Spanish for meat store). There's also another well known Italian word for butcher shop that slips my mind at the moment.

I would also think that Whole Foods or Wegeman's would sell you bones, but I don't know if there are any of those around you.

Good luck!
posted by zackola at 12:27 PM on February 9, 2007

My husband just gets them from the local butcher. You have to be quick on the weekends though; a lot of yuppies come in to get them for their dogs!
posted by web-goddess at 12:52 PM on February 9, 2007

My local grocery store (non-supermarket) has a chicken carcasses for 1/8th the price of full sized chickens (by weight)
posted by jedrek at 1:00 PM on February 9, 2007

You don't need to ask a halal butcher, you just need a butcher. It's possible that the supermarkets you're going to don't actually do any butchering on-site, and therefore don't have any bones. (They might just all get their meat all pre-butchered from a central location that does all the food prep for the chain of stores.)

Any regular butcher shop (or possibly some deli's) should be able to give you bones.
posted by Kololo at 1:09 PM on February 9, 2007

Best answer: You need to find a true, regular butcher who will provide you the bones you need. Whole Foods maybe in your state and they will sell you bones. Barring bones here are some options:

Chicken: either use chicken backs, wings or if you are hardcore into Vietnamese or French Burgundian stock making (whole chicken). Another alternative is using the bones from the roast chicken that you have eaten (the Kafka broth method from her book on roasting)

Beef: You can use certain cuts of beef (the cheaper that have nice fat and collagen); people swear by oxtail and the pressure cooker method for that beefy taste.

There are many ways to make a stock it depends on what depth of flavor and what is on hand. One of the best books and methods I have used to make stock is from the Zuni Cookbook. Which is solid gold on broth making and salting of meats.
posted by jadepearl at 1:09 PM on February 9, 2007

You could also try calling kosher butchers if you're looking for smaller butcher shops that aren't in a supermarket. I'm a vegetarian so I'm no expert, but the kosher butcher shops I've been to all did at least some of the butchering on-site.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:56 PM on February 9, 2007

janell--i would strongly encourage you to use some raw meat in your stocks. that will be a much better stock.

I would strong discourage you use raw meat in your stock. The protein in meat will negatively affect the quality of your stock.
posted by furtive at 3:12 PM on February 9, 2007

Regular grocery store sells a couple bones for a couple bucks. The Asian market sells a massive bag for about $5.
posted by Feisty at 3:56 PM on February 9, 2007

Response by poster: The reason I'm looking for raw bones, not raw meat, is that a chef friend of mine told me that those would give me a much more "deeply" flavored stock. The connective tissue and cartilage in bones is what he says adds flavor to the finished stock. (Collagen turning to gelatin, for the scientifically inclined.) Now, he gets his bones from the city market in Prague, where he resides nowadays.
Thanks for all the great suggestions--I found some beautiful shank bones in a Spanish supermarket (Bravo,) in New Brunswick.
posted by Finder at 4:03 PM on February 9, 2007

Look for short ribs or marrow bones. I have seen both in my local chain stores pretty often. The short ribs will definitely have more meat. The marrow bones will add more gelatin to your stock.
posted by onhazier at 4:27 PM on February 9, 2007

Where in Central Jersey are you? There are great butchers all over CJ, including a few in New Brunswick.
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 7:02 AM on February 10, 2007

Best answer: ... may I recommend:

Hungarian Meats & Deli
311 Somerset St, New Brunswick, NJ
(732) 247-8275

Quisqueya Meat Market
108 Remsen Ave, New Brunswick, NJ
(732) 247-4600

Buday Meat Market
52 Robinson St, New Brunswick, NJ
(732) 247-4334
posted by Geckwoistmeinauto at 4:50 PM on February 10, 2007

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