Bone broth gelatin - can't stomach it

by (110) Updated April 01, 2013 at 6:51 PM Created February 13, 2012 at 9:11 PM

I spent the weekend making my first bone broth (beef). To my surprise it set into a gelatin with ease. I skimmed the fat off the top. I tried to heat it and sip a couple of mouthfuls this morning and they both came up immediately. I was very surprised. My body simply rejected it, which is rare for me.

I ordered Knox unflavored gelatin hoping this would be an adequate substitute. I haven't received it yet.

I'm just curious. Does it sound like I did anything wrong with my beef gelatin?

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15 Replies

2291 · February 13, 2012 at 9:30 PM

I happen to agree with you. Beef bone broth turns me off. Chicken broth on the other hand, I can't get enough of. If I cook enough vegetables in it and season it well, the beef broth is okay. I would try it to see how it comes out, or experiment mixing beef bones with other bones.

24412 · February 13, 2012 at 9:39 PM

As magic as I broth it is, it isn't very palatable in its own right. I think most of us just haven't grown up with gelatenous textures in our food, so the instant gag makes sense.

Salt is essential to my being able to drink it in the morning.

There are also nuances to the preparation that can make it better. If there is a lot of fat in there, and your crock pot runs on the warm side that can create off flavors, some people skim the fat as it arises to get around that. I've also seen recipes that call for changing the water within the first hour to get rid of any funk. I've made good batches, and some bad batches that you couldn't pay me to eat. It seems to be as much art as science getting it right, and I'm still learning.

I also like to think of broth as a blank slate. It takes a little work to transform it into something really tasty. I like to think I'm channeling some great great grandmother out on the coast of Scotland trying to make weeds and small bits of animal into a tasty dinner.

18909 · February 13, 2012 at 9:23 PM

There are people here who will eat and drink all kinds of weird things, it does not mean you will necessarily like or even have to like them.

I would not drink warm bone stock on its own.

Use it to make something. I usually add chopped vegetables and meat and use it as a base for a stew.

30 · March 10, 2012 at 1:23 AM

I ran across this post while looking for something quite different, but felt compelled to chime in. The very term "Bone Broth" sounds disgusting.

What do you think chefs have been making your soups and sauces from all these years? Stock. Sounds nicer, doesn't it?

As a culinary teaching professional I'll offer the following treatise on stock making to aid all of you, as well as the OP.

Stocks are typically made from the bones of young animals, as their bones have not fully ossified, or calcified into hard bone. The bones are composed of a higher percentage of connective tissue and collagen that gives subsequent stock made from them a higher concentration of gelatin. Gelatin is a form of denatured collagen. Regular chicken bones are fine, as all market chickens are young, but make sure you get veal bones rather than beef bones. The veal bones that are available are knuckles, the limb joints; and necks, which include more meat, and give better flavor, but also make for cloudier stock. Your choice. I usually go 50/50. Beef stocks will be low in gelatin, and have a strong flavor that you may find off putting.

We classify stocks broadly into two categories; white and brown

White stocks are made from raw ingredients and water, simmered an appropriate amount of time to achieve proper flavor and gelatine extraction, strained, and used for any number of kitchen preparations. Chicken is by far the most common, but Veal and fish are also made. As someone else mentioned, an initial blanching, or brief boiling and rinsing of veal bones is often done to make for clearer, more neutral flavored white veal stock.

Brown stocks are made of cooked, or browned ingredients, and water. The bones are usually browned in a 400 degree oven for about an hour, or until they go all golden and delicious smelling. While hot, separate the browned bones from the fat, and save it. The vegetables are browned on the stovetop in the rendered fat. Lastly, a small amount of tomato paste is browned with the veg. Brown veal stock is most common, though brown chicken is sometimes made.

Aromatic vegetables (2 parts onion, 1 part each carrot & celery) and herbs (a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, along with a some peppercorns) are used in the later stage of the cooking process to add complexity and freshness that would be otherwise missing if they were added to the pot at the beginning. We call this combination of vegetables Mirepoix.

We use standard time tested ratios of ingredients to water. The following recipes each yield 1 gallon of stock, and can be scaled to any quantity you wish.

White stock: 4 qts Water, cold; 8 lbs Bones(chicken, veal or fish); 1/2 lb Onion; 1/4 lb Celery; 1/4 lb Carrot

Place the bones and water in a pot, turn the heat on high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and maintain a bare simmer for the following times: Veal: 5 hours; Chicken: 3 hours. Skim all fat or foam from the surface, and add the Mirepoix and the herbs, and cook an additional hour. For fish, just put everything in the pot and bring it to a simmer and cook for one hour. Strain and chill, or use right away.

Brown stock: 5 qts Water, cold; 8 lbs Bones(raw weight), roasted; 1/2 lb Onion; 1/4 lb Celery; 1/4 lb Carrot; 4 Tbsp Tomato paste

Place the roasted bones and water in a pot, turn the heat on high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and maintain a bare simmer for the following times: Veal: 6 hours; Chicken: 4 hours. Skim any fat or foam from the surface, and add the Mirepoix and the herbs, and cook an additional hour. Strain and chill, or use right away.

A couple of cautions: Start in cold water. Always. Not because some crazy French chef said so, but because research backs up professional dogma; the resulting stock tastes better.

Never boil. Floculated(congealed) proteins and fats get emulsified into the stock and make the end result opaque and greasy tasting. Clarification is technically challenging and adds additional expense. Don't boil. Ever.

Never stir. For the same reason you don't want to boil.

These preparations are not meant to be consumed as-is, but are the basis of every soup, sauce, or stew you've ever eaten. As they contain no salt, they can be reduced in volume by boiling off the water to create intensely flavored sauces. Demi-Glace!

If you want better flavor, add inexpensive cuts of meat to the stock during cooking, usually about 4 lbs of meat along with the 8 lbs of bones.

If you are looking for breakfast ideas, look to Southeast Asia, as most mornings begin with a bowl of soup. Phở!

If what you hope get from this exercise is gelatine, you'd do better to just eat the steak, as stock making is actually a terribly inefficient method of extracting collagen(gelatine) from animal tissue. Most meat is sufficiently high in collagen fibers, and your own digestion process effective enough that you'd be better off with meat. Or eat a packet of gelatin. Its cheaper.

What stock making is good at is taking an otherwise useless piece of the animal and making best use of it. Heaven forbid an animal loses its life and we fail to find some noble use for all of it.

135 · February 13, 2012 at 10:49 PM

I just threw in a moose knee into my stock pot and it is pure gelatin. I simmered it for almost 17 hrs until the knee completely fell apart.

Some of my stocks have not turned out well but this one was awesome.

I borrowed a couple of tips off of the aromatic soup on marksdailyapple.

Boil the broth bones for 5 minutes to start and dump the water and refill. I added ginger and onions and then cinnamon, clove and black pepper after an hour.

I add some jalapenos, sliced green onions and a little bit of the meat off the knee with a dash of fish sauce and it makes a great meal.

713 · February 13, 2012 at 9:45 PM

I may be reaching, but maybe it wasn't the broth itself but the way you ate it. From a psychological standpoint, I can't "drink" soup or broth. I have to eat it from a bowl with a spoon. It's not logical -- it's the exact same substance either way -- but even the thought of sipping it from a cup or mug gets me a little nauseous.

I remember when I was a kid and would watch my friends lift their cereal bowl and drink the rest of the sugary milk. Again, not a rational revulsion but oh God. The memory. I need a moment.

100 · February 15, 2012 at 6:38 AM

Depends on what bones you are using. Oxtails are too greasy for me to make a straight broth with - smells like candle wax and the high-fat content tastes way too greasy, like I am eating warm oil. So I soak the tails in cold water, then boil them and throw away the first boil. You can also roast the tails or whatever bones you are using first. That will melt away some fat and give a nice flavor.

Do add aromatics to the broth. I use Asian radish and onion. Throw those out after boiling. Also, you can't rush good beef stock. Keep the heat on the lower side and cook it all day. Beef back rib bones make a flavorful stock with little obvious gelatin, for those who don't like the gelatinous broths.

I don't drink straight broth, always use it for a soup.

2923 · February 13, 2012 at 10:53 PM

I make egg drop soup with it, or else it just sits in the fridge for lack of interest, but I can't imagine gagging on it.

Try tripe broth. Absolutely flavorless, goes good in hot cider. Give beefy satisfaction with no meaty flavor.

11476 · February 13, 2012 at 9:51 PM

I find that warmed chicken broth is much more palatable- I cook it with a combination of anise and onions, then lightly salt it, so it is a very pleasant, savory drink. In fact this is the only thing I CAN stomach when I'm sick!! To get a lot of gelatin going in chicken broth (usually not a problem, but sometimes it needs a boost) I use chicken feet (which are magical). Maybe give chicken broth a shot?? Might be a better broth introduction!

I never just drink beef broth personally- I always use it to make soup. My favorite style of soup is crispy raw veg julienned (carrots, radish, zucchini, squashes) with prawns or thinly sliced beef. Season the broth by adding dried mushrooms while it cooks (these give a real great flavor), fresh ginger, star anise, cumin seeds, and garlic. Pour this flavorful broth over the raw veg and meat/seafood-the gelatinous quality becomes wonderful because it basically coats everything in this demi-glaze sort of way. Serve with some thinly sliced chillies, cilantro, and fresh citrus segments.

Another way to get just a better overall flavour from beef broth is to boil the bones/bits for a few minutes, then drain them. Sometimes I repeat this several times if there is some "funk" smell coming out. The next step that will make a REALLY flavourful bone broth is to roast all the bones/bits first- throw them in a hot oven and get some caramelization going. I usually have a whole whack of onions in there too, because I find the sweetness of caramelized onions really enhances beef. The combination of carmelized onions/bones/bits and a handful of dried mushrooms is the kind of stock I used to make when I worked at restaurants- I use these same techniques for bone broth (cooked for much longer), and the result is always great.

3437 · February 13, 2012 at 9:44 PM

I have found that some bones are gamier than others, some taste better than others, etc. I make mine with onion, carrot,garlic, herbs, celery and if I don't like it just as it is ok, I freeze it in ice cube trays and use it a lot of recipes. Just because something is "paleo" and oh so awesome for you doesn't mean you have to eat it or feel bad about not liking it. I'm sure there were Paleolithic picky eaters, foodies and hunter/gatherers with discerning taste buds too :)

4067 · February 13, 2012 at 9:43 PM

It makes me super sick too, I agree with Matthew -make it into a much used ingredient. I got super nauseated last time I tried homemade bone broth. (It was warm with some spices too). I would have thought it was just like soup, but it seemed extra fatty and oily in consistency, and it wasn't that great. Also, I guess I just don't digest fat that well.

On the otherhand, I use Collagen Hydrolysate from Great Lakes. I mix it in everything, and never have issue. I might be missing some of the benefits of broth, but at least it doesn't make me feel ill.

0 · April 01, 2013 at 6:51 PM

I am a vegetarian who happens to agree with the Paleo diet. I'm becoming convinced about bone broth (although I guess if I start, I won't be a vegetarian anymore, technically). However, I don't think I can get past the boiling bones thing. Plus the chef who responded said that boiling bones will not produce a lot of collagen - I'm a bit confused now.

Will I experience the same health effects by taking a product like the Great Lakes beef gelatin powder in hot water instead of making my own bone broth?

0 · November 30, 2012 at 6:55 PM

I had the same problem just last night. My last batch of broth was VERY high in gelatin (I used beef feet). It was delicious, and I had no negative feelings about it whatsoever. Then about ten minutes after I ate it, I went to bed and started feeling extremely nauseous. I got up and vomited continuously for the next five minutes. I went back to bed, then had to get up a few minutes later to throw up some more. It didn't feel like a toxic reaction at all, but it was definitely something about the broth my stomach couldn't handle. The night before I had a little of the same broth and had a wave of nausea, but it passed, so I didn't think much of it. But last night I ate a lot. There is definitely something going on that had nothing to do with the psychology of it or how I felt about it. I loved it!

I assume this has something to do with the collagen itself. Maybe it's hard for some people to digest, which is odd since it's the first thing you're supposed to eat on the GAPS diet for people who can't digest anything. It was a bit fatty, but not too bad. I skimmed off quite a bit of the fat. I'm going to have some more today but go really easy on it and not consume it too quickly. Maybe taking some betaine HCL would help too (although that would make it even worse if it came up again. Ugh!).

I've made a number of batches of bone broth before (including one other batch made with beef feet), and haven't had this reaction before, so I'm a bit stumped and worried.

570 · February 13, 2012 at 11:31 PM

I cook gelatinous meat like oxtail and i sometimes use powdered gelatin made from collagen (not bones) I can't stand the taste of bones and the house stinks when simmering it.

508 · February 13, 2012 at 10:14 PM

Simple answer, If you don't like it don't eat it. There are so many other delicious paleo foods to eat. Why bother trying to like something you don't like.

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