I put 5 pounds of beef bones in a slow cooker and cooked on low for 48 hours. I added carrots, salt, pepper, and some bay leaves after 48 hours. The pot had a constant simmer.
After 48 hours I turned off the slow cooker and let it all cool. After 3.5 hours it was still pretty warm.
I strained the liquid and ended up with about 40 ounces that I stored in glass mason jars in the fridge.
I'm assuming I should have been adding water during the slow cook. I only added about 10 ounces of water once. Probably needed a lot more.
I get the feeling that having it all cool down for 3+ hours uncovered was probably not a good idea (bacteria??).
The jars look to be majority fat (or a good portion). There is a dark brown liquid on the bottom and a golden color settling on top. The liquid was greasy when I was handling the bones. Is there too much fat?
Also, is there a good way to strain the broth? I just ended up tossing the bones and carrots in the trash. Then I took a cup and strained the liquid into mason jars. Should I have kept the bones in the pot while straining?
Thanks for the feedback!
The broth is CONCENTRATED. That means you can add in some water and STILL have a rich broth. So your 20 ounces will make more than 20 oz of broth. Just experiment to see how much water to add.
No way sounds okay for a first try! You can add water while it's cooking depending on how much stock you want but not a big deal, some will even reduce it and store it that way then add water to it when needed.
3 hours is not too big of a deal either, usually what I do is dump it into a pot, place it in the sink and fill the surrounding area with ice water then give it a stir and this usually cools it down quicker, or if I'm feeling lazy I'll just strain it hot(carefully).
The fat will separate to the top once it cools and you can just pull it off and use it for cooking if you want. The dark color on the bottom is most likely sediment from the bones and you just need to strain it a few more times to get it clearer. A good way to strain is with some cheese cloth 2-4 times depending on how clean you want it to be.
Some other good tips here. It took me a few times before I made a good stock.
"I only added about 10 ounces of water once. Probably needed a lot more."
It sounds like you have concentrated broth. That's the way I prefer to go. I usually add just enough water to cover the bones.
If there's a lot of fat, I usually put everything in a bowl and skim the fat after it's congealed. Then I freeze it in an ice cube tray and store the cubes in a freezer bag. Makes things more convenient come thaw time.
My lazy method: strain through cheesecloth into another large pot. Put that pot in the fridge for a couple days. Then you can chip/scrape the fat off the top if you don't want so much (and I usually don't) and reserve it for another purpose, bring the stock to a boil again, taste and add more water or seasoning if necessary, THEN pour into your mason jars.
Sounds like excellent bone broth. The fat always rises to the top of mine. I remove it and save it for cooking other things. I like my broth clear and salty. I also like it when it's like jelly when cool so I add a pigs foot or tail for extra gelatin.