Unless you live in NYC, you will need to gather ingredients for making bone broth. There are now “bone broth shots” available at gourmet restaurants in that city, but be prepared to spend more than necessary for fresh broth. In fact, as of March 2014, there is a NYC Broth Fest at South Street Seaport. For $33 a person, you can sample a plethora of broth made by local restaurateurs. If you are close by, this is an excellent opportunity to become familiar with brothing and taste the varieties so that you can duplicate these options at home. In January 2015, The New York Times debuted an article, “Bones, Broth, Bliss” that featured the Paleo lifestyle staple; the restaurant charges $9 per to-go cup or $12 for 32 ounces of frozen broth.
It’s worth your time to track down a good, cheap source of bones. If organic, grass fed cows are important to you, then
call as many of the surrounding farms and chat up a local worker at a nearby meat counter. Take names and numbers, thanking whomever will give you information! You may have to drive a bit, but the amount of bones you will get from a local butcher out in the country will amaze you. My big black trash bag of butcher bones lasted over two years, all from one pick up. The farm butcher gave me the bones free of charge since they were unwanted bones from a local slaughter. Most of the bones we needed to cut to “pot size” with a special reciprocal saw blade!
Prime time to arrange for beef bone pick up is in the early fall, August through the end of September. This is highly recommended for flavor, as the cows have grazed on fresh grass all summer long instead of dried hay and grains during the winter months. Slaughtering of pigs seems to rely more on the weight of the pig as opposed to a set time of year. I use pig feet, called trotters, as well as the bones, but I don’t like to as much because pig the toe hairs need to be burnt off (an extra step I’m not partial to doing). I’ll admit to having several pairs of trotters in my freezer, but only because they were free. Moving on!
Of course many big grocery stores carry pre-cut and packaged bones, especially in locations that are frequented by cultures that use both meats and bones for flavor and authentic dishes. Make sure to use a variety of bone cuts for the best broth. I usually purchase chicken feet for a good price at the grocery store because they come pre-cleaned (outer skin removed). I pay for that! A good source of chicken bones is through the repetitive purchases of bone-in chicken meat. It is more work to prepare and then store in the freezer, but it is cheaper.